Cham Trek, India (August 2011)
I apologize for my lack of posts. I failed on my last film roll.
Until the next serie, I have uploaded more photographs on my personal website.
JONATHAN CHERRY: When did you last see the sunrise?
CAMILLE LEAGE: You will be disappointed with my response : in reality, I see the sunrise everyday in winter, since I wake up early to go to work. The last memorable one was on New Years Day 2013; I was following the Thames in Roma, when the sun came up.
JC: Any emerging artists inspiring you at the moment?
CL: Since my travel in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, I have been obsessed by the post-communist countries. To name a few, even though they are not all emerging artists, I love the talented work of Evgeniaar Bugaeva, Claudine Doury, Almagul Menlibayeva, Alexander Gronsky. Their ability to combine storytelling and aesthetics inspire me.
JC: Whats your current project all about?
CL: Today, my plan is to finish my last film roll by shooting a snow-covered Paris. This film roll also contains my last shots from my Kyrgyzstan series. I hope to disclose it shortly on my website. Unfortunately, it will be incomplete. I got sick and missed out on a third of the travel. I hadn’t been able to hold my camera and snap photographs of the breathtaking lansdcapes that surrounded me, at the end of the trip.
JC: Where are you currently living and how is it shaping you?
CL: I grew up and currently live in Paris, France. My identity is totally shaped by this town. As a result, I have been developing a very personal project about it. This is called Bus 60. It is the name of the bus that passes through the poorest and most multi-ethnic neighbourhoods of Paris, where I come from. Although some people still describe this area as unsafe, its dizzying array of cultures captures my interest. For some years now, I have seen this neighborhood slowly become gentrified. Last year, I started to document this contrasting ethnic landscape that is unfortunately disappearing.
JC: One piece of advice to recent photography graduates?
CL: Would it be suitable for me to advise recent photography graduates since I’ve never attended photography school ?
JC: Any big plans for 2013?
CL: Explore roads less traveled in China and immerse myself in the daily life of the Chinese.
JC: Favourite tree?
CL: The Palaver Tree. It is not only a majestic tree but also a place in Africa where the village gathers and talks about any political, social and community issues at hand.
Currently based in Paris, France.
q: You’ve documented your travels around the world, where to next?
a: China will certainly be my next destination. My cousin, who speaks fluently Mandarin, is going to travel with me. This will be an ideal opportunity to explore the roads less traveled. At the moment, we are discussing several itineraries; China poses quite a logistical challenge. It is vast, very hot in summer and sights are often crammed with Chinese on holiday. For example, after beginning the Silk Road in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan last year, I would love to continue through China. But this is hardly feasible to cross a whole continent in such a short period of time! On the other hand, I am also very interested in the contrast between modernity and rural communities. We plan to explore villages in minority regions but also in Chongqing, one of the biggest and most polluted cities in the world.
q: What was your favorite part of your trip to Uzbekistan?
a: It’s difficult to decide the favorite part of a trip. One of my best memories was my arrival to Khiva, a town surrounded on all sides by desert, at sunset. The atmosphere was worthy of the tales from the Arabian Nights. The whole country has a fascinating culture, amazing landscapes and a great sense of hospitality. I was welcomed with open arms by the local people. I took away beautiful memories that will last.
q: Upcoming projects or ideas?
a: I have several series in the pipelines but also travel ideas to finish planning. My series “Bus 60” is a very personal project. The “Bus 60” passes through the poorest and most multi-ethnic neighborhoods of Paris, where I come from. Although some people still describe this area as unsafe, its dizzying array of cultures captures my interest. For some years now, I have seen this neighborhood slowly becoming gentrified. Last year, I started to document this contrasting ethnic landscape that is unfortunately disappearing.
q: Any music to recommend?
a: The last band that blew me away was the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, from Chicago. Their ability to bring together their jazz roots and their hip hop sensibility with only horns and a drum set impressed me. Otherwise, I have been deeply involved in an association which organizes three music festivals each year. One of them called “Music to Rock the Nation” is the biggest music festival organized by students in Paris. I can’t list all the artists we have lined up, but I can recommend two promising French bands, Electrophazz and Carmen Randria & Radek Azul Band, both are worth a listen.