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Capturing the skippers’ soul

A photographer fascinated by offshore racers, Maud Bernos has created a stunning series of large black and white portraits taken on their return from the last Vendée Globe.

Copyright : Christophe Favreau
Copyright : Christophe Favreau

"Through a series of close-up black and white portraits, I’m deliberately steering myself away from the contextualised colour images of these men and women in action so as to emphasise their faces and the look in their eyes in particular. Beyond the technical, physical and logistical performances, beyond the competition even, it’s their psychological strength which captivates me"... from 6 to 15 December 2013, within the context of the VIP lounge, Hall 1 at the Paris Boat Show, photographer Maud Bernos was exhibiting the portraits of the competitors just after their arrival in the last Vendée Globe. Through the strength and the depth of their regard these simple, decoration-free shots are testimonies of the intensity and energy pervading these skippers after a solo, three-month round the world without assistance and without stopovers. The quality of the light, the density of the contrasts, the sailors’ ‘pose’ as they’re plunged into the calmness of a photo session, offer a rare moment of intimacy with those that Maud Bernos describes as modern-day heroes. Ultimately, the young photographer is keen to keep going and take inspiration from other races to extend her series of portraits. She even envisages developing an exhibition incorporating scenography, which would guide the visitor through a history…


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