-The difficulty of being a photographer
It seems so simple to press a trigger or to master the technique of a brand-new device, but what about creating an image, new and moving?
Each piano key plays a fair note. The re, mi, fa are the same whether they are played by a child or a virtuoso. The difficulty begins when it comes by chaining notes, forming a harmony, creating a rhythm. There are many performers who, through hard work, can finally play a partition. But only a very few composers, because this is the most complex exercise, compose a melody, give life to musical phrases, imagine silences, or write a poetry in which each sound harmonize with the other. When this work is accomplished, each creation must incorporate the construction of a comprehensive work.
This is exactly what an artist must do when he chooses photography as an expression, tirelessly composing a personal work while continuously varying subjects, formats, and colors, and yet always with the same instrument.
Gregory Herpe, his camera in his hand, an eye through the viewfinder, composes while scrutinizing the spectacle of life that is before him. Each photograph is beautiful individually, then when we discover a series, it is a world that surrenders to us. To traverse his work is to plunge into a universe whose limits are infinite.
Out of curiosity in the universe of Gregory Herpe, I wanted to know his photographs of Barcelona, this city that Miró made me discover during my adolescence, at a time when only the Catalan was spoken in the Gothic quarter where my grandfather had the boldness to set up an immense gallery for his Spanish artist friends, Miró, Tàpies, Chillida, Palazuelo, Saura, Valdes and others …
Without any nostalgia, I hoped to live this tumult of images where the epochs collide, finding the contrast between the Gothic of Santa Maria del Mar and the immense cranes of the neighboring port.
But with Grégory Herpe no banal cliché, no tourist caricature, I had the impression to recover a friend, when life had separated us and nonetheless, before these photos, I realized that we had never left.
Infinitely more than to show or to describe, the photographs of Grégory Herpe provoke encounters.
Yoyo Maeght, January 2017, curator of the Pompidou Center & Royal Academy of London; editor, gallery owner.
-It is a great pleasure and honour for me to write a few words about this extraordinary book of Grégory Herpe. Thanks to our common friend Elena Lindjo I had an opportunity to meet him in Monaco, and to work with him. It has been a pleasant experience. He is a very precise artist who knows exactly what he wants, and creates his vision through his camera. I have been impressed by his ease in directing his models and sending both simple and understandable message.
Grégory truly knows how to capture the imagination though his pictures. They appeal to my sense of harmony and they challenge me in a very pleasant way. They make me travel beyond what I see. His images are beautiful to look at, and they tell a story of their own.
I also like the way he uses architecture and lines. It gives a feeling of solidity to the imagery which reflects the true essence of the country he photographs. It is a tribute to Catalonia, a region with a great geographical and historical impact on Europe and the Mediterranean area.
Grégory has his own way to capture simple elements and make them imposing, with a discreet sense of humour. I am delighted by his photos. He can photograph situations which seem hopeless and introduce hope in his work. He is also very aware of the context in which his subjects live. He cares to preserve their dignity and to show their humanity.
I am awaiting your next book with anticipation !
H.R.H. Prince Michael of Yougoslavia
-Gregory Herpe is a humanist and sensitive photographer. His works are the witnesses of our time.
He does not criticize our society, he observes it. His pictures leave no one indifferent, we find ourselves before the mirror of truth. The one that most of us do not want or cannot see. That’s why Gregory Herpe touches us. He wakes us up and takes us out of our comfort zone without attacking us, but with gentleness and strength.
Sylvia Gobbel, International Top Model & muse of Helmut Newton
-Gregory’s photos are a rare thing. Contrast candy for the eyes yet deeper than the darkest soul.
Paul Godfrey, leader of the Morcheeba group
-Grégory Herpe’s images convey a disturbing feeling of perturbation and lead the direction of my gaze, often by gazing right back at me. Even the cars and buses have eyes. The very precise depth of field, the graphic sharpness, the precision in composition makes the photos almost painfully intense. I have to take a rest, a coffee and a glass of water. And yet, they are not showing me anything bad, they seem to be captured before – or after – something bad happened. Some carry a deep solemnity, the face of the Crist in a church in Barcelona, the walls in Belfast with their messages of conflict and loss, the demonstrations in Paris after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Still, I feel the warmth and the humor behind many images, there is still hope. Or maybe this is just the way it is, some things will never change.
Ylva-Maria Thompson, artist & TV presenter (Swedish TV)
-Director of perspective in black and white! … without condescension, but with a lot of depth literally and figuratively. The precision of the framing and the force of the subject call for exchange. The contrast is so luminous that it restores the image to its color. In the photographs of Gregory Herpe, I hear the laughter, I see the movement and I feel the anger. The emotion is captured, the eyes captivated.
Olivier Dassault, Deputy for the Oise, France
-Gregory’s works encompasses life in all its facets.
His unique approach addresses the dichotomies felt in our daily lives. Gregory’s references span challenging circumstance of creatures to the effect of politics on our lives. He discovers and presents universal similarities and ironies that the viewer can empathize with.
Gregory’s theme is love, love with all its complications, complexities, and absurdities.
His vast, dramatic sketches illuminate and challenge our perception of the role we play daily on the earth and the significance that we apply to it. Illustrated in a silence and reserve he holds our attention and through his sharing we become deeply committed to this theme together.
He continually contrasts for us, what is and the perception what we believe to be. His skies serve as silent witnesses, powerful prosecutors of the scenes which are taking place below on the earth. We are confronted with loneliness, with silence that stand in contrast to the actual.
Gregory’s artistic dialogue strike a balance that is never overpowering or overwhelming. It distances the viewer from the evil with reassuring the viewer through his belief as love as a bridge to hope. The fantastic natural appearances, which reappear constantly, comfort the viewer despite the heavenly accusation. The diminutive representation of the human appears as a victim but in reality, represents a strength that will succeed and overcome adversity.
Gregory probes this critical time we are faced with today in his work. It can be humorous sometimes cynical but always life reaffirming.
Petra Lossen, Director of Petra Lossen Fine Art Gallery (Zurich)
-A picture is worth a thousand words, it’s true because putting a strong moment into words is very hard, especially when those moments come about, after looking to other people in times of complete loss and despair. The images of the Cambodian children radiate joy which is very catching. It is rare to come across photographs of such power. Gregory Herpe could capture on the one hand the stark beauty of such, the great animals, as well as the interaction between the children with his camera lens. Great work!
Isabella Russ, Managing Editor of Terra Mater & Red Bull Media House (Austria)
-They say a picture is worth a thousand words, a Gregory Herpe photo is worth a thousand pictures!
Wayne Anthony, Director & Editor-in-Chief, London Street Art & Design Magazine (London)
-From my past with Marie-Claire Magazine I have kept many friend photographers, who sometimes come to report about the Happy Chandara school that I founded in Phnom Penh. High quality, colorful images to share the optimism of this cause, which pulls the little Cambodians away from the shantytowns to teach them in a school with turquoise walls.
So, when Gregory Herpe contacted me to offer me his talent in black and white, I was surprised. Humanitarianism, unlike the press, does not consist in publishing aesthetics; it is necessary that the images touch the heart so that the gifts affluent.
Then, discovering Gregory’s work, I was convinced. The strength of its contrasts struck me as its determination to give evidence of the benefits of girls’ education. And as I was right to trust him … Using black and white to describe childhood might seem a mistake, except at Happy Chandara where laughter echoes intimate dramas and deprivations. The drama of its blacks shows in each picture the energy of the girls, who are going to reach for the moon and a brighter future.
The threat of its stormy skies bends to the almost audible joy that unite these images, where chiaroscuro is in the image of life, violent but resilient. What Gregory has captured resembles to the man I found in him: a mixture of extreme sensitivity and lapidary strength. A man as contrasted as his black and white, whose gray infinity never stops to tell the story. Its worst as its best.
Tina Kieffer, Founding President of the NGO “Toutes à l’école” and former journalist
-Both my Wife “Lisa” and I had the true pleasure of meeting Gregory while he was in Phnom Penh Cambodia working on his photographic project. We truly had a very inspirational experience while chatting with Gregory and also travelling around our City Phnom Penh, talked about all things creative and we could see that Gregory is a person of great passion and substance, he is not just taking photos for the sake of taking a photo but he is very focused on his subject matter and visually translating a story of his subject matter through his vision of what he wants the world to see which is a truly unique experience he has invited and also shared with the audience who have the opportunity to see the great photography of Gregory Herpe who I feel has a true heart and passion to share the lives of those he photographs with his unique vision and passion he wants to share their stories to the world. Thank you Gregory from both Lisa Mam & I Peap for inviting us into your world and also being able to share our time with you, we are very happy to be your friend and may you always stay blessed with sharing your creative vision through the camera lenses for the entire world to see.
Peap Tarr, Street Artist in Cambodia & New-Zeland