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Stephane Winter was born in 1974 in South Korea.  At fourteen, he began to photograph his adoptive parents where he lived in Switzerland. They were “experimentations” that he continued until the death of his father in 2011.  Titled Die Winter, his series is just as much an autobiography as it is an exploration of different photographic processes.  Interview below. 

Why did you become a photographer? 

My previous profession lead me to photography.  I discovered photography during my studies in Chemistry.  I was very interested in the technique (cameras, B&W chemistry, former methods…).  Then I went to the Écoles de Veyey in Switzerland to be reviewed. When I was accepted, I stopped working in the chemistry field to attend the school and improve my expressive side.   

Do you live off of photography?  

Yes and no.  I teach photography technology at Veyey, and I work part-time in my previous profession.  In photography, I mostly concentrate on my own work.  Sometimes I collaborate with musicians and other people using different mediums.

How did you know about the Circulations festival?  What did you expect from it?

I had already heard of it, but the festival contacted me first.  Marion Hilsen had seen the exhibition and the book in 2016 at the Images festival in Veyey.  I’m not expecting too much.  It already made me so happy to be able to exhibit in this festival in Paris.  I know that it has a lot of visibility, which could bring about other festivals and projects.

Describe the subject of your series, and explain why you decided to do it. 

In the beginning, I didn’t decide to do this series.  I made the first photo when I was fourteen with a camera that I got for my birthday.  What came next were only experimentations of cameras and processes while taking photos of the people close to me: my parents.  As the years went on, we began to like it, and the photos accumulated to about 6,000 images.  My parents were always ready.  Costumes did make appearances, but the shots were always spontaneous.

It was only around 2007 in Brittany that, with my editor Jérôme Sotherde GwinZegal (who is also a friend, because we were at Veyey together), we decided to make a publication with all these photos.  In 2011, my father died.  Following this event, I concentrated on another personal project already in course.  Finally, the book came out this autumn, at the same time as the exhibition in Veyey.

In what consists  the preparatory stage of your series or of your work in general?

Having patience!  This work is the fruition of twenty-three years of taking photos, and it took twenty-eight years for it to succeed.  Almost all of my works are series made over a long time that I had never shown, particularly two of them: one started exactly twenty years ago, and the other started in 2004.

Who are your mentors and references in photography or art history? 

My references are more the artists that made me dream and go to worlds that I can’t conceive, but who succeeded in showing or explaining them to me.  So, there are a lot of them… I’ll only cite one of them, within whose paintings I would want to live eternally.  Edward Hopper.

How has photography changed your point of view of the world? 

What I am going to say is going to seem a little catchall, but it had an impact on my perception of reality, the reality of what we want to show ourselves and the reality of what I want to see.

For me, today is “fake”, to use a trendy expression.  There are more or less elevated percentages of “fake”, but 0% fake does not exist (only in photography???).  As soon as there is an intention, there is something “fake”.  As soon as there is a photo, there is a composition…

Interview by Sophie Bernard

Circulation(s) Festival Young European Photography
From January 21 through March 5, 2017
5 rue Curial
75019 Paris

Editions 2017, 22 euros

Stéphane Winter, Die Winter
Co-edited by GwinZegal editions and the Veyey’s Images festival
30 €

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