Anne-Elisabeth and Jean-Yves Coquelin photographed together for the past eight years but more seriously when they left for India and then China in 2013.
Born in France in the mid-sixties, they discovered Southeast Asia late and photographed India as well as Vietnam and Cambodia. After years of accumulating prints, they decide to create series aiming for publication, centered on portraits but also exploring the street scenes.
Working in pair is decisive. That allows to overcome the aesthetic doubt attached to images and relationships which each one of them feels strongly about. Working together, the dialogue expands: from the inside, from the duel to the subject, it becomes a three, for, group speech. It is momentarily seized and shared, it becomes a projet and a permanent speech. To the point when they sometimes forget who triggered the shutter, who is the author. There is no more author. Or he is in the background, behind this project, behind images that reflect their common emotions.
These Indians portraits have kept intact its power on them.
These are the first images they chose to share.
The Indian subcontinent ineluctably leads to portraiture. In the street exclusively. Living among them, restraint has finally given way to complicity, it clicked to the point to dare face them.
No studio, no artificiel light, no installation, no staging. Only one idea:a fleeting dialogue, often without any word exchanged. The Indians, wether a rickshaw wallah, a beggar or a simple passerby resting in the shade, let themselves be photographed. By kindness, by generosity, without any manners. For fun too, so that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Except for an instant while looking at the reversed image. As if photograph, in an harassing day burdened by a merciless sun, offered a recreation.
The photographer’s task is to capture in the look and in the attitude of his subjects the lasting impression of gentleness and acerbity, candor and gravity.
The portrait speaks in silence, by the incisive, frozen, undeniable image, the inhuman condition. Without filter. Finding in each picture, as these men and women do, elegance and dignity eluding the inevitable; demonstrating their willingness to stay alive, to bring back the child that lives in us, despite the absolute injustice of the implacable social determinism.
Each portrait thus becomes a form of tribute to this silent struggle, as vain as it is essential.
A kind of fraternal getting. Light and grateful.
Translation by Sandrine Hermand-Grisel (Founder, Editor), All About Photo