Interview with Photographer Julien Mauve
French author photographer, Julien Mauve is renowned for creating cinematographic and narrative photos dealing with human interactions and conditions. His latest series, Greetings From Mars explores themes such as loneliness, nostalgia and the rise of new technologies.
The artist had a chat with us about the inspiration behind the series, our need to exist through photographs and the future.
What is the inspiration behind Greetings From Mars?
I’ve been fascinated with Mars since my childhood. I can picture myself back in college making presentations about it. We hear a lot about NASA, Elon Musk and SpaceX these days. Not to mention Mars One, the company that offers people a one way ticket to establish the first human colony on Mars (and intend to create a TV show out of it). Space exploration and colonisation is the greatest adventure of the century and the fact that we may witness it in our life-time (just as our parents and grand-parents did in the 60’s) makes it even more exciting. The Internet nearly broke when Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere. Just imagine the day the first man will put a feet on Mars.
In the meantime, Earth has become really small. We are only 12 hours away from the other side of the world. Those easy travelling conditions have made tourism become a lucrative activity (not only for the best unfortunately). People can visit and enjoy places we would have never imagined only 50 years ago. It took less than 500 years for the Wild West to go from amazing discovery to epic touristic destination. Once transportation issues will be solved and if we don’t encounter any massive disaster, space-tourism for mid class people is something we can imagine happening in less than 100 years.
On top of that, smartphones and social networks have emerged, allowing us to share our lives with everyone else in real time, to write our own story. We’ve literally developed a new language to communicate emotions through pictures and that really fascinates me. These are all the ideas I’ve tried to mix into this project.
How do you believe social media has shaped the way we perceive travel?
Some years ago, taking pictures of landscapes was enough. And we were not able to share them before we came back home. Today we have added ourselves on the pictures. Our faces are everywhere. We share everything instantly, we feel the need to do it. The connection is permanent and the experience become different. With Internet available everywhere, there is no “being-far-away” anymore. So we might ask ourselves, do we travel to discover new places, change of scene, new cultures, or do we travel to look for pictures of ourselves and to prove that we exist?
Who and what are you influenced by?
I have many influences, not only coming from the photography field but if I had to chose one that could refer to this project in some way, I would say Martin Paar. I love Paar’s humor in his photographs. And a large part of his work is actually dedicated to the study of tourist’s habits, it’s really funny and interesting to see.
What type of emotions do you wish to convey to people through your lens in this series?
There are two main ideas, one is a reflexion about the evolution of our species, about the dream of expanding our civilisation to other planets and push the human race forward. Our long term future depends on this being a success but there will be a lot of obstacles along the way. The other idea is a look at our touristic habits and the way we behave. I’m not judging anyone and I’m not making a statement against touristic habits with this project. I travel a lot and I like to observe people, I like to see how they act, how they use pictures to convey their feelings. That’s also part of our species and who we are today and I just assumed we would act the same on another planet. Even though (I hope) we would have got rid of selfie sticks in the future!
What can we expect to see from you next?
I’ve just finished my first photo book which is about the path toward consciousness and the fundamental questions of life. It will be released the beginning of next year.
See more of the photographers work at www.julienmauve.com