Interview with 2016 International Series winner Sylvain Biard
You have been awarded the first prize of the Brussels Street Photography Festival International Series Contest. Tell us how does it feel and what does it mean to you to have won such an award?
I was far from expecting that! Being a finalist with those seven series was already amazing. Some of those photographers made my interest for street photography when I discovered it and I felt very lucky when I received the email.
You have decided to participate in this newly Street Photography competition regardless that it was its very first edition with no precedents. What motivated you to participate in it and what’s your take on Street Photography festivals and competitions in general?
Generally photography competitions are a big mess like photography online in general. A lot of it is business oriented: A paying contest every month, no theme and a lot of money for them to make without any interest for what photography is. Everybody is a photographer now and a lot of us are ready to pay for being “virtually recognized”. Still, some of the street photography competitions are smaller, specific and more interested by photography than business plans: BSPF is a real festival taking place in Europe with some interesting photographers entries, inspiring judges and a team of photographers with a deep interest for SP.
Your series can tell us many things about human beings and their relationship with their surroundings. The rather abstract environments in which your subjects are placed are quite mysterious and naturally raise questions to the viewer. What has been your motivation to start and pursue a series such as this? Tell us more about it.
I had the idea of this series about 5 years ago. At that time I was shooting a lot at the junction of Paris and the suburbs and some of the images oriented me to this feeling of graphical artifice and isolation. I like minimalism and distance, being more an observer than a participant and I feel in accordance with myself in that kind of photographic approach. At that time I didn’t have enough images to even start a project and put it aside. It went back when I edited some of my series for our collective website and realized I had something to start again in this direction.
Your series has been recognized by different competitions and festivals. These things don’t come easy and they clearly state one after the other the quality of your work as a photographer. What are the key points that made you who you are today photographically speaking and what would be an advice for novice photographers?
I still feel like a novice photographer myself with a lot to discover too! Looking for inspiration and being curious is a good start for photography.
You have won a prestigious award that has been carefully selected by a well established team of photographers, the jury of the competitions. What are your next goals in photography? Are you planning to exploit this?
My only goal is to keep making images and organize photographic projects. For now I’ve take a step back preparing my next trip to Japan. I’m leaving next week in the countryside for 2 months in a camper van where I hope to shoot mostly landscapes and portraits.