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HERVÉ LEWIS

PORTRAIT

Curves and arcs in a circular world, a world that is mysterious but always sensual, where the enigmatic ripples of the female form coalesce; from the edge of the lip, the slender neck, the ecstatic iris, the unbound contour, the pale crescent of the hip to the curves of the buttocks; a whole, in a circular world.

Hervé Lewis is the French photographer who dares. Who hasn’t seen one of his photographs? If only his famous campaign "Aubade," used in advertising and proposing luscious lessons ubiquitously in city streets. But behind the image of the trail-blazing rock 'n roll fan of American imagery, Hervé is a master in the art of a type of photography which is soft and sensual yet steeped in strength. Hervé has always been an aficionado of sport, with a passion for fitness and combat sports, and other disciplines such as tennis or cycling. The physical aspect has always been a very important factor for the maestro. He devoted himself first to English boxing, then taking to French boxing. Several years later, Hervé became one of the first sports coaches in France, counting among his clients and friends, Johnny Halliday (with whom he rubbed shoulders and trained for nearly two decades), Mylène Farmer, Jean Reno and Christy Turlington. Through this discipline, Hervé acquires real passion for form and structure, in which he finds truths, a desire to understand how the world works. He wants to discover the essence of each person through the study of forms. Beneath the commonalities and similarities, Hervé senses that everyone has something unique that deserves to be captured, and it is this energy, "since all is but energy," that he wants to recover, to appropriate - the only way for him to preserve something from the flow of women he meets. Photography presents itself as the ideal instrument for capturing these moments, a creative process that has become his passion for twenty years. Beginning with taking portraits of actresses in the age of film-photography, his gaze moved to the body and then mixes the two to make his inimitable style: strength and beauty in harmony, always a minimalist setting and slightly offbeat. His current fascination is the notion of privacy, in the truth hidden within the body. He endorses this quote from the painter Bonnard: "painting is a lot of little lies for a greater truth." The editor met the maestro in his studio a few steps from the Champs-Elysées; a gym with multiple rooms and a recording studio.

INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE

What are you looking for when you create a photograph?
Through the harmony of an image, there are answers. Beauty is what touches us most in the world. As Master Ueshiba said, the founder of aikido, "it is to make the heart of the universe one's own heart.”  I am trying to understand the truth, and in the form, as well as in the human body, there is inevitably a truth.  In the curves of the back, in arches... I like what is round, the world is round, everything is circular!  I am obsessed with back arches! There are no two similar physical forms. I try to find what is unique in a person, not necessarily a model, but in a woman; the truth in a movement and in roundness. 

 

Could you explain your style?
As I just confided in you, I have an obsession with back arches which mark my style, and the play of light, of course. Black and white is very important, as indeed it must be offset by a bit. I mean, the real truth is not necessarily true, it is an illusion, there must be a shift to be more true. What you show and what you hide is what makes a picture. I often shoot in front of mirrors as it gives another dimension and there are reflections, so there are more truths! In sensuality there is a truth. I try to find the magic inside of individuals, of women particularly. In a beautiful picture in my opinion, there must be strength, sensuality, emotion and energy.  But there also must be magic between these emotions.  In the creation process there is something magical, because no one has the answer. Martial arts are not so far apart, they are also in that which is round, which is circular; the goal being to understand the story.  And you find it all in my pictures.  We can say that it's just pretty, sexy, but in reality behind this mere simplicity there is a whole, and everything is but energy. Beauty is a form of energy. That's what I try to put in my pictures; so that they are energetically powerful and real.

 

And do you have artistic mentors like you have in other disciplines?
I am not very sensitive to sculpture except that of Rodin. I am more attracted to painting, Bonnard, Degas, Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art. I don’t listen to any particular music when I shoot, Neil Young sometimes or some blues guitar (laughs showing us the room full of guitars), The Eagles, a few somewhat trippy “Californian groups” ... I'm a fan of Japanese art, even sushi is beautiful.  In Japan, the Chefs are also masters, just like sumo wrestlers.

- Meet Hervé Lewis in Normal Magazine n°1 et n°3 -