Michel Trehet by Carole Schmitz

Michel TrIt isthe : An obsessive relationship with the image

Born in Le Have, Michel Trecthe is a painter, art director and photographer. After graduating from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Graphics and Advertising) in 1968, he worked as an art director in advertising before joining the Opera/BDDP agency a few years later. At the same time, from Le Havre to Paris, via New York, Tokyo and Geneva, he had exhibitions as a painter. In 1993 he started to stand on his own two feet and became creative for several big brands.
In 2009 he was captured by photography. This led to a series dedicated to Deauville and Trouville. Then another: “Flash on the A13”, photos taken with a mobile phone on the way. In 2014, on the occasion of the Deauville Photography Festival, he produced a series in black and white in which he integrated a Barbie Collector dressed by the greatest fashion designers (Christian Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, Louboutin, etc…). The exhibition travels from Shanghai to Paris, via St-Tropez and Honfleur.
Since 2015, he has been developing “Archisable” by Tina Dassault, a photographic project inviting internationally renowned architects to confront the sand on the beach. In this way he represents the momentary immemorial through the image.
His universe is pure and graphic around a sober language. His creations speak about the moment of life with a very personal appearance.
Photography for him is a means of expression that conveys emotion, imagination, memories. It’s a beautiful way to tell stories. The role of the photographer is to show things at their best, without artifice, in black and white.

Website: micheltrehet.com
Instagram: micheltrehet

Your first photographic trigger?
Michel TrIt isthe : When I was 14 years old, I took a picture of Eric Tabarly at Pen Duick in Le Havre. I was standing right next to him. I lost this print today, but I remember Tabarly’s pose, which gave the impression of dancing on the deck of the sailboat. I had, without realizing it, captured an expressive and unusual attitude.

The man of images who inspires you?
Michel TrIt isthe : Wim Wenders, photographer. Closest to my writing today. I like his composed, graphic and efficient look. This can be seen in Paris, Texas.

Which image would you have liked to have made?
Michel TrIt isthe : I would have loved to have been in New York during the 1997 blackout, lit by motorists’ headlights. But I didn’t become a professional photographer until 2010, after studying Fine Arts and working as an art director at an advertising agency.

Which touched you the most?
Michel TrIt isthe : A photo of Steve McCurry, the Afghan girl.

And the one that made you angry?
Michel TrIt isthe : Photographer Nick Ut’s napalm-covered girl during the Vietnam War is particularly shocking and shows the brutality of war.
What makes me angry is that no lessons are learned from history.

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Michel TrIt isthe : “Les Roches Noires à Trouville” Because it goes beyond a simple photo. It’s a painting. It is unique and more attainable today. Many have copied it, but have not understood it.

What would be the work you would like to acquire with no budget cap?
Michel TrIt isthe : I am fascinated by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.
I agree it’s pretty banal, but they look familiar to me, just like the Beatles or David Bowie. I like their career, I like their writing, I feel close to them and so I would choose Warhol’s self-portrait.

What do you think is the necessary quality to be a good photographer?
Michel TrIt isthe : Obsession without compromise.

The secret to the perfect image, if it exists?
Michel TrIt isthe : Emotion. Often the correspondence of several elements that make up it. The photo does not need a caption, we do not sell the photo. But who is it perfect for?

The person you want to photograph?
Michel TrIt isthe : No. I don’t want to photograph a person who is going to tell me: remove my wrinkles, correct my mouth, I have a bad haircut, …

An indispensable photo book?
Michel TrIt isthe : I have a library that is rich in talent. It lives and moves. I look at it, I move it, I open it, I enrich myself, I know it, it is active, it is a pleasure. All books are indispensable. My entire library is indispensable. From Lindberg to Issermann, from Weiss to Sarah Moon, from Rodtchenko to Wim Wenders, from Olaf to Irvin Penn, … They all play a role as a reference.

The camera of your childhood?
Michel TrIt isthe : the Brownie Flash Kodak, the instamatic 124 Kodak, Polaroid, …

The one you use today?
Michel TrIt isthe : The Iphone, the Nikon D850, the Nikon D4S, it really doesn’t matter. I feel more of a creative than a photographer. My first exhibition was made with the first mobile phone with a built-in camera in 2010. Photos I took daily on the road between Deauville and Paris.

Your favorite drug?
Michel TrIt isthe : Freeze frame: introspection and loneliness: I hate walking around with a camera.

What is the best way for you to disconnect?
Michel TrIt isthe : The game of Solitaire on my laptop, not always disconnected! An hour on the beach whatever the weather.

What is your relationship with images?
Michel TrIt isthe : It’s obsessive. I only live in images. I am only fascinated by images. I watch movies without sound, to be able to read the images better.

Your greatest quality?
Michel TrIt isthe : Wisdom, patience, the pursuit of perfection, that can sometimes be the lack of my qualities.

Your latest folly?
Michel TrIt isthe : I have no foolishness. My education at the Beaux Arts gave me a taste for righteousness, alignment. Everything is thought out and nothing is free. This lack of madness can often cause a real frustration which I will try to rectify.

An image illustrating a new banknote?
Michel TrIt isthe : Maybe a Basquiat. Brings art, imagination, tolerance, talent but at the same time no speculation… So, completely white the banknote in braille.

The work you would rather not have done?
Michel Trehet: seller of electric plastic Eiffel Towers made in China.

Your biggest professional extravagance?
Michel TrIt isthe : It may be to have made an exhibition in 2 months with 60 photos of Barbie collector for her 60 years. The press loved it.

The city, country or culture you dream of discovering?
Michel TrIt isthe : Cuba. I would like to know how I would look at this setting that has been photographed but also so downplayed. We have the impression that we always see the same photos. Except in the eyes of Agnès Varda.

The place you can never get enough of?
Michel TrIt isthe : The beach. Since childhood I have been lucky enough to live by the sea and I still enjoy it.

Your biggest regret?
Michel TrIt isthe : My modesty and not believing in myself.

As for social networks, do you like Instagram, Tik Tok or Snapchat more and why?
Michel TrIt isthe : I’m more Insta, a way of presenting my work, but I have a lot of distance from the networks. Nowadays anyone can take pictures and put them into circulation with the technological means. Many think that they are “professional photographers” without any problem with the reproduction rights of images.

Color or B/W?
Michel TrIt isthe : Both. Some images live well in color when it’s part of the story. B&W unifies the images and avoids unfortunate color combinations.

Daylight or artificial light?
Michel TrIt isthe : I like the coincidences of daylight.

The most photogenic city in your opinion?
Michel TrIt isthe : Brazil. A true open-air museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you choose to take a selfie with him?
Michel TrIt isthe : No. Neither does he or anyone else.

If I could host your ideal dinner, who would the people around the table be?
Michel TrIt isthe : Philippe Stark, Andy Wahrol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Simone Veil, John Lennon, Jean Nouvel, Anne-Sophie Pic, Gilles Mitteau, Caroline Receveur, Bernard Arnault, Bill Gates, Greta Thunberg, …, quite a complex table layout!

Which image represents to you the current state of the world?
Michel TrIt isthe : The image is destruction, intolerance, selfishness, poverty, dictatorship, pollution, … then we could show an image that reflects the beauty of nature to make people more aware of the state of disaster.
“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

What is missing in today’s world?
Michel TrIt isthe : The beauty of the heart.

If you had to start all over again?
Michel TrIt isthe : Yes, I would start over and try not to make the same mistakes. I still feel like a child and look at the world with innocent eyes. Everything is an eternal beginning, a rebirth, so everything is possible.

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