Parkour and photography are closely linked. I started moving with my camera, and I started taking pictures with the parkour. At first, it was a way to keep memories, experiences. Then with time, hindsight, research and the work of other photographers, I realized all that a simple image could express. And this is what made me want to deepen this practice, to be able through photos, to transmit much more than the moment.
In the same way as parkour, photography taught me to see differently. To understand, you have to go back a little to 2012. I started to move alone, watching videos, and trying to copy others. Then I got a camera for my birthday and I started filming myself to compare. As I went along, I met different people who came to move with me, and there, having a camera, I thought, why not take pictures? So I started following my friends, taking photos, and today I am a full-time sports photographer and filmmaker.
Back in the summer of 2016, I offered my buddies a few days to really take pictures. The idea was to spend these days training, visiting different parts of the city, enjoying ourselves, and summarizing within these photos, our parkour.
What is a parkour photo? I’d like to think that it is a mixture of styles, which are very different, but very complimentary.
The first style is sports photography. We are entering a fast world, all gestures are calculated, anticipated, and settled. Once launched, the athlete adapts to his environment.
It is here that we arrive in an approach of the animal photo since the athlete becomes animal. He seeks neither to be beautiful, nor our subject, but to be effective, to execute his movement. The photographic aesthetic that emerges is the result of the success of his movement.
The whole joins another photographic genre: architectural. The traceur is not the only subject, the obstacles he plays with are just as important as him, and they too, become an essential part of the photo.
However, I usually have a very “reportage” approach to photographing parkour: I remain silent, respect when they decide to make a jump, and whether they decide to repeat it or not. As a traceur myself, I know how important physical and mental preparation is, so I really try to play a minimal role within their present moment.
For many, parkour boils down to going from point A to point B. Personally, I think we can push the definition further by saying that parkour is going from where we are to the goal we set ourselves, whatever it may be.
Photos © Julien Blanc.
Follow Julien Blanc on Instagram and see more of his work on his website.
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