“I think my pictures and series speak for themselves,” says Los Angeles-based photographer Franck Bohbot, “sometimes a picture is better than words to describe an idea and to tell a story.” Originally from France and now in LA having spent the past six years in New York, this is certainly true of Franck’s recent work Forever Young.
A pastel heaven, the series was taken during the summer of 2018 in the south west of France, a place the photographer visits with his wife and two children every year. “I love this part of the country,” he tells us, “and this water park reminds me of my childhood. I had my camera so I decided to capture some natural moments, what happened in and around this park.” Franck’s nostalgic feelings towards this kind of environment are clear throughout the series, which exudes warmth and familiarity.
It’s not just on an emotional level that the images resonate, however, they are technically adept thanks to their composition and consistent colour. In one image, the tubes of a water slide curl up and up in the top left-hand corner of the frame, while four young boys watch on as friends climb the spiral staircase in the opposite corner, giving the image a pleasing balance. And while the various rides evoke nostalgia, they also act as geometric compositional elements, helping sustain a graphic quality throughout the work.
When working, Franck tells us: “I always try to follow my instincts. It’s really about the feeling. I love to be at the border between dream and reality and am interested in presenting, through my own vision, the places we live, we play, we learn; where people interact with each other.”
The narrative qualities to Forever Young are perhaps thanks to Franck’s beginnings in the creative industries which started in music, then progressed to cinema, before finally settling on photography. “New York City, in 2007, was the first time I grabbed a camera,” he recalls. “I came back to France and started to read tonnes of art books, photo books, going to museums, exhibitions and I started to focus on my personal projects. Then later, I started to work with agencies, galleries and magazines.”
Ultimately, however, beyond technical or aesthetic qualities, Forever Young is a personal project for Franck, allowing him to recreate the summers of his childhood, mirroring the experiences in the summers his own children now have. “The series,” he concludes, “is about memories, childhood, dreams, friendship, structure, water, slides and indeed about what I stand for, always being young in everything step of your life. Just play!”
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