Badi Assad for Rhythm Passport

Long time ago, when I dared to explore new sounds and music from other continents and countries, I was lucky enough to discover and buy 3 CDs of a music that was new to me and that moved me. One of them was Badi Assad's 1998 album Chameleon.

Badi Assad

On October 29th, I left Lewes after two fabulous days of an album recording (Catherine Watine's next album Atalye) to arrive just on time in London and head for London International Festival of Exploratory (LIFE) Music in Kings Place and experience a powerful musical blast given by Badi Assad on stage for London International Festival of Exploratory Music.

You can read Teto Paranov's review of the event for RhythmPassport and also check a few of the pics I took.




Catherine Watine - Atalye Album recording

Catherine Watine chose the UK to record the first of her 4 albums that she will sing in french.    View Gallery

Yellow Fish Mobile Studio

When I learned of the project, I only knew the recording would take place in an incredible place near Lewes, a manor house that got most of its rooms plugged in for the occasion, a mobile studio unit would be recording every sound of it from the parking lot where it was parked.

I took the train from London to Lewes, then took a taxi to the Manor House.

When I arrived, Ian Caple was inside an airstream trailer, hidden by his chair, hands on the buttons and levels, eyes on the monitors; yes, it was a mobile recording unit.

There I could already hear the sound of a piano coming from the speakers in the trailer, Catherine's hand were already running on the ivory of what I discovered later on was an old Pleyel in a large living room. 

I circled the manor while they were recording inside, bumped into Guillaume Carayol who was getting a few shots from the outside, before he went back in. I continued my visit and discovered a green, peaceful and colourful estate, walked into a rose garden, took a path between herbs, waved hello to the curious sheeps, returned to the manor to peak through the windows, and landed at the trailer again. 

When Ian left his chair and trailer to make a few more adjustments inside the manor, I followed him to discover instruments lying and standing at every corner, cables running through every door and opening. I peaked through a door and saw Catherine at the piano. Ian ran out and headed to the trailer. I was inside. I tip-toed to the kitchen to the sound of piano notes.

Gaelle Deblonde was in the kitchen, putting a few cups away, before going upstairs to her room. She would be recording the violin the following day. 

Arnaud Delannoy greeted me with a quick " 'ello" before passing the door. He drove to Lewes from Caen in France, his car filled with instruments but also with lovely home made and tasty bio food.


I had reached my quarters for the next 2 days. The kitchen was warm, you could hear the instruments playing live, it was filled with food both brought from France and bought in Lewes. It was a good place to stay while waiting for pics opportunities.

When the next break had come and the piano fell silent, I tried to make my way from the kitchen to the living room. As I struggled with the double door, Marc Denis opened it for me and I could hear his sunny accent from the south of France. Then Marc and Arnaud got ready to record some guitars on the piano that was just recorded. Martyn Barker was in a little room in the back of the living room, surrounded by percussion instruments. I snapped a few shots while everything was being checked, microphones and notes, and returned to the kitchen.

It was then the time I could finally greet Catherine and have a nice talk with her. We talked about common friends, her life, and of course Atalye, all this while it was being recorded next door.

The landlord's mother came by and greeted Catherine, who had been very pleased to hear the dusty Pleyel being played earlier on. Her french was excellent and soon they were talking about music, the manor, pieces of their lives, Atalye...

Then it was time for Catherine to return and record some more tracks with everyone. I took some more pictures around before a late lunch break. We all enjoyed the pizza and wine before returning to more recording.

I took more pics, had nice chats with Gaelle, we even took a few portraits, we prepared and cooked the two chickens and the potatoes in the oven for the diner.

It was a nice and welcomed break before everyone returned to the recording. A warm and friendly moment to chat and exchange.

A few pics with Catherine upstairs, in the mirror, behind the vintage wooden horse, in the stairs sipping on a warm cup of tea, and she had soon returned on the piano. A few more sound checks and takes, making the most of Martyn's only day of recording on the drums and percussions.

Ian Caple

The night had come, and turning those little lights and candelabra took the atmosphere of the already unusual recording setting to another level.

A few more notes on the piano before it was time for Ian and Martyn to return to their homes, as each of them are living only about 20 minutes by car from the Manor House.

There were a few pressure releasing moments that included instruments and melodies, which were stopped by Catherine's quiet time request. We enjoyed one last round of vodka someone had bought, told each other a few stories, let the pressure of the day out.

Marc, Guillaume and I decided to share the dorm-like room in the attic. We talked a while, curious of each other's paths and life before falling asleep. During the night, I got woken up by the rain dropping rhythmically outside, hoping it would look better during the day to take a few shots of Catherine outside.

Martyn Barker

The morning started with laughs, and also with a naked bum of Marc who wakes up and starts full gear before coffee. We all met downstairs for breakfast, bread, butter, coffee awaiting us in the kitchen. The landlord had dropped everything on the table, which spared one of us to do the planned trip to Lewes to get the coffee. A full plate of eggs, bacon and sausages for everyone and soon sounds of strings could be heard, adjustments before the recordings, planning of the day... Martyn came to collect his gear and soon the room that had been dedicated to the drum would be turned into something else. I took the opportunity to shoot a few portraits with him, in the room he had spent the previous day in, with only one little drum in the foreground and the pleasure of having his job done and slept a good night sleep.

Despite the rain, Guillaume and I followed Catherine out for some pics. She looks mysterious and solemn on a background of leaves and trees. She wandered around the manor house, took some of the same paths I had taken the previous day. She touched a lot of trees and leaves, walked to where the sheeps were. The rain never stopped, it even got heavier. Catherine still had a great amount of work to do for the recording of Atalye and I started to worry about my gear as well.

Catherine Watine

Catherine Watine

Catherine Watine

Catherine Watine

We returned in the warmth of the Manor where I held the microphone for Guillaume's interview of Catherine. 

I started to gather my gear. I would have to leave soon for London if I wanted to arrive on time for Badi Assad's concert.

Ian Caple

I prepared a little cheese sauce for the pasta, with some of the cheddar cheese that was in the fridge. I started eating before the others, as they were still recording. I was soon joined by hungry Arnaud, and then everyone. I wanted to do a quick portrait of Ian inside the recording trailer, this time with him facing me. I left my plate with my second serving on the table and I seized the moment when Ian didm't seem to be too much involved in setting anything up. We went to the trailer and I got my shot. 

On the way out, Arnaud told me that he was driving to Lewes and that was a good early opportunity to get to the train station. I said goodbye as quick as I could to everyone, not really wanting to end that moment like this, grabbed my gear that I had packed and jumped onto the passenger's seat.

I left so quickly.

Maybe my plate is still on the table waiting for me to return....

View Gallery

WOMAD 2014

From July 24th to the 27th, thanks to Rhythm Passport, I had access to the Festival in Charlton Park in Malmesbury, UK.

It was a great time working with the team and taking so many pics in such a short and dense period.

It was a nice feeling to be in the pit with the other photographers, doing this little dance to allow everyone to be able a good shot. I must admit that I really feel more things happening inside me when I get a few moments face to face with the artists.  

I sometimes get frustrated when I can't get to place the artist where the best spot in the light is or far away from the so common white background of the artist's village tents.

In the end, you have to get the best with what little time you sometimes have, your surroundings, and availability of the artist when you meet them.

The challenge makes it fun!! 

You can have a peak there...

Roberto Fonseca

Chloe Charles

Alice Russel

Nuru Kane

Nitin Sawhney

Fatoumata Diawara

Anna Cinzia Villani

Septeto Santiaguero

Oliver Mutukudzi

Imed Alibi

Bassekou Kouyate

Clinton Fearon

Drew Gonsalves - Kobo Town

Samarpanam for Rhythm Passport


Thanks to Rhythm Passport, I witnessed the sacred atmosphere of a concert of Samarpanam.

It took place in the Southbank Center during Milapfest

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi took me on a captivating trip to India.

You can view more pics of the concert at the link below.

Rhythm Passport - Samarpanam

Melissa Unger for VINGT Paris Magazine

Melissa Unger

I was happy to be able to collaborate with VINGT Paris Magazine in 2012.

The magazine is written in english and is devoted to the 20 arrondissements of Paris. They are "purveyors of the city’s secrets, advocates of apéros, and about opening doors to the true places and real people that illuminate the City of Light."

I will be shooting pics for the in-depth interview they feature in this parisian magazine.

We enter Melissa Unger's apartment with writer Susie Kahlich. 

You can find it at the link below:

Vingt Paris Magazine - Melissa Unger

New contribution with VINGT Paris Magazine - FR !!

I am happy to announce that I will be collaborating with VINGT Paris Magazine soon.

The magazine is written in english and is devoted to the 20 arrondissements of Paris. They are "purveyors of the city’s secrets, advocates of apéros, and about opening doors to the true places and real people that illuminate the City of Light."

I will be shooting pics for the in-depth interview they feature in this parisian magazine.

Vingt Paris Magazine - Contributors

Exhibition - West Coast Symphonika

It's a first!

The exhibition is called West Coast Symphonika, it is starting July 1st and will close on the 20th.

Each photo represents a state of mind captured during several journeys on the West Coast of America, particularly in San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle, between 2007 and 2008.

Like the movements of a symphony, each moment has a feeling and a rhythm attached to it. And yet they are linked to each other, to create this well known melting pot.

There have been moments of observation (bird view for the crowded mall area), passing ones (the joggers and their dog), hunted for (in the sense that you wait for the right moment or the better picture), moments of discovery (of material, forms or pieces of everyday life), moments of surprise (lunch of the immigrant workers), moments filled with poetry (this simple kite flying above the building line), moments of mystery (this woman decisively crossing this white lines)... and those lines, mix of old and new...

The photos were taken on the West Coast, each one is unique and yet simple and full of contrast. They have been worked with a very deep contrast, and the result is printed on aluminium. Each photo has been specially printed for the exhibition.

The exhibition can be seen at Le Cabotin in Boulogne-Billancourt. M° Porte de St Cloud.

Luna, the manager will welcome you with a glass of her very favorite punch for the opening day. I'm looking forward to see you there!!