Self-taught photographer, Alain Laboile brings us through the pictures of his six children, fragments of a refuge where childhood extends as the seasons pass. While his photographic vocabulary might recall the likes of Sally Mann, the story he tells is different. Not an anthropologist nor a socio-analyst, he creates through his photographs the cosmogony of his family. Out of the accepted norm, his children embrace nature at large: their own as much as the one that surrounds them. Beyond documenting their childhood, Laboile writes a visual poem of innocence where the environment plays a full-fledged role in the narration. The rustle of dry leaves, the splashes of the water the mewing of cats, fuse with the children's bursts of laughter, shouts and whispers. Detached from the ambient anxiety, Laboile's images radiate with their intrinsic instantaneity and simplicity.
While his photographic career started on the late, Alain Laboile has made a name for himself in the French photography field. Awarded the 2019 Global Peace Award , he was also granted the HiP (Youth photo book category) the same year. Additionally, the French Museum of Photography has also acknowledged his oeuvre through the addition of 32 of his prints to their collection in 2014.
Alain Laboile was born in 1968 in Bordeaux, France, where he still lives and works with his wife and six children.
The series Reflection around the Pond began almost accidentally. It is the result of an ordinary angling of the camera onto the surface of a natural pond that we dug as a family in our garden. I was immediately attracted by the reflection it generated. The background disappeared, replaced by the sky, and distortions were created that gave the images a dream-like quality. Thus an ordinary scene took on another dimension.
We live in an isolated place, rather wild, where children evolve in osmosis with the nature around them. Our garden is an immense playground, covered with elements conducive to fits of inspiration: plants, tools, sculptures and metallic structures . . . and as many possibilities to create fictive worlds.
My children think up little plays, put on costumes, accessorize with what they have on hand and let their imaginations run wild.
It is this phantasmagoric universe that springs from the child’s imagination that my reflections illustrate.
Purposefully non-narrative in nature so as to leave it up to the spectator to decide, they will nevertheless stir that little flame of childhood that sleeps in each one of us and momentarily revives its glow