Interview of the week : Romain Bernardie-James
La version originale de l’interview est disponible en français ici
This week, the French photographer Romain Bernardie-James answers our questions.
- Soundtrack of the report
- Born to be wild
Romain Bernardie-James is a young French photographer with the cool spirit of a true adventurer. When he’s not busy shooting for trendy brands and fashion magazines, Romain travels the world looking for inspiration and new subjects to shoot. Let’s meet with this born and raised Parisian and discover the vision of the world he captures everyday through his lens.
1. Did you travel much before you started taking pictures in other countries?
Yes. I’ve travelled quite a bit. Whenever I had money saved up, I would buy a plane ticket. When my dad arrived in France, he worked in the luggage warehouse at the Paris-Orly airport. I think that made me want to fly as much as possible.
2. What attracts you to travel? Do your trips inspire you in your work?
Travel is inspiring. I liked Paris, but the city doesn’t really inspire me. It’s not always easy to draw out the extraordinary from the everyday.
3. What travel memories do you usually keep to yourself?
I have little bit of a morbid side: I enjoy visiting cemeteries and graves. The way people bury and look after the dead can be very indicative/says a lot about of their culture. I don’t take any photos during these visits; therefore, I keep the souvenirs in my memory.
4. Is there a place that you dream of capturing on film?
I’m going there next week. Brazzaville, Congo; the Mecca of sapologie (a fashion trend beginning the 1970s, in which people dress in chic, high-end clothing despite living in a relatively poor country).
5. What would be your ideal mode of transportation, real or imaginary?
A motorcycle. If I was allowed, I would bring it on the plane with me. I actually have a blog on the subject, which is slightly more private than my other sites : lesbecanes.tumblr.com
6. Are you inspired by any travel photographers?
I can’t say that I’m inspired by anyone in my work, but there are definitely some whom I admire. This might seem to be a pretty standard/average answer, but the first one that come to mind are Egleston, Shore, Cartier-bresson, and more recently Boogie.
7. Who do you like to travel with?
I like to travel alone. After having travelled with many people, I think I prefer to be alone. I work better and keep myself company.
8. Are there any cultural practices you discovered abroad that you apply to your daily life?
The country I’ve explored the most by far is the United State, so nothing out of the ordinary to mention. These are things that people in France do without ever having crossed the Atlantic or realizing where they picked them up.
9. Describe your favourite place to take a nap while on a trip.
I am the Hummer of napping. I can sleep on any terrain, anywhere.
10. What image (photo) takes you on a trip?
It is not a photo, but a painting: The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Casper David Friedrich (1818). It is one of the founding works of art from the Romantic movement. It is like a visual representation of Rousseau Reveries of a Solitary Walker. It’s a classic! There’s nothing better for travel.
11. What is your next trip? Your next project?
As I mentioned before, I’m going to Brazzaville. I’m hoping to come back with an exposition and/or a publication, but we’ll see. Otherwise, I’m going to Hong Kong and Shanghai very soon for work.