Saint-Nazaire is a French town that was destroyed during the second World War. This sad time left behind remains of buildings, such as the great German submarine base. This huge concrete building is crossed every day by the inhabitants and is an integral part of the city.
It is a place, which is simply crossed, where we remember, where children play, where one is home. It is a place and cultural memory where the light is constantly changing and very suitable for street photography.
I fell in love with this place steeped in history and where the light is fantastic, a very contrasted environment, which can be sometimes very glaucous or very bright. The place is open to the city and because of this fact it is convenient for the street photography. The esthetic aspect is fascinating, a universe made of concrete and strict and clear-cut lines, which offer a geometry where the human being and the lens agree perfectly.
One peculiarity of the submarine base is its very low luminosity or and its marked contrasts, it requires one to have a device with a large dynamic range and a good management of the digital noise. My fujifilm XT10 is particularly adapted to this situation, its big dynamic range and now its legendary reliability regarding management of the noise make a perfect ally.
I use mainly two brands, Fujifilm and Olympus with prime lens of 50 mm and 35 mm with a great aperture, these focal length fit themselves very well to the street photography, they are bright and allow me to photograph in dark environments without raising the ISO too much. In post-treatment I use Lightroom and Niksoftware for the passage in black and white. More rarely I use DXO for its magnificent management of the noise and its correction of perspective.
This series of photos spreads out over three years, I passed and inspected the scene to find the good light, the good moment there, it is the advantage of photographing this city. I wanted to give a little poetry to this place as a loan of a painful history and characterized by an austere aspect. Testimony of my time and people who live there. I am a street photographer and there are places where I go, I shall doubtless return there and it will be still different, it is undoubtedly what fascinates me, this inexhaustible movement of the lights and people.
The street, an inexhaustible source of inspiration, our theater passionate photographers.
In this photo, we can see all the area of this enormous concrete mass which soaks the city and his inhabitants who knew how to tame him and integrate him into their everyday life in spite of the austere and glaucous face. I wanted to find a point of view allowing to see all the area of the submarine base, I needed it for a long time before finding this one. I believe that on this occasion I used a Fuji X-Pro 1 and a wide angle lens.
On the roof of the old German Submarine Base, two ages compete, this mass of concrete and the city.
It could be you who goes one evening after work into the shadow and the solitude …
On this photo I had to make a choice because of the low luminosity, I chose great aperture and ISO as low as possible, with the aim of obtaining a clear background while knowing that I would not congeal perfectly this man.
I composed here my scene, made my settings, centred, waited and triggered.
I am always fascinated by the beauty of the light when it is as here highlighted. At the rare moments of the day and of the year it penetrates into places and comes out from hiding to paint these austere walls.
For some a stopping-off place, for others a makeshift shelter…
A place where people visit and the children play, a place which reminds us of pasts…
Life is a corridor where we flee from time, which is passing towards expected better days…
These looks that we catch are not very far away…
War leaves tracks that cross time and our hearts …
Are as images which shape our life
Sometimes I wonder, what does he think? Is he unhappy? Who is that man? Where is he from?
These questions will always remain unanswered and will trigger our imagination. This is also to be a street photographer, just watching and not disturbing
You the light, under your fires, you come to lick our lives and to fill our eyes with enjoyment, you remind to us how much everything is short-lived, that it is necessary to seize the moment.
I went there, I still go there and I would doubtless return to it, maybe.
It is here that everything began, that the light seized me and opened my heart on another earth, thanks to her my life is felt in a world of images and dreams.
For more information about the submarine you can explore these links: