Emile Hyperion Dubuisson worked as a cinematographer in Paris before turning to the field of photography. The revisiting of Far, a series the artist left untouched for ten years, has helped him become more “radical” in his creative process. He spoke with Humble Arts Foundation about his recent work, Lighted, which is on view in New York at the Dark Room Residency until October 29, 2011.
Gesche Würfel: I read that your series Far was your first experience with photography. Can you speak a bit more about that particular project?
Emile Hyperion Dubuisson: In Mac Cahill’s movie Another Earth, the magnificent Brit Marling tells the story of a Russian cosmonaut’s first trip into space. As he is looking down at the curve of the Earth, he starts hearing a repetitive and worrisome sound: “So the cosmonaut decides that the only way to save his sanity is to fall in love with the sound. So he closes his eyes, and he goes into his imagination, and then he opens them…he doesn’t hear ticking anymore. He hears music. And he spends the remainder of his time, sailing through space, in total bliss, in peace.”
With Far, I had to deal with the fact that the images I took were totally unprintable, almost in existent. That disappointment kept me away from photography for a decade. It’s only recently that I started to fall in love with those scratchy images. I suddenly got the feeling that the images had the potential to be beautiful.
GW: You’ve described Far as “magical, consistent, and surreal.” How has this series influenced subsequent projects you’ve done?
EHD: Far has a place in our collective imagination of the furthest reaches—the undiscovered. When you see the images, you don’t need to know where it takes place, you know it; it’s Siberia. You are directly transported to a mysterious land full of phantasms. The images make you travel in space, but also in time—because of the specific facture that they have. A catastrophic processing produced very damaged images. The scratches and dust are a synonym of time. Far gave the opportunity to take more radical directions in my creative processes.
GW: Please tell us more about your most recent series, Lighted. What is the concept of the series? What reactions are you trying to evoke from the viewer? Do you have any ideas about where to exhibit this body of work?
EHD: Lighted sketches our silence and desires. It is a series of instants, a suspended time. The portraits highlight the moment between a question and a decision. The flash delicately coats the body with an intimate and unexpected fragility. The light envelops the face in a protective intention, favorable to a meditation. The light works like a filter, revealing a certain fragility of our humanity. I do care to find in each of us the angle that best describes our sensibility. I go around each person and highlight the detail that makes me want to photograph that person. I know that there is something that moves me in all of them and my goal is to find it.
GW: What drives your practice? Are there any particular questions or issues that your work addresses?
EHD: I do things fairly instinctively, even when they are intentional. For me, photography is a sequence of more or less conscious accidents and unforeseen incidents.