Inside this issue
Jean is a photographer from the south of France. Whether he takes photos of the vineyards behind his house, of the mushrooms he comes across while strolling in the woods, or of a sunrise on Aubrac, in Cevennes, in Ardèche or in some northern country, it is the soft morning light he likes best of all, in winter or autumn it is the light filtering through the mist, it is this ambience that he looks for. He forgets then he has photo gear on his back, it is only when his eyes are saturated with the landscape that he takes out his camera to capture the instant.
Jean est un auteur photographe du sud de la France. Qu’il photographie les vignes derrière sa maison, les champignons rencontrés dans les bois, un lever de soleil en Aubrac, Cévennes, Ardèche, ou encore dans quelque pays nordique, c’est la lumière douce du matin, celle aussi de l’hiver ou de l’automne lorsqu’elle filtre à travers la brume, c’est cette lumière qui l’appelle. Elle lui fait oublier l’appareil photo rangé dans le sac et quand ses yeux sont rassasiés du paysage, il le sort pour garder une mémoire de l’instant.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
We see a lot of images of trees and woodlands, but less often of large-scale forests enveloping the landscape of Europe. Perhaps this is inevitable given where we are. As the mists rise in Jean Discours’ photos, you can almost sense the earth breathe, the respiration of the trees made visible. We asked Jean to tell us more about the landscapes of L’Aubrac in south-central France, and his explorations with a camera.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, your education and early interests, and what that led you to do as a career?
I was born in the south of France, in the Gard department, close to the Cevennes mountains, and I grew up there. After studying mathematics and music for some time in Montpellier, I started teaching in elementary schools. My mother was a teacher in contemporary dance and this art accompanied me throughout my childhood. Yet it was classical music - I learned to play the transverse flute - which had an influence on my artistic career. My ear for music became more acute and after several trips to Ireland, I took to their way of passing on music and started to play Irish music. Along with my passion for music, and even before, I enjoyed roaming the country looking for minerals or mushrooms, both activities that led me to take an interest in geology and meteorology, scientific fields which are very useful for landscape photography.
It is about 10 years ago, in love with the country places I went to in summer to get some fresh air or to pick wild raspberries or mushrooms, that I had the desire to capture those precious moments, and my interest for photography developed then. I am essentially self-taught; I have acquired my knowledge in books on photography, from discussions with other photographers, during workshops on photography, and in exchanges with my friend Christian Astor who is a painter. Since 2014 photography has become the main activity for me. I live in the Rhône valley where it is often hot and sultry in summer, and as often as I can, up I go to the hills of the Massif Central with my photographic gear on my back.