SHEENA KHEMANEY sits down with Paris-based photographer DENIS DARZACQ at his award-winning exhibition La Chute (also known as The Fall), which has been brought to Hong Kong to celebrate the opening of On Pedder at LANDMARK Men
How did this collaboration with On Pedder start?
I received an e-mail in France from On Pedder and they said that they've known my work for a long time and asked what I thought about doing a show here in Hong Kong. It's a good opportunity for me because I think that Hong Kong is the door to the art market in Asia. And the On Pedder team were always very professional, so I said it would be interesting to meet them and do the exhibition.
What's the story behind your live-action shots?
The preparation for each shot is more of an intellectual thing. It's like a metaphoric way to express the difficulties of the young generation finding their place in society. And body language is the language of the youth. So I had the idea to leave these people in this kind of (mid-air) suspension and I wanted viewers to ask themselves are they going to fall or are they going to fly? I saw some hip-hop dancers in action, made a little video, re-played it and saw that they could leave the ground for a fraction of a second and thought what a good idea. I wanted to work on that idea and leave them in suspension forever because it's a quality of photography, that it's forever.
How do you set up each one?
There's no assistants and no lights. I just have to buy some [durable] clothes because sometimes, when they fall down, they'll make holes on the material. That's it. It's very simple.
Why did you choose the Parisian streets as a background?
It's the place where these people actually live, it's their natural environment. You know, tourists have an idea of Paris – that there are a lot of flowers, people eating bread everyday and having a bottle of red wine in their pockets ... this isn't Paris. Paris isn't always beautiful. It's like the rest of the world and it's just an ordinary street.
How do these photographs relate to fashion?
It sort of describes the relationship between the brand company and the artist. For example, the spirit of the artist can give a feeling of what the brand wants to sell. And this urban energy [in my images] is so Hong Kong. This is what On Pedder found in my work I think.
What do you like about collaborating with fashion companies?
Communicating with other people and understanding each other. I like that we made this project happen in like what, one month? Or two months, probably. Also, I like that my idea will be recognized by others. And I could be right or wrong here, I don't know, but I think that in Asia, luxury and art come together more closely than in Europe or the U.S.
How did you get into photography?
By watching my father. He was producing images of things like wooden shoes in the waves of the sea and not about general stuff such as anniversaries or birthdays. And I thought wow! You can express yourself by photography.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
By looking at the world. That's why I'm here at On Pedder. I want to see the world and I want to see how it works because I'm very curious.
Have you exhibited in Hong Kong before?
No, but I've done exhibitions in Tokyo, Phnom Penh, Laos and in Pingyao.
Can you give us tips on taking cool action-shots for social media platforms with your phone?
It's hard to say because when you take photos with your phone for Instagram or Facebook it's not good enough to catch that exact moment in a split second. And it's probably not a good idea to capture an image that's been done before. I will say though, that you should create your own image, express yourself and just be yourself.