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The Questionnaire : Le Turk by Carole Schmitz


Le Turk : Unconventional

Sébastien Salamand, aka Le Turk, graduated from the University of Tours with a Master’s degree in musicology, then moved on to making comics before devoting himself entirely to photography and directing. Known for making his own sets before installing his colorful universe that is both burlesque and romantic.

A child of the 80s and Pop culture, he draws his inspiration from all kinds of environments that question him and make him dream.

From the history of France to the world of the circus, not forgetting comics, Jeunet’s films, Otto Dix’s paintings and the cabaret atmosphere of Pigalle in olden times, all these worlds enrich his compositions and give them a real dynamism.

From idea to concrete realization, his methods are akin to the cinema of yesteryear, giving his images such a complex, magical quality. He likes to work with artificial light to achieve vivid colors and strong contrasts. For him, constraints are creative levers fed by his imagination and his reflection on the passage of time.

Now a Canon ambassador, by turns artist, set designer, photographer and director, he combines his skills to create immersive compositions of the world as he sees it without any hidden message.


Instagram : @leturkphotographies


What was your first photographic breakthrough?
Le Turk: My first photo series – Salbatar Circus – when I realized I could tell stories.

The man or woman who inspired you?
Le Turk: Michael Jackson.

The image you haven’t made yet that you’d like to make?
Le Turk: An exhaustive fresco on the history of France.

The one that has moved you the most?
Le Turk: Robert Doisneau’s Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville.

The one that made you most angry?
Le Turk: The portrait of Samuel Paty.

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Le Turk: Otto Dix’s War Triptych.

A photographic memory from your childhood?
Le Turk: A stolen disposable camera full of absurd shots of my childhood friend and me in disguise.

The image that obsesses you?
Le Turk: Christ on the cross.

What was the last photo you took?
Le Turk: A rotten building.

How do you choose your projects?
Le Turk: Their pleasure factor.

Which photo changed the world?
Le Turk: Nick UT’s Napalm Girl.

And which photo changed your world?
Le Turk: The World Trade Center on fire.

What was the last thing you did for the first time?
Le Turk: Drink a Frappé at Exarcheia in Athens.

What makes a good photo?
Le Turk: A photo you want to live in.

What interests you most in an image?
Le Turk: Its ability to lie.

With no budget limit, what would you dream of acquiring?
Le Turk: Miyazaki’s research plates.

In your opinion, what’s the one quality needed to be a good photographer?
Le Turk: Knowing how to do without words.

The secret of the perfect image, if it exists?
Le Turk: Contrast, in the broadest sense of the word.

The person you’d most like to photograph if you had the chance?
Le Turk: Tom Waits.

The photographer you’d like or would like to have your portrait taken by?
Le Turk: Nicolas Guérin.

An essential photo book?
Le Turk: La Garenne du Prince – Le Turk !

Your childhood camera?
Le Turk: My father’s old Canon.

The one you use today?
Le Turk: Canon R5C.

Your favorite drug?
Le Turk: Nostalgia.

The best way for you to disconnect?
Le Turk: Cooking.

What’s your relationship with images?
Le Turk: Like a child in front of his favorite cartoon.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Le Turk: Someone who’s getting older.

Your greatest quality?
Le Turk: Passion.

Your latest folly?
Le Turk: A 20 hours long shooting day.

An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Le Turk: Napoleon, of course!

Your greatest professional extravagance?
Le Turk: A comic strip.

What’s the difference between photography and art photography?
Le Turk: The latter is useless.

Which city, country or culture would you most like to discover?
Le Turk: I’d especially like to deepen my knowledge of European civilization.

The place you never tire of?
Le Turk: A cinema.

Your biggest regret?
Le Turk: Not having had the strictest artistic training.

In terms of social networks, do you prefer Instagram, Facebook or Tik Tok, and why?
Le Turk: Instagram because it’s a bit more measured than the rest.

Color or B&W?
Le Turk: Color.

Daylight or artificial light?
Le Turk: Artificial light.

Which city do you think is the most photogenic?
Le Turk: Gotham City.

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Le Turk: I’d invite him to the studio to take a photo of himself.

If I could organize your ideal dinner party, who would be at the table?
Le Turk: Like every Sunday, my wife and family.

Which image represents the current state of the world for you?
Le Turk: Otto Dix’s Metropolis triptych.

What’s missing in today’s world?
Le Turk: Christ.

If you had to start all over again?
Le Turk: Everything the same.

Any final words?
Le Turk: May God bless my family, my friends, my country and all men and women of good will.

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