The global concept consists in doing portraits of hunters with their naturalized (taxidermy) trophies on the spot where the hunt took place, like a metaphoric reconstitution of a real-life drama. For this performance that resembles a pilgrimage, I asked them to wear their most elegant and ceremonial clothes. This was also to refer to fine art portraits that represent noble persons in hunting dress during passed centuries. The equipment has an influence on the atmosphere. For this special event I wanted the mark of solemnity. I used a 4x5 inches camera coupled with flashes, which needed a long preparation and put the models in a motionless attitude before and during the shooting. This project has been going on in different countries like France, Switzerland, western Africa, Mongolia, Argentina, Finland and Namibia.
Hunting is actually presented as a patrimonial heritage and went over primitive consideration to become more creative. The beauty of the act and the physiognomy of the animal have replaced the nutritional aspect. Self-reward, the trophy is free of all collective dimensions. Out of competition. Its value hides behind its story and its beauty shines, above all, in the eyes of the hunter.
Trophies can be considered as visible signs of power, totemic adoration or a significant materialisation of a paradoxal love. The perceptible mimicry that links a predator to his prey made me think that far from a supposed unilateral act, killing could be a tacit agreement between both of them, united in a natural cycle of perpetuation of the species. The African traditional hunters believing in mystic animals precede and close the hunt with complex esoteric rituals.
As a false resurrection of a dead animal used for ornamentation, the trophy can also be seen as an ovation to nature and divinity or like a human wish to substitute it. On the sociological plan taxidermy can also be considered as a social revenge for popular classes who can now afford some of the aristocratic customs.
The fundamental element of the approach is also held in the perspective of the contradictory notions of natural and artificial that appear repeatedly in the narrative construction.
Pierre Abensur started in photography as self-taught in the 80s. Very fast, he turns his work to the humanist stories. He obtains his first publications in local newspapers and magazines that will turn to regular collaborations.
Beside his regular assignments for a dayly newspapers in Geneva, he works on stories in foreign countries, mostly crisis and living conditions of ethnic or religious minorities. The economic difficulties that strike the print medias in the récent passed years encouraged him to diversify his work and turn to more intimistics photo projects like daily journeys by train or portraits of hunters.
Features and photo essays:
- Subjective trophies, portraits of hunters posing with their taxidermised trophies, 2008-2015.
- South Sudan, the newest nation few months after independancy 2012.
- Into the ruins of tsunami, Japan 2011.
- Daily Rails, landscapes from the train’s window during daily routes from home to work cities and back, 2008-2009.
- Civil war in Darfur, 2004.
- Afghanistan one year after the 11th of september, 2002.
- Intifada al Aqsa in Gaza Strip Palestine 2000,.
- Christian community of Iraq 2000.
- Jewish communities in muslims countries (Sarajevo 1997, Turkey 1998, Iran 1999-2002, Tunisia 2001).
- Tuareg rebellion, Mali 1995,.
Publications in différents newspapers and magazines in Europ and abroad (New York Times, 8 Magazin, Newsweek online, Das Magazin, Etiqueta Negra Peru, Le Point, Gazeta Magazyn, L’Hebdo, Le Temps, Libération, Tribune de Genève, etc…).
- Subjective Trophies, Hunting and Nature Museum in Paris (Feb-June 2015).
- Iranian Jews « The persic soul » at Jewish Museum of Art and History in Paris (summer 2002).
Collective exibitions :
- Montreux Art Gallery (Nov 2015), presented by Revart Gallery.
- Nopoto (Paris 2013).
- Regards on local industry (2011. Musée de Carouge Geneva).
- Documentary evocation (2009. Artraction Gallery Geneva).
- Europart, variations on portrait of Etienne Dumont (2009. Geneva Crisal Gallery).
- Projection at Visa Perpignan photojournalism festival of story on Darfour, 2004.
- Palestina Terra Occupata (2003. Lugano, CH).
- Riots against G8 in Geneva (2003. Center of photography Geneva).
- 2001 : Swisspress award in foreign category for the story about Intifada al Aqsa in Gaza strip
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