Jean Bastien Lagrange is a Paris based photographer with a serious sense of place and style. A combination of attentiveness and curiosity culminated in his keen eye for creating and capturing his signature photographic situations.
His point of departure is characteristically ambiguous often with a dichotomous perspective, highlighting both the absurd and the serious simultaneously.
The purpose of Lagrange’s ongoing series ‘Sous la Lampe’ is an investigation. An intimate investigation that goes well beyond the form or face of the subject, it aims to glean a glance into the persona and emotive conditioning of the individual. The philosophy contained in the work is to illustrate a collector’s obsession with an object, it is the near criminal urge of these collectors to practice their acquisition which comes under the spotlight in these images. Lagrange’s work has always been heavily influenced by characterisation and the classic photographer’s dilemma of being in front or behind the lens. This aspect is what gives this series a powerful interactive atmosphere, instead of distance, he creates a feeling of real proximity which also stems from his choices of whom to photograph. He looks towards those persons who are meaningful to him and thus succeeds in bringing a autobiographical aspect to further illuminate the enquiry. The stage is occupied not only with the portrait, but the contents of their various personalities as collectors expressed through their objects and attire of choice. The photographer’s own kitchen acts as venue and further enhances the feeling of intimacy. The ‘reveal’ against such a dark backdrop is an almost antiquated tradition which comes alive in a contemporary fashion through Lagrange’s sensitive styling. Although the metaphor of placing them under the lamp is obvious, the fact that the set remains the same in each image creates a fascinating ‘spot-the-difference’ effect that makes the portrayal of the subject in this series so effective. Text by Louis Boshoff [Official Website]