We met Maxime Fauconnier, a young photographer and director based in Brussels, just before the next edition of Up & Dawn the 13th of September.
Airplane Mode : When did you start taking photographs ?
Maxime Fauconnier : I started taking photographs when I was around 13/14, without any technical basis to make portraits of my close ones. More than photo, I was interested in framing things I saw around me. And actually, I was more interested in cinema.
A.M : Why did you chose photography instead of cinema ?
M.F : When I was 16, I tried to enter in a cinema school. I wanted to be a director. I didn’t make it. Then I decided to move to Brussels. I didn’t want to go to an art school, so I followed a technical formation. I went to INRACI in Forest. It was only to learn the basics. As soon as I finished my bachelor degree, I knew I was ready to start.
A.M : What kind of photographs do you prefer to realize ?
M.F : My work is extremely eclectic. I’m never focusing only on portraits, surroundings or still-life specifically. I’ve always done a little of everything. I think what I prefer is when I take some color films with me and I go wandering in a foreign city.
A.M : It’s easy to feel the influence of your travels through your photos. Which one would you say has most affected your art ?
M.F : I went to New York four times from when I was 18 to 22. At that time, I would go there for three-month periods. I started directly after having obtained my degree. There, I kind of learnt everything. I think I was visually stimulated, because I could find everything I wanted in that city. People have that vision of New York as being swarmed with people, all the time (laugh). But for me, it is actually calm and vast. You can be alone without feeling oppressed by the crowd. I lived in Brooklyn, where you can find the center, the beach, the park, and all that community of young artists that had their ways of getting by.
A.M : So, is it in New York that you’ve taken your favorite photo ?
M.F : I don’t think I have a favorite one. Well, if I have to choose, it would be one taken in Rome. It represents an empty wall of marble, next to a monument. It embodies what I did a lot before, that-is-to-say when I tried to capture an empty surface to make it a town. And I like this image, because like Rome, it combines the old and modernity, for which I am really sensitive to.
A.M : Why focusing the young for your work ?
M.F : Actually, it is a little contradictory because I don’t take photos of my friends. I don’t make a documentary on my life, my evenings, my relationships, or at least it’s rare. What I am interested in is to represent visually a kind of teenage time I haven’t known, in places I haven’t known. Then I try to include them in my visual space, to make them mine.
A.M : Earlier you said you wanted to be a director before becoming a photographer, and recently, you directed your first movie, JULIAN. Can you tell us more about it ?
M.F : Before directing JULIAN, I have started to gradually include videos to my photos series. Then I decided to try directing a movie, and it was a total experimentation because I didn’t have any formation. Also, next to my photographic work, I’ve always written. For my first movie, I adapted one of my short story I wrote when I was 18. I modified it to transpose it to the screen. It was a bit weird, because I was immersing myself again in my way of seeing teenage years, and all the doubts linked to it, after all these years. I wrote the plot, but I don’t find myself in it anymore. Still, I am very fond of that story. In a way, that movie close a first chapter of my life.
So, I wrote the script, and then met the actor for the role in a park, then the production company that gave me total free rein for my project. I went for it without knowing how it would work out. I had all the difficulties you can imagine.
A.M : Do you intend to continue making movies ?
M.F : I want to. Right now, I’m starting to write again, still in form of short stories, not scripts. We’ll see what I will adapt or not in a movie.
A.M : The name of our association is Airplane Mode. It refers to these moments when you need to disconnect yourself from the world and have some time for yourself. When do you switch off to Airplane Mode ?
M.F : Not when I’m directing a movie, because it’s a very collective process and I need to listen to everyone. So it would be when I take photos, my work is pretty intimate and I’m often on my own. Since I’m not interested in representing reality through my photos, I try to create an alternative life of my quotidian.
Visit his website here