Dive into the seductive nuanced portraits of Berlin-based photographer, Gérôme Defrance
Gérôme Defrance invites us into the lives and minds of his subjects. Through images that reveal an intimate look at his subjects, he renders his viewers speechless as they are overcome by the powerful will of the stories he tells. Born in Berlin, Germany he embraces his split heritage, both German and French, bringing a multicultural eye to the world of photography. Today, we see his energetic and defiant images subvert notions of the voyeur to engage with an element of empowerment in his subjects.
A creative spark always loomed beneath the surface for Defrance. An intense underlying passion to create drove him, pushing him to pursue a career as a digital and print media designer. It was during this phase of his life that he began working in the film and television industries, a job that turned into a career as a photojournalist. This path inevitably led him to his true calling as he was able to experiment with new mediums like video, sound, and now his signature medium, photography.
The pandemic presented a unique opportunity for reflection. He refined his style, approach, and techniques evolving away from his early street art stylings. Rethinking his photographic desires, he shifted his practice to be one based in storytelling, adding a more personal and relatable element to his images. Through experimentations with analog photographic methods, he intensifies the narratives he produces through snapshot-like images, an informality emphasizing the fleeting nature of a singular instant. Entering 2022 he is ready to continue his prolific career, expanding his practice of storytelling a step further, documentary, where he hopes to capture new levels of depth in the lives and personalities of his subjects
Reversing the Gaze
What is it that entrances us when it comes to Defrance’s work? His practice is built upon, and utterly embraces, spontaneity. The stories he tells come to life through fleeting moments arrested into a still image. From the passing of a woman on a street to the simple yet elegant moments when one is alone in the comfort of their own home, Defrance’s work reveals to us the beauty in the moments where we release ourselves from the pressures of the gazes found in the outside world.
Tongues out and middle fingers high, notions of feminine delicacy are replaced by strength. While his aesthetic is nothing short of seductive, these provocatively posed subjects connect with their own inner fortitude reclaiming the act of viewing. While we may have entered their space, their intimate moments, they still hold the power. We cannot help but fall victim to some unseen magnetic force that draws us deeper into the scenes he orchestrates. Attitude prevails, illuminating us to the constant balance of dominance and femininity that remains unseen behind closed doors.
Defrance’s approach to his photographic career, he feels, is embodied in a single quote, “They only cook with water”. In building a photography practice he discovered that we all originate from the same foundation and technical aspects as artists. What differentiates one photographer from another is their own experiences, perceptions, and personality. Defrance’s character and eye for seeing a story as it unfolds before him, undoubtedly set his imagery apart from others today.
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