For the second edition of the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie (then called the Prix de la Fondation CCF pour la Photographie), it was then-director of Magnum photo Agency François Hébel’s turn to serve as artistic advisor. Following winners Eric Prinvault and Henry Ray were Bertrand Desprez and Jean-François Campos, two French photographers. Today we’re taking a look at Bertrand Desprez’s award-winning series Pour quelques étoiles and what has happened since.
For the retrospective of the 20th anniversary of the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie, L’Oeil de la Photographie will be presenting every week two “episodes,” introducing you to the past winners of the prize and see where they are now.
L’Oeil de la Photographie : The Prix HSBC pour la Photographie turns 20 this year. It is awarded annually to two photographers to help them complete a project that is exhibited and published as a monograph, often the artist’s first. What was your experience with the prize? Can you tell us about your winning project? Had the prize have an influence on your subsequent work?
Bertrand Desprez :Between 1992 and 1995 I shot a “photographic essay” on adolescence, a theme which has been revisited many times since. These years were marked by black and white and the documentary style. The prize has moved more towards artists and conceptual work. I am still a photographer and I don’t have any particular strategy. After receiving the Prix HSBC in 1997, I was awarded the 1998 Villa Médicis Hors les Murs, followed by the 199 Prix Kodak de la Critique.
LODLP : Apart from the monograph, what impact did the prize have on your career? And what is your relationship like with HSBC today?
BD : This book remains an unforgettable experience, a milestone in my life. I was able to release another one a few years later, Aoba with Éditions Filigranes. The prize gave me a lot of recognition, but I have kept things simple, and maintained my relationships with the press and the Agence VU’.