Nicolas Wilmouth • Photographer, France

Le Beau et la Forme

Landscape Stories: Which is the function of a romantic vision in the culture of the contemporary photography?
Nicolas Wilmouth: Just to have the ability to wonder, to keep an enquiring, impressionable mind, together with the desire to be told a story.


Landscape Stories: Which is your source of inspiration?
Nicolas Wilmouth: On a basic level: the representation of identity and death. On a more philosophical level: the concept of beauty and shape in representation. 
Inspirational people: Irving Penn, Duane Michals, Jeff Wall, Eric Poitevin, Caravaggio, Samuel Beckett and Pierre Desproges.
Landscape Stories: Your work is nostalgic? What emotions does the nature transmit to you?
Nicolas Wilmouth: Memories haunt me: the taste of things, the mark they leave on my memory, experiencing through smells, objects, places steeped in sensations… Yes, there’s nostalgia, but even more so: there’s melancholy.
I like the idea of experiencing nature as something that’s living, with its breath, its force. The idea of time also interests me, the way it’s both static and mobile, something slow and deep that moves gently, unnoticed, and against which we can do nothing.


Landscape Stories: The reality has a absolute relationship with your fantasy?
Nicolas Wilmouth: Reality can be dreamt, just as much as dreams can come true. There’s a fine dividing line between the two. Photos can act as the medium and the link between the inaccessible and the concrete. A photo can materialize a dream, just as it can misrepresent reality, or at least give it another meaning.


Landscape Stories: Your vision of the surreal is so personal and rare, what do you like about the Surrealism?
Nicolas Wilmouth: I prefer to use the terms absurd and grotesque rather than surreal. This is about a precise point of view of simple things, lit carefully to reveal their essence. It’s about giving a soul to objects, or things that might appear inanimate.


Landscape Stories: See you in the beauty some revolutionary aspects?
Nicolas Wilmouth: Beauty can be present in daily life, in a gesture, a look, an object in the light. These are simple things, but they can become surprising, if they are watched attentively.
Landscape Stories: Which is your idea of landscape? It’ s a your landmark or it’s a contrasting strengths?
Nicolas Wilmouth: I like the idea of a mental landscape, the idea that you can own a place, a tree, a meadow, a valley, and use it to build your own imagined world, interiorize a place to feed your imagination. I like the idea of personifying a mountain or a lake, even a dog or a ladder.


Landscape Stories: Basically which is your interest to the taxonomy?
Nicolas Wilmouth: I like the ambiguity of the representation. Is it living or dead? Real or not? It’s also a pretext for a portrait, and it’s particularly motivating to be able to create a bridge between a dead animal and me, almost like managing to establish an impossible dialogue. I use the framing and lighting to try to feel the breath of the animal, despite its immobile, dusty state. I like reaching for the resonance and vibration of things.


Landscape Stories: Your images, of the ‘Hors series’ should be some frames of a film of Werner Herzog. You tray to find a new relationship with the world.
Nicolas Wilmouth: I try to be precise in my vision of things, but at the same time, I like to add some confusion, an element of doubt in my pictures so that they don’t reveal all immediately, not entirely, so they have another level of meaning, a life of their own.


Landscape Stories: Next projects?
Nicolas Wilmouth: My personnal exhibition will be the 8 september at Van Kranendonk Galery in Lahaye (NL), and other portraits of animals – maybe live animals…

Interview by Camilla Boemio