“Beautiful and funny”
, such is Boris Allin, aka Boby’s definition of a good picture. This French photographer divides his time among photo reports for Libération (a French newspapers), portraits, and concert pictures. Regularly covering demonstrations, he tries to document what happens on the side-line with aestheticism. An exercise he has learnt to master since the first Parisian demonstrations of gilets jaunes, and before, during the Nuit Debout movement. A humorous detail, a scene as chaotic as beautiful… Boby’s images always hold hidden depths – the picture he took at the Arc of Triumph, for example. “It was Saturday, 1st of December, late afternoon. I took the spiral staircase of the Arc of Triumph, and glimpsed at a one-eyed statue, he remembers. I love this image because it is both violent and tender. As of today, several demonstrators have lost their eyes, because of flash-balls. Retrospectively, I would comment: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” An image representative of his conception of demonstration photography. The exercise is, to him, harder when it comes to soporific and locked gatherings.
To criticise powerful people
“The problem with politics? Communicators want to control everything. A rather funny image, mocking a candidate, for instance, is a way to bypass the norms. During the last French presidential campaign, in 2017, I took a photo of François Fillon, whose face was darkened by two shadows, looking like prison bars.”
According to the photographer, capturing images that criticise powerful people, and push the viewers to question the world is necessary. “I don’t want to sign plain and informative pictures. All in all, it is quite simple to capture the beauty of a car on fire. At Libération, an image must always be irreverent, unique and somewhat committed”, he tells us. By seeking originality and strangeness, Boby turns photography into a militant act.