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We no longer need to introduce François Rousseau, the famous French photographer recognized in particular for his calendars of the Gods of the Stadium, rugby players in their simplest form. However, the association remains reductive. Beyond the advertising photographer, François is a versatile and prolific artist whose most personal and artistic works remain the most fascinating and spectacular, both in their aesthetics and in the research that results from them.

François Rousseau is originally from Clermont Ferrand and now lives in Paris. After studying Art and Communication, he suddenly stopped painting in 1994 to devote himself exclusively to photography. Since then, he has been able to alternate photography of portraits, fashion as well as more artistic projects.  In recent years and in parallel with photography, he has been exploring video and has been able to make a few short films including a behind-the-scenes sports documentary. He draws his inspiration from high level athletes, dancers and sportsmen, where the bodies are marbled and drawn.


Why nude?

The nude remains fundamentally linked to desire, and when desire invades everything, it does not allow you to think. In some of my projects, I put desire at a distance, and it is only in these cases that I was able to make the most beautiful images. When the desire was more blatant, when it directed me, the photographs were much less strong. My work on the nude is very much linked to the desire to show the strength of the body. I am fascinated by strength and yet I like to show fragility. Many women have liked my photos because there is this form of sensitivity. In some photos they are soft, almost fragile. So to answer simply: a fascination for strength. 


And Photoshop in all this?

Photography is capturing life, the painter's model is static, we are in an act where the person comes to strip naked, undress in a very specific place. At Lucien Freud or Francis Bacon to name a few, nudes were done only in a single place. The nude in painting is linked to the studio, even if there were nudes done outside. Most were editing, just like Photoshop today. Flandrin when he painted his nude "Young naked man seated at the edge of the sea" did it in his studio in Paris and afterwards he recreated the sea behind but in the end it is a trick, the painting was the trick. We are bored with Photoshop now, 'it's a scandal, we're doing fake'. But the ancestor of Photoshop is still oil painting! Artists have always sought to embellish the true, the reality When Napoleon posed on his horse for David, he asked to be retouched! Everything coexists in the photo, the most realistic, raw images and the most worked images, but this diatribe against Photoshop I find it absolutely ridiculous! I retouch a lot , and that even when I was shooting with film. It would be better to say that I compose. "Atelier" is so composed that it becomes painting. Photoshop in the end is the possibility of recomposing, of mixing portions of images. But alas, badly used, it gives skins like plastic, there is the problem.

- Find the suite of François Rousseau dansNormal Magazine No. 4 -

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