Surreal Sensuality: The Photography of Maxime Ballesteros

photos: Maxime Ballesteros

Ever since the French photographer Maxime Ballesteros got his first camera when he was a teenager, he hasn’t stopped taking pictures. Carrying a camera always with him, in order to be ready for when he sees something interesting to him, rather than documenting everything, Ballesteros uses photography as a tool to visualize his own subjective view of the world. His first monograph, Les Absents was released this month by Hantje Cantz Publishing, and produced in cooperation with the visionary culture and fashion network Sang Bleu in London, including various texts and poems by the artist himself. It takes us on a strong, emphatically physical, and a bit surreal journey into the artist’s world.

His photographs show a section of the world where day and night, dream and nightmare, the subjective and the objective are of equal importance. He compares his conception of his photography to the way our brain keeps both reality as well as dreams and nightmares in the same space; the same way, the artist’s imagination takes shape and comes into existence through the camera, making it real. He shoots in the moment, following his protagonists to wild parties, private apartments, and the beach at dawn—shimmering and excessive, sharp and always in style.

He is a fervent fan of analogue photography, which he compares to archery; aiming an arrow carefully to your target, versus a machine gun firing at all directions hoping to find aim. Analogue also helps him work on commission, as there is no way for the photographed to check the image, which creates a trust relationship between them and the photographer. The photographed forgets about their own image, open up, and share something together with the photographer. His body of work seems spontaneously taken, however, he follows some firm rules he doesn’t move away from: “Never use a zoom, if you have to get closer, use your body. Never reframe or crop an image. If it doesn’t work the way you took it originally, you just have to aim and anticipate better. And don’t take two frames of the same thing.”

To follow his work visit his instagram page.

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