Who is Denis Rion?
I am a photographer, I live in France, I am 59 years old.
I love the light, I love languages, I love the arts.
I like airports, ports, railway stations, roads.
I love bistros (cafés), I like to discover the cuisines of the world.
I love traveling, I like to immerse myself in other cultures and thought systems.
I love to be clueless about things so I could learn.
I am a man I naturally love women.
What type of photography are you specialized in?
I am a photographer specializing in shows, especially contemporary dance.
For several years, I have been working on a memory of contemporary choreographic creations through the photographic image. This work is done in various countries.
Now, I am focused on Africa and Madagascar in particular.
I also work with unprofessional female models.
Which type of photography do you prefer?
I love women, I like to photograph them, I like to try to sublimate them.
For dance photos, I like to enter the movement and grab it on the fly.
A choreographer said that I dance with my camera, it is one of the most beautiful compliments I have ever gotten.
Do you also shoot on movie sets?
Not the fixed image (photo) and the moving image (film), although having constraints and common points (subject, light, framing, depth of field, etc.) are for me two very different ways of shooting.
In pictures I stop, I capture ,stall , and / or I unveil the moment, the movement.
I am very interested in this in dance, I try to isolate the moment of the movement of the dance.
I worked once as a set photographer for a movie.
How did you become a photographer?
I took my first photo when I was 7, it was the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the camera I had “stolen” from my cousin for the occasion!
Then I was a lighting designer for the theater and for dance for 20 years.
The creation of the lights for shows naturally led me to the photo.
The theater scene is like a painting or a picture; Composition, light, balance or imbalance.
Because of my constant interaction with artists, directors and choreographers have been decisive in my desire to capture and transmit.
Which photography tools do you use?
I use a Nikon D800 and a small Lumix pocket.
I work with the Photoshop Lightroom software for slight adjustments of framing or brightness / contrast.
I never use a stand to be completely free of my movements
What led you to your photography career?
I left school very early at age 15. Since the age of 17, I worked a multitude of jobs: deliveryman, factory worker, florist, horse breeder, industrial draftsman, stage manager and lighting designer and finally photographer.
I loved each of these jobs.
Tell us about your career accomplishments?
I will only speak about the accomplishments related to photography.
I have made numerous exhibitions in these countries, Mali, Madagascar, Togo, Guyana, Brazil, South Africa and France, of course. Each time these exhibitions were linked to an event.
“Dense Bamako Dance” international contemporary dance festival in Mali
«I’Trôtra» international contemporary dance festival in Madagascar
«Rencontres de Danses Métisses» International contemporary dance festival in Guyana
“Encontro da Dança, FIDESP, International contemporary dance Festival in Brazil
“Festival des divinités Noires” International festival of contemporary dance in Togo
«Festival au Féminin» «Festival Lyannaj, Contemporary Caribbean Biennale of Contemporary Art» in Paris.
«Festival d’Avignon» International Theater Festival
The theater company KS & Co of Guyana published the book “Kokolampoe, a plurilingual school theater in the Guianas” with illustrations of my photos.
The National Choreographic Center of Nantes also illustrated its book “20 years of dance” with my photos
I published in collaboration with the theatrical circus company, “Attention Fragile” a book of photos of their shows.
I produced with the French painter Manuela Noble several series of photos of Bodypainting with actresses or dancers.
But I am also interested in a more “dynamic” exhibition of my photos.
I produced with the Martinican poet Nefta Poetry (Stéphanie Melyon-Reinette) a projection work at the theater “Café de la Danse” in Paris on a text she wrote about a selection of my dance photos.
I have just completed a collaboration with choreographers Gaby Saranouffi and Moeketsi Koena. We created a show featuring a close relationship between the photo of painted bodies and the dance, the photo was “actor” in the show.
This work was supported by the French Institute of Johannesburg and presented at the festival “Dance Umbrella” international festival of contemporary dance in South Africa.
My photos were also the support of many posters for companies of shows or festivals.
And finally I trained for 3 years with young Malagasy photographers to sensitize them to the photography of shows.
I know that you travel for your shootings, can you tell us why?
Five continents: a wealth of cultures, lifestyles, thought systems, rhythms.
Going to meet “the other” in his art and in his life has always gotten me more and more interested.
Attempt to bring back a few essences from elsewhere to tell our differences but also that the world is one.
Dance is a fundamental part of each country’s culture, and I am very interested in this.
Any big project now?
I am working on a documentary about the dancer Yan Liping in China and a collaboration proposal to the singer Isla; Writing songs related to my photos and creating a singing / image show.
Also, I am working on a photo-reportage about two national roads, one in France and the second one in Madagascar:
The first starts from Paris and ends in the south of France. (In France, the national road 7 is a mythical road like ROUTE 66 in The United States.) The second starts from Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar and it ends in the south of the island.
In both countries, it’s a holiday route to freedom. I like to pair the two stories.
I want to continue to support the Dance Festival in Madagascar by organizing exhibitions, photo workshops, reporting and communication of the festival. I am looking for funds for this project.
And finally publish a book / CD on photos collected around the world about contemporary dance. I’m looking into publishers.
Which one of your photographs is your absolute favorite?
It is too difficult, I have two, similar for me because they are two women, two artists, two women from Africa.
The first is a photo of a young Togolese dancer I took during the « Festival des divinités Noires » in Aného in Togo. There are no words for the beauty of this woman.
Her smile and the depth of her look amaze me every time I look at her.
The moment between the photographer (me) and this artist is suspended in time.
The photo is in Black & White
The second is a Malagasy dancer, the particularity of the company in which she dances in, is that they dance naked.
In this photo (back), I like the movement, I like the color of her skin, I like the position of this dancer, very curved, a body sublime, carnal, very sensual, never vulgar.
The photo is in color
Your challenges as a photographer.
I would like to transmit. Transmit my love of dance, and movement. Transmit my love of the world. Transmitting my respectful love of women. Transmitting to young photographers this love, and it’s a fine line.
Your advice to aspiring photographers.
Make photos tirelessly. Be patient, be humble.
There is no bad picture, there are the photos that we like to do and show.
Look at your own photos even after several years, there are always new traits to discover, the views evolve because there is the picture that we want to do, the one we think we did and finally the one we did.
Do not take a picture if it disturbs and especially always ask the agreement of the person photographed before publication.