I caught up with photographer Antoine Grenez to talk about life behind the camera’s lens.
When did you discover and start to explore your passion for photography?
I discovered photography when I first built a skyblog as a teenager – I was writing text and posting pictures.
I was trying to be poetic and create nice images – pretending to have profound life, like every 13-year-old teenager.
Then, at 18, I chose to study photography at ERG – I started to understand concepts and I started digging into ideas linked with photography for my work at art school.
Now, it’s a big part of my life.
You’ve talked about how your photography is exploring narrative fiction – what is it about that perspective that really appeals to you?
It’s about creating some mental imagery for the spectator.
The importance of narrative is to bring some imagination into the process – when you present two images on a wall, the interesting bit is the third element – what is created inside the mind of the viewer.
This third image or projection is always linked to a personal narrative – every projection is unique in that way.
I like to play with illusions – not knowing what was photographed and bringing some surrealistic element to make people understand the poetry inside every object. It’s just about having a different perception.
What does being part of the Chanoirs collective mean to you?
It means being part of a family! It means being one element of an artistic, organic network of truly amazing people.
Everyone that’s part of Chanoirs is so different, so unique in their way of living in this world. With Chanoirs, we can go from one project to another and truly live our our dreams.
Being together allows us to dream bigger – both individually and collectively. Loads of new things are coming from Chanoirs in the months ahead – you can be sure of it!
An immersion in nightlife and clubbing seems to be a key theme in your work – from your perspective, what makes a memorable night out?
Anything can happen – that’s the beauty of a memorable night out.
Being surrounded by the people from our scene is a guarantee that you’ll never get bored. Of course, you also need to have great music in a great space – the more that everyone is on the dance-floor, the better the night is.
The most memorable nights are always linked with intense emotions – up and down like a rollercoaster – feeling alive, exploring your senses, and breaking the social boundaries of everyday reality.
Having a good reason to party is also a plus. When you’ve completed a big event or project and done something that you’re proud of, then the party that follows is always spiced up.
Fashion has always drawn heavily from club culture – do you feel that your photography can help to document the cultural significance of a city’s nightlife?
I like to imagine myself as a nightlife anthropologist – every picture is a testament of a time and place and I see my photos as an archive of our generation.
The only way to understand the cultural significance of nightlife is to live it – it’s impossible to understand the importance of nightlife if you’re looking at it from the outside.
Seeing old party pictures transports my entire body back into that specific moment – letting me feel the same intensity as when the pictures were taken. But nothing can replace the intensity of living in that moment – it’s a symphonic experience of sound, body language, altered states of consciousness, trance, and emotions. That’s something you’ll never find in a single photo.
I hope that my photos are giving to nightlife as much as nightlife has given me!
What do you hope that people feel when experiencing your photos?
I hope that they understand the real purpose of nightlife – it’s about reconnecting with yourself and others.
I hope that people can understand our perspectives and our desires for a conscious nightlife – filled with art and surrealism. Nightlife is about style, it’s about sensuality, it’s about being unique in your own way.
I also want people to feel that they missed something – that they wish that they’d been there to experience that moment.
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