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20th Anniversary Prix HSBC pour la Photographie : Mathieu Bernard-Reymond, 2003 Winner


Two French photographers, Laurence Leblanc and Mathieu bernard-Reymond were awarded the 2003 Prix HSBC pour la photographie (then known as the Prix de la Fondation CCF pour la photographie). That year, the Sportweek photo director Giovanna Calvenzi served at the artistic advisor. For this 8th installment in our series, we spoke with both winners. Mathieu Bernard-Reymond, based in Switzerland, told us about the experience and his career since.

L’Œil 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 will be exhibited and published as a monograph, often the artist’s first. What was your experience with the prize ?
Mathieu Bernard-Reymond : I was very young when I received the award, 26, when I had barely finished my training at the École de Photographie de Vevey in Switzerland. I was very happy and proud to receive the prize. The publication of the book, the number of exhibitions and the renown of the prize opened many doors for me. The prize team was very kind and I had so much fun facing all the challenges of publishing a book so early in my career. Today I advise young photographers to embark on the same adventure.

LODLP : Can you tell us about your winning project? Has the prize had an influence on your subsequent work ?
M.B.R. : Three different projects were published in Vous-êtes ici. Their visual and conceptual similarities allowed me to combined them in the same book. However, I had only submitted one of the works to the jury: Intervalles. My first finished work, my first series of images. This was a somewhat bold proposal for the time. Intervalles addresses, through discrete manipulation, one type of mankind’s relationship to the landscape. In the same photographic space, several moments are gathered together to evoke the story of a moment in this landscape. Receiving a prize for this kind of work encouraged me to continue on this path and explore the possibilities and the mysteries of photography. Even in commercial work I seek out a poetic, magical approach.

LODLP : Apart from the monograph, what impact did the prize have on your career? And what is your relationship like with HSBC today ?
M.B.R. : Thanks to the prize, I have been able to work with many prestigious galleries, gain international credibility and publish my first book, becoming fully involved in my passion, photography. Today I take great interest in the past and present winners of the prize. Some are former students (Delphine Burtin) and friends (Matthieu Gafsou) and members of the Piece of Cake collective of which I’m a part (Marina Gadonneix, Birgitta Lund).

« Mathieu Bernard-Reymond displays an impressive mastery of digital photographic technology. Working from a rigorous, classical base (a lesson in contemporary landscape photography), he goes on to stage a series of impossible little events. With multiple takes, assembled digitally, he undertakes a whimsical analysis of human behaviour in space, reconstructing the traces of human presence, journeys and interpersonal relationships. Without ever abandoning their photographic legitimacy, the pictures play intriguingly on the concepts of time and space, to emphasise a fundamental, irresolvable ambiguity in any attempt to truly represent reality. »
Giovanna Calvenzi – Artistic Advisor 2003

Vous êtes ici
Mathieu Bernard-Reymond
Editions Actes Sud
ISBN : 2-7427-4496-7


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