All images by Julien Coquentin. Used with permission
Photographer Julien Coquentin has been slowly releasing a special series on Behance called “Black Seasons.” At the moment of publishing this piece, he has released his 7th part. It’s an ongoing project documenting parts of his childhood that were very important to him. Julien grew up in France and then travelled to Montreal for a few years. Upon coming back, he tried to reconnect with the things he left behind. Julien was a different man and so he takes these photos not only for himself, but for his daughters and their daughters.
We talked to Julien about the project that in some ways is a family tree story telling photo project.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you first got into photography.
Julien: I do not really know, its like going back to the source of a river. In many ways today, that feeds my interest in photography.
Phoblographer: Black Seasons is a very, very personal project. What inspired you to start it?
Julien: My country and my memories.
Phoblographer: Why is trying to document the important things to your childhood so important to you? These days, it seems like people and moments and memories are very fleeting.
Julien: I think of all the ways a photograph is always talking about that. Whichever way you photograph, I think we always end up talking about our own childhood perhaps to understand it and try to overcome it. For my part, I made a main subject, because the time coincided with a return to the homeland after years of absence. My childhood was pretty much gone; I was returning as a father of two little girls.
Phoblographer: What influences the way that you capture the scenes that you do? Are you trying to convey a specific feeling to the viewer?
Julien: Not really. I photograph the daily things around me, as I feel, depending on my mood, according to the light.
Phoblographer: What image that you’ve shot for the series so far is your most personally important? Why?
Julien: No particular image. This series is a whole that is composed of several hundreds of photographs. Most important, those that tell the stories will be selected when designing the book and the exhibition. I have not yet really started this editing.
Phoblographer: When you started this project, you obviously had goals that you wanted to accomplish and that’s why you’re releasing it in small bits. Besides putting out a book, what do you want to do with the series?
Julien: It was above all, to tell a story to my daughters. Mine and theirs. For this, I used light, lines scenery around me and those who inhabit them.
The territory I photographed belongs to the past, to my memories, but also in our present. When this work will be completed, comes time to imagine the book and the exhibition that will take outside my photographs from inside my computer.
Phoblographer: Do you ever go to places that trigger older memories that you may have forgotten about a while back?
Julien: The place I live is just that. Inhabited by memories of the child that I was, and also by the memory of my family, including my grandmother. She is now deceased, but remains essential to the frame of this story. Without my grandmother there is no black seasons.
Phoblographer: Has your new family influenced the project in any ways?
Julien: Of course. The palpitating hearts are those belonging to my daughters. Mine drumming, but more slowly, he wanders the sandstone paths, while that of my children gallop without thinking.