The Questionnaire : Harold Hermann by Carole Schmitz
HAROLD HERMANN: Exploring humanity
His background is atypical, to say the least. If he was very early interested in the functioning of a camera, the arrival of the digital technology, had reason of this nascent curiosity. It is only 15 years later that he will take possession of a camera, digital this time and will learn to tame this new process of making images. In the meantime, he studied medicine and became an anesthetist.
Although he did not go to art school, he did, on the other hand, study cinema and painting. A method that educated his eyes and developed his visual imagination.
Animated by the beauty of the arts as well as by the human sciences and philosophy, Harold Hermann wanted to explore the human being, his intimate and yet universal mechanisms, through photographic settings.
His objective is to explore humanity, questioning a feeling, an idea, a norm in order to provoke a reflection in the viewer. Guided by the search for truth, he focuses on magnifying the beauty of the body as well as the textures of the decor or the styling. In this work, the light is essential. Thus, he likes to leave in the shadows details and colors that one discovers progressively and, through clear obscure, to underline the solemnity of the subject.
Harold Hermann likes to tell stories through images, in connection with an intrigue, an issue or an emotion.
After having boxed the most beautiful landscapes, he begins the photo of staging in 2020, with, at first, an intimist series, “A corps écrits”, which was the subject of exhibition in Paris and Arles, then of big frescoes “Liberté-Egalité-Fraternité”, and “Amour” in 2021.
His creative process begins with the maturation of an idea in the form of a sketch, which then leads to the design of sets, the choice of models, the constitution of his team, and the search for styling and accessories, before ending with the shooting and editing of the images. Then comes the work on the print and the framing to make a real art object, often in large format. A collective work in which the intervention of the camera is finally minor! But the result is there, bewitching and delicate.
Your first photographic trigger?
Harold Hermann : I was 7 years old, on vacation in the island of Re, my father gave me an analogue camera. I had applied myself during one afternoon to make the most beautiful pictures of the campsite where we were : landscapes, portraits of family, friends… To learn, at the end of the day that my father had forgotten to insert a film in the camera!
The man of images who inspires you?
Harold Hermann : Leturk for his ability to transmit creative energy.
The image you would have liked to make?
Harold Hermann : Delacroix’s Liberty Guiding the People.
The one that moved you the most?
Harold Hermann : As a teenager, photos of concentration camps that made me realize that the horrors of human murder were very close to us.
And the one that made you angry?
Harold Hermann : Those same pictures!
A key image in your personal pantheon?
Harold Hermann : The coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David. Seen with my elementary school class on a visit to the Louvre, when I was 8/10 years old. The imposing size, the solemnity, the sacredness… I have kept this vision in me and it must have influenced my desires of creation.
What is the necessary quality to be a good photographer?
Harold Hermann : Boldness !
What is for you the perfect image, if it exists?
Harold Hermann : An image that generates strong emotions for the greatest number of people.
The person you would like to photograph?
Harold Hermann : Christ.
An essential photo book?
Harold Hermann : I am not a big fan of photo books… But, at the moment, two sources of inspiration are sitting on my bedside table: A beautiful book on the Pre-Raphaelites and the latest issue of Normal magazine.
The camera of your beginnings?
Harold Hermann : Nikon.
The one you use today?
Harold Hermann : Nikon.
Your favorite drug?
Harold Hermann : Love… Just ahead of sex and food…
The best way to disconnect for you?
Harold Hermann : I hesitate between watching several episodes of a series during half the night and…a party and alcohol !
Your greatest quality ?
Harold Hermann : The woman I love…
An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Harold Hermann : Adam and Eve, naked in nature
The job you would not have liked to do?
Harold Hermann : Generally speaking, all the jobs I wouldn’t do if I had to go and have fun!
Your biggest extravagance as a photographer?
Harold Hermann : Having 600 red roses delivered to the studio for an image shoot !
What values do you want to share through your images?
Harold Hermann : No values! Beauty, poetry, another way of seeing and understanding the world….
The city, the country or the culture that you dream to discover?
Harold Hermann : Japan.
The place you never get tired of?
Harold Hermann : Comfortably anchored in my sofa, I travel, I stroll, I escape, I plan, I dream… (Strolling in Venice is not bad either !)
Your biggest regret ?
Harold Hermann : If I think about it, I will find a lot of them… But, this reflection is far away on my to do list !
What do you think about networks? Which ones do you use?
Harold Hermann : I always imagine and design images in large formats with beautiful frames to make them truly remarkable objects! Paradoxically, the networks, which today are the showcase of image creation, are viewed on small screens of barely 5 cm! We are far from the frescos of Jacques-Louis David!
Color or B&W ?
Harold Hermann : Color !
Daylight or artificial light?
Harold Hermann : The most beautiful! Whether it comes from the sky or from a lamp!
The most photogenic city in your opinion?
Harold Hermann : Bangkok.
If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Harold Hermann : But, look at my pictures and you will see that he already posed for me…
The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Harold Hermann : Uh… the weather !
And if everything was to be redone?
Harold Hermann : But it already done is every day…