• Uscha Pohl: In your photography you focus on forlorn places and open spaces, as well as traces of man and machine in nature. What attracts you?

    Florent Demarchez: A subject becomes inspiring when it contains a contradiction. When different notions merge into the image in a form of highly contrasted dialogue. Nature, urbanism and consumption society are fields I have been particularly sensible to so far. And I guess the reason is quite simple… these are the contradictions I grew up with.

    I spent my childhood in the Alps, playing in open fields, far from social pressure in close contact with nature. Later, I moved to big cities such as London, New York and then Paris and got the same fascination for human creativity then what I felt younger towards nature...

    These are the contradictions I live with: I love and need trees, open field and pure water as much as I love and need factories, bridges and airplanes. I pray that one day, sooner the better, they will cohabitate and complement each other. Science for the sake of nature.

    UP: With François-Ghislain Morillion and Sébastien Kopp, the two founders of Veja you went to the Amazon and to Cearà, North Brasil, where they source the raw materials for their ecological shoe production?

    FD:
    Veja works in close relation with producers of biological cotton as well as local rubber tappers (seringueiros) that are collecting natural latex from wild trees.

  • [FD] You have to see with your own eyes to realise where the raw material from the Veja shoes comes from and how it is produced. The work done with these people is remarkable.

    It is a real mutual enrichment for both the producers and Veja in terms of human relation, social conditions, sharing of knowledge and respect of the environment.

    UP: What was the determining factor for you to go on this photographic journey and exploration?

    FD: It started with the encounter of Ghislain and Sébastien. We rapidly found each other with the same concerns regarding human rights and respect of nature. After a few projects an invitation came from their part to see by myself the life of the producers they were working with.

    You should always say yes to a journey and an exploration. But when the subject joins your intimate concerns, there is not even a question about it.

    UP: What impressed you most?

    FD:
    There was no given orientation to the trip but to see with my own eyes. And I have to admit the relation they have with their producers gave a whole new dimension to my perception. Every encounter was imprinted with dignity with the planet.

  • UP: What impressed you most?

    FD: There was no given orientation to the trip but to see with my own eyes. And I have to admit the relation they have with their producers gave a whole new dimension to my perception. Every encounter was imprinted with dignity with the planet.

    UP: Why do you call the series of photographs that resulted Novo Mundo(s)?

    FD: Because a new world is to be created. And it urges! Novo Mundo(s) relates to a time where the land was conquered by human being and religion to become ‘civilised spaces’. Nowadays, religion is omnipresent, particularly in Brazil, but the time has come for civilisation to place the land at the centre of its concern, as well as the human being. Somehow, to truly become civilised.

    Florent Demarchez

    Veja