Jérome Bonnot


What if the world isn't exactly where we think it is? You look at the images of Jérôme Bonnot, and the idea comes to you that reality is never simple. That is to say, it can be combined in the plural, in a possible superposition. Time and space overlap, they intersect their conditional lights.

One day, the photographer (Jérôme) walks into an empty house. Its occupants have just left it. History says nothing else. The objects are in their place, the furniture, the fireplaces. On the walls, there is the mark of the paintings, and “I have this impression that something has been interrupted, but that life can resume. She is there in suspense. I perceive it distinctly, and I photograph it.”

On his shot, a woman passes, in a veil, half-suspended. You can imagine many things. She goes from one room to another, she carries on a conversation. No noise is audible, just a slight movement, under the light falling from a canopy. “I am looking for these places, just at the moment of abandonment, continues the Toulouse photographer. It is a moment that lasts very little, a few days later others will come and the rampage will begin. It's quite a fragile moment, it never lasts long, barely enough time to photograph it.

For a long time Jérôme hesitated between two “realities” of photography. First steps ? “Probably to go back to the time of my first images, around the age of 12. Friends, holidays, nothing artistic, recording. Basically, photography is done with information on one side, observation, and then artistic creation. I discovered it, this creation, at the Château (Toulouse photographic center), which exhibited in the 80s Depardon, William Klein, Koudelka, Salgado…” He pauses. Because it will probably be a trigger. Click-clack. Packed the bag and set sail elsewhere.

Salgado's photography suggested to him this crossing that testimony and art can nourish. His trips to Thailand (refugee camp) and Madagascar (penitentiary) will follow this thread. But on the way back, the work also comes back to the light of the laboratory. Jérôme Bonnot often emphasizes this fact: “I am an image shooter”. His time at Harcourt Laboratories gave him this mastery. In short, the image is there, and the intervention can begin. In the silver thickness, in this organic magma of the pixels, another reality then sees the light of day.

What if the meeting with Kossi Homawoo started this way? In this underside of reality, in this depth that opens like a trapdoor of clarity. “And this way he has of dealing with his reality in the light, that is to say a light which emanates, very complex, without a real source. We are then a few centimeters from the magic. You are in a place, this woman was there, but it was not happening here, or not yet, it is a matter of patience and the equinox.

Jérôme Bonnot's photos have no particular genre. They testify to this thing that does not exist, they are proof of the unreal, a way of saying that it is true and totally illusory. Or is it the opposite?

RC (ZO mag’)