Father and son, France. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
What is a father? What is a son? What bond links them? Blood? Love? Legacy? Inheritance?
Having photographed fathers, 30 to 80 years old, standing up, bare-chested, with their sons, whether months-old or already in their fifties, French photographer Grégoire Korganow looks for the answers in his photo project: Father and son.
During his residency in Chongqing and Beijing, where he took a series of portraits of Chinese fathers and sons, Korganow shows the unknown side of the country – which the photographer says is quite different from what he saw of Chinese residing in France.
During his stay in Beijing, Korganow gave an exclusive interview to China Daily website, in the interview, he explained how he arrived at the idea of the photography project and some intimate moments he shared with his subjects.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
What inspired you to do the "Father and Son" project? A question raised by your son Marco?
I started the father and son project in 2010. This project was born from a question of familial relations asked by my son Marco, who was 5 years of age at that time. Marco was born in Rwanda, and was adopted by me and my wife when he was 5 months old. His skin color is black and ours is white. The photos « father and son » was at first an attempt to explain to my son the resemblance, heredity and the nature of the connections between a father and a son. It was also the time when my father grew old and I was needed to live close by to look after him. The first portraits were therefore taken with my son and my father.
Father and Son is also a photographic work about the masculine figure. It puts fathers and sons in close proximity, a body to body closeness that's often lost when men became adults. This new state of being allows them to reach for a nearly forgotten tenderness. In my photos, men of different generations and cultures come together. It's a sensational voyage through time in the world of men.
Do you have preferences in choosing your subjects in your "Father and Son" project, as you seem to like taking photos of disadvantaged groups in society?
I do not choose the models for "Father and Son". The residence in the country that welcomes me puts out an announcement, asking for volunteer subjects, whom I will then interview in person. What interests me in the work of "Father and son" is to present men in a sensible manner. I'm interested in presenting them through a different prism than their usual image: authority, courage, and power. I see them in their fragility, in their doubt and their pain…