Charles-Henry Bédué started taking his unusual reportage shots at society parties and fashion events whilst working in Shanghai and then Beijing. L’Habit Fait Le Moine (or The Clothes Make The Man) began as a way for the French photographer to find some satisfaction in a job he didn’t enjoy. After being pleasantly surprised by an accidental picture taken during one of these jobs – the kind that was no use to anyone else – he started to see things differently. Taking a fly-on-the-wall approach and shooting from every unexpected angle, he turned his lens away from unfamiliar faces and zoomed in on the textures and folds of their clothes and the movements of gesticulating limbs. “I started to not see a difference between the job and the art, realising that if I could continue to evolve freely as a reporter, every subject could bring me meaningful pictures for my work,” he explains.
The series went on to be featured in photography magazine Foam and has continued in Paris where Charles-Henry is still capturing the well-dressed revelry of the art and fashion scene, although he is very clear place is somewhat irrelevant to his work. “My pictures have no border, no clear identity – space, object and human are the same for me. I cut out the face because with an abstract language it is easier to speak of an inner world.” In a refreshing departure from the relentless carousel of international fashion coverage, the resulting images take a step back and a step forward at the same time, bodies become objects and clothes become nothing but forms and colours.
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