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The Questionnaire : Charles Petillon by Carole Schmitz


Charles Petillon : Between land art and photography.

Photographer and artist Charles Petillon began his career as an editor, collaborating with Numéro, Vogue Russia and Muse Magazine. From Paris to New York, through Shanghai and London, his work is exhibited in major galleries and museums.

Self-taught, Charles Pétillon considers himself an ethnologist of images and an archaeologist of forms. Each of his images is created according to a very precise procedure and guided by an immersion linked to a natural environment. His photographic universe is full of nostalgia and poetry.

Passionate about architecture, Charles Pétillon likes to invest in striking places to give them a second life for photographs. He likes to find places that may seem a bit outdated. Using white balloons he creates almost childlike installations tinged with humor, the result is of a bewitching beauty. These installations are interesting because of the artist’s desire to contrast their delicacy and fragility with the roughness of the installation sites. For the photographer “these invasions are mostly metaphors. His wish is to change the way we look at everyday things and to become aware of what surrounds us, to revive our imagination in order to allow us to go beyond the practical perception to reach an aesthetic experience. His work raises real questions and often refers  to a kind of fragility of the world around us. The choice of white was a natural choice, echoing rest and tranquility. It also reinforces the contrast with the materials. His images are an invitation to dream and be carried away.


Website :
Instagram : charlespetillon


Your first photographic trigger ?
Charles Petillon : My passion for photography was progressive, there was no single trigger for me, but rather a succession of photographs.

The man of images who inspires you ?
Charles Petillon : Not only men, but also women! I could name at least fifty photographers whose work I admire.

The image that you would have liked to make ?
Charles Petillon : To make all the ones I missed!

The one that moved you the most?
Charles Petillon : There is nothing definitive or permanent about the emotion a photograph brings, and that’s why it’s impossible to answer.

And the one that made you angry?
Charles Petillon : None, because photography cannot make me angry, but the subject matter can.

If you had to choose only one image among yours, what would it be?
Charles Petillon : I don’t know.

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Charles Petillon : I don’t know.

The quality needed to be a good photographer?
Charles Petillon : It takes many qualities, but if I have to pick one, then I would say curiosity.

The secret of the perfect image, if it exists?
Charles Petillon : There is no secret because all the answers are in front of you.

The person you would like to photograph ?
Charles Petillon : I don’t do portraits.

An essential photo book ?
Charles Petillon : Impossible to answer because photo books are ALL essential to our lives.

The camera of your beginnings ?
Charles Petillon : An Agfa telemetry camera from the 60’s.

The one you use today ?
Charles Petillon : A Hasselblad and a Sony.

Your favorite drug ?
Charles Petillon : Truffles.

The best way to disconnect for you?
Charles Petillon : The mountain.

Your greatest quality?
Charles Petillon : Doubt.

The job you would not have liked to do?
Charles Petillon : Politician because it’s a heavy responsibility and whatever you do, you will be the punching bag of society.

Your biggest extravagance as a photographer?
Charles Petillon : Having decided one day to dedicate myself exclusively to photographing white balloons.

What do you want to share through your images?
Charles Petillon : My doubts and reflections.

The city, the country or the culture you dream of discovering?
Charles Petillon : Iceland.

The place you never get tired of?
Charles Petillon : The mountain.

Your biggest regret?
Charles Petillon : Not to have gone to art school or photography school.

Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok or snapchat?
Charles Petillon : Instagram, but I’m not very involved.

Color or B&W?
Charles Petillon : Color as part of my business even though I am passionate about B&W.

Daylight or artificial light?
Charles Petillon : Both with equal pleasure for one or the other.

What is the most photogenic city?
Charles Petillon : I don’t know.

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Charles Petillon : I would tell him that I don’t take portraits or self-portraits.

Which image do you think represents the current state of the world?
Charles Petillon : It is not an image but a punctuation mark: the question mark.

What is missing in today’s world?
Charles Petillon : Answers.

What if everything had to be redone?
Charles Petillon : Most certainly.

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