I first came across Raphael Halin’s photographs after picking up a copy of Pecan Magazine. The images of the Paris based photographer were rich and haunting, with an emphasis on emptiness. It instantaneously sparked my curiosity and I wanted to know more about the process behind Raphael’s photographs. After reaching out, I had the opportunity to get to know him and details about his work through an interview.
Tell us a bit about your background Raphael, Where did you grow up and where do you reside now?
I grew up in the Parisian suburbs before settling in the heart of Paris.
How do you feel about Paris? Does it inform the kind of photography you do?
I feel like a bit of a stranger in this city…a spectator. The solitude that reigns, like in all big cities, obviously has an influence on my work. The city is also an accumulation of everything our society can produce.
When did you first get interested in photography?
I really started getting interested in photography after seeing Raymond Depardon’s exhibition “Errance” back in 2004. His images marked me and I felt that photography would be the best form of expression for me.
What or who inspires you on a daily basis?
The evolution of our society, our incapacity to react. Absence. And Mark Rothko. I am obsessed with his work!
Would it be fair to say that photography is a solitary activity for you?
To quote Raymond Depardon: “You must like solitude to be a photographer.”
What draws you to the spaces you photograph?
I love showing isolated places, disoriented people. The places must give way to these sorts of mises en scène.
It seems that you treat space almost as a protagonist in the images as it really dominates your photographs, can you tell me a bit about this?
I try to capture our relationship to our environment. These are places we have created and the traces we leave behind within them. We are almost unaware of our daily passings. I’m interested in exploring this relationship through my photography.
Your images evoke the feeling of a personal journey, is traveling an important element in your life?
Yes, traveling is important because it serves as a source of inspiration for my work and above all, the best way to come face to face with one self.
Through all your travels what are some of your favourite places you have visited?
Finland, the North of France, La Touraine, Montevideo…In reality, I think that every new place I visit could be part of that list because I never get tired of discovering new landscapes, new smells and new people.
Where would you like to travel in the future?
I don’t know. I need material for different projects and lately I want to get away from reality and focus my work more and more towards digital recomposition. I’ve been struggling with this idea because it’s no longer really photography but a larger field of experimentation.
What do you think of the representation of photography through social media avenues like Instagram.
It’s all in excess! Everything must be photographed and shared it seems. We are not just actors within the virtual world but are also spectators in the present “instant” of Instagram. We’ve stopped living in the moment and have become more focused on capturing… like recording a concert instead of watching it, and of course sharing it all.
Luckily for me I still don’t have an Instagram account.