Frédéric Duchesnay (beter known as Fréd) by « myself »
° When and where were you born?
Fréd: I was born in Saintes in Charentes Maritime in 1966.
° Are you form this region originally?
No I came to Nord-Pas de Calais about twenty years ago.
° What kind of cameras do you use?
Fréd: I use a Fuji fw 690 producing 6/9 negatives and a Rolleiflex T giving 6/6 negatives. These are very rustic cameras that are deprived of any kind of electronics, but that are adapted to what I do.
According to “me” “A craftsman’s noble way of approaching photography,”
° What camera would like to buy yourself?
Fréd: I think I am quite fulfilled, even if I dream of treating myself with a chamber.
° How much time do you devote to your passion?
Fréd: You do not devote time, a passion is life. A photographer is always using his “eye”. I think that I am constantly looking at things asking myself how I would shoot them.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s a weird but very beautiful way of keeping memories of those you love, and of things, of people…maybe to transcript the moment or captivate the felt emotion.”
° What do you try to convey through your pictures?
Fréd: I think I try to convey what you can feel being in front of a landscape, an atmosphere, some smells, everything that makes you feel small facing immensity!
“Are we only spectators or are we part of an endless whole?”
° What is the most important, the subject, the atmosphere conveyed, or the soundness of the right moment?
Fréd: The subject has no importance whatsoever, and I believe you can see it in my work. Only the atmosphere and the soundness of the right moment, as you say it, matter to me.
° What is the right moment in photography? Do you need to trigger it?
Fréd: Triggering the right moment while shooting a landscape is impossible. The right moment is, for me, at dawn, there are atmospheres that really speak to me. I like desert and misty moments that smell like dew. And very often it is impulsive I take a picture because I cannot but take it! Photography is then something obvious….inexplicable, spontaneous.
° What are you favourite subjects? Other people? Things? Natural spaces?
Fréd: Things and natural spaces, for sure. Other people not too much. (Is it serious “me”?)
“No Fréd, people are rarely themselves, always having to appear to protect themselves better…”
°Sun light or artificial light?
Fréd: Sun light obviously.
° Do you think you embellish reality or do you show it as it is, rough and ready?
Fréd: The evidence, in fact the subject strikes me- quiet, timelessness…also the aestheticism of some landscapes. Knowing how to put everything in its place in the picture. Actually I think that sometimes I embellish things, and some other times I feel like being more frontal and showing reality rough and ready. But it is nevertheless, undoubtedly, the subject that dictates the course of action to take.
° Your reasoning is not really away from Dylan Thomas’s (the poet), anyway, your photographs are really neat, as aesthetic as wonderful illustrations.
Fréd: First of all it is about respecting the spectator. I try to create balanced photographs, aestheticism is important. A photograph must catch the eye. I don’t think that a speech could replace this aesthetic dimension. There is always a search for beauty, whatever the message to be conveyed is. It is important to want to make the eye enter the picture.
° You remain hard to comprehend (a little bit less now), even mysterious, as if you were looking for a some sort of internal peace. Is a picture a part of yourself?
Fréd: yes and I need to keep this secret part about me to be able to express myself in peace. (Even if when it comes to you it is quite different). I think that if I take pictures, it is also because I have difficulties to express myself otherwise. A picture is obviously a part of myself as it conveys the way I see things.
°You spend hours in the dark room for the final phases –developing as a craftsman who works on wood or clay, modelling until he is satisfied…Have you ever had any regret about a picture you printed?
Yes of course. But there are mostly those you cannot print the way you want, I think it is even more disappointing. The work in the dark room, is half the picture.
°Portraits… are they really not “your thing”?
Fréd: I do some, but these are really personal things, I only show them to close relatives. They are portraits of my children.
° This passion for photography…..Is it coming from your grand father?
Fréd: No I wasn’t beaten by the bug because of him. I was beaten alone. I discovered his work years after I had started. This enabled me to appreciate the value of it, which maybe had never been done before. I plan to let his work be known.
° How many pictures have you taken since the beginning of your passion? Which snapshot are you the proudest of?
Fréd: How many? Not that many…..only a few thousands, which is very few indeed. The one of which I am the proudest? Well….I would not say one, but my series on the First World War graveyards. It surely was the first time I had followed a precise reasoning and in which I wanted to show something more than photographs.
° Which camera would you advise to a beginner?
Fréd: Tricky question Indeed. You really have to “find yourself”, and then use the technique which is the most adapted to your own sensitivity. I like material, old cameras, the dark room, it is surely not the most ideal things to start with!
Thank you “Me”, without whom this biography would never have existed.