Home Magazine A conversation with Didier Jordan, who discovered photography at the age of 17 during a trip to Portugal and turned it into his profession

Didier Jordan likes to treat nature, as a raw surface. Whether inside a city, on an archaeological site, in front of cars, or facing a lake, Didier Jordan cuts space into squares or rectangles to create singular, autonomous universes which almost seem self-sufficient

We had the pleasure to interview Didier Jordan. He is a photographer based in Switzerland. About his work the artist stated: "I have often thought that a photograph is rich in what it does not show, in the ability of what is off-screen to mobilize the viewer's imagination. If in a photograph lies a question, an absence, a tension between emptiness and fullness, the possibility of a dialogue then develops between the photographer and the viewer. A pontoon, a body of water, a sky: a few elements to express the beauty of a place and simplifying it to make the image even more readable and graphic, sometimes going as far as nearing full abstraction. The absence of characters, swimmers, or boats, creates a space where the void dominates and where nothing other than what we would like to imagine happens. Between what is shown and what is not, a horizon of possibilities opens."   

Kooness: Tell us about your latest series

Didier Jordan: "Entre deux eaux" is a series of black and white diptychs on the theme of water and sand. It is also a reflection on relationships and the passage of time. The diptychs are composed of two photographs of the beach, which, when brought together, create a third image. There are evocations of the body, geography, or philosophy in the form that emerges, which fuels the imagination of the observer. For my part, I marvel at the fact that here we seem to be re-enacting the miracle of life when two become three.

Didier Jordan, Entre deux Eaux 28, 2023. Courtesy of Artsright Gallery.

K: Is there anything in particular that inspires you?

DJ: I'm inspired by both urban and natural subjects. My photographic career has often shifted between the two. I'm interested in creating images that surprise me, speak to me, and emanate something strong. The subject is of secondary importance.

K: What role does nature have in your photographs? 

DJ: Nature is, of course, an endless source of inspiration, but it interests me above all as a universe of forms that can in turn evoke sensations and emotions. The subject itself is for me mainly a medium of expression.

K: Tell me about your story and how your artistic expression changed through the years

DJ: I started photography when I was 17 and became a freelance photographer when I was 30. In between, I studied psychology. Photography has always been a reference point in my life, professionally, artistically and psychologically. It allows me to express my relationship with the world and with myself. In terms of subjects and aspirations, I'd say that I've slowly moved away from photography that's very much rooted in the concrete and the everyday towards a more pictorial and abstract form

Didier Jordan, Horizon Lac, 2020. Courtesy of Artsright Gallery.

K: Your artworks are uniquely Monochrome; Black & White, why so?

DJ: They can be in colour or black and white, both interest me and I use one another according to my aspirations.

K: How does your background influence your art?

DJ: I don't come from a family of artists; there were none in my immediate family. Nor was I immersed in an artistic world because I didn't go to school and I'm mainly self-taught. I made my way thanks to a few decisive encounters, people who opened doors for me and enabled me to move forward.

K: What is your ideal working environment - the best time and place to take pictures?

DJ: At present, my life as a photographer is divided into three parts: a part-time job for the City of Geneva's construction department, where I photograph architecture, building sites and town planning. My freelance assignments range from architecture to portraits and website illustrations. The artistic part, for which I set aside specific periods of several weeks during which I immerse myself completely in a subject. For me, that's when the creative conditions are at their best.

K: How was art important to you and your surroundings while growing up?

DJ: When I think back, there aren't many landmarks, just a few paintings on the walls of the dining room that I still remember very well. I think I was a dreamy child for whom looking was important. We didn't go to many museums; my parents didn't take us there at all, or very rarely.

Didier Jordan, Absence 2, 1997. Courtesy of Artsright Gallery.

K: Describe the artwork “Absences 2”

DJ: This photograph from the Absences series takes us back to Vietnam in 1997, to a small village near Hué. When I arrived in this country, I was surprised to see that people slept in public spaces in a completely natural way. In the middle of the afternoon, many people take a siesta and you can see people sleeping on a bench, against a wall or in a meadow. For me, it was wonderful to see these bodies and faces offered up to my gaze. Photographing someone asleep is a very intimate thing, as if you were evoking other images, those that you can't see, those that are behind closed eyes.

Cover Image: Cartographies, Didier Jordan. Courtesy of Artsright Gallery.

Written by Kooness

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