Denis Rouvre: Sumo Wrestlers – enveloped in light and shadows
Cate Blanchet, Wim Wenders and Tim Robbins – in Denis ROUVRE’s images inapproachable stars become people you can relate to. Therefore it shouldn’t be too hard to elicit similar character traits from Japanese sumo wrestlers. At least that’s what he thought when he flew to the photo shoot in Japan. But whatever he tried, the result was always the same: the sumo wrestlers looked into the camera with the same stoic expression every time. Dennis was disappointed, as he had tried to look beyond their tough exterior into the fighters’ souls. __
But of course he succeeded in the end. Denis changed tactics and simply captured sumo wrestlers immediately after their training. Sweaty and dirty, their bodies still bearing the marks from their strenuous fights. The results are emotionally and visually impressive portraits. They are enveloped in light and shadows and we can finally see what those big boned sumo wrestlers really are: passionate athletes.
Denis Rouvre: ‘Eden’ – sculptural choreography and nude portraits
Denis ROUVRE’s personal work has always evolved around his fascination with the human character. This time he turns his attention to another form of purity, that of the human body and the expression of its sexual desires.
He was inspired by a poem entitled ‘Eden’, which describes a hedonistic state of Eden where we are freed of any form of judgment or taboos, where our naked bodies are weightless, and there’s not really much else to do other than shamelessly make love all day long (we’re guessing this was before Eve got peckish and fancied a bit of sinful fresh fruit).
In this new project, Rouvre invited people of all shapes, shades, and sizes, to let go of all inhibitions within ephemerally lit glasslike cubes. Although the actual space is physically limiting, the sexual fantasies often seem to defy gravity and take place in a boundless and heavenly space that conjures up the sense of freedom one might have if not weighed down by any form of moral or aesthetic judgement.
The sculptural choreography of the intertwined bodies reminds us, as does the poem, that there is a universal beauty in the physical essence of love making, regardless of our appearance. With the help of those brave enough to step in front of his lens, Denis Rouvre tells us of an Eden where sex is instinctively beautiful, and something to be celebrated in its purest of forms.
Denis Rouvre: Denis stages employee portraits for Pernod Ricard as Kandinsky paintings
Staff photos are often formal and strained, but global drinks giant PERNOD RICARD decided to break with tradition and treated its staff to a bold and daring photo shoot with portrait photographer Denis Rouvre.
Entitled ‘Blast’, Rouvre encouraged employees to unleash the full force of their personality so that each portrait reflects a ‘moment of freedom, a hymn to individuality’. With the help of painter David Nal-Vad and stylist Ricardo Martinez Paz, he was able to theatrically enhance each employee’s character traits using bright blasts of colour, splashes of abstract shapes, flamboyant costumes and an endless amount of wondrous props.
Like a Kandinsky painting, Rouvre’s portraits capture that what springs from the soul. The Pernod staff portraits have surpassed their intended use and are currently on show at Bailly Contemporary Art Gallery.
Denis Rouvre: Japan revisited - Faces of Tsunami Series for the NEW YORK TIMES
It’s been over a year since the devastating tsunami and resulting nuclear catastrophe struck Japan, but the traumatic images beamed around the world at the time are still fresh in our minds.
Last autumn, Denis ROUVRE spent a month travelling along the battered coast, photographing both the ravaged landscape and the faces of the most elderly survivors.
The resulting portraits were published in the magazine section of The New York Times and are without doubt the most hauntingly beautiful yet moving images of the disaster’s aftermath.
Deeply carved wrinkles in the faces of these old people tell the heartbreaking stories of war, natural disasters and nuclear meltdown.
They seem as old and permanent as the mountains themselves, so it’s all the more jarring when Rouvre juxtaposes their faces with images of the desolate countryside, which seems incredibly vulnerable and depressed by comparison.
When looking at these landscape images it becomes clear to the viewer that the next generation of island folk face great challenges in the future – however, it is also apparent that their elders can help by teaching them about the hidden strengths of willpower and resilience.
Denis Rouvre: Rugby players in action
Denis ROUVRE’s new book ‘Gravures de Sport’ is coming out soon (as reported by GoSee) and this is the perfect time to recall his previous photography collection – ‘Sortie de Match’. Rouvre visited several Rugby games in the 2005/2006 season to photograph the players after the final whistle. The pictures show Rugby players drenched in mud and blood, speckled with small wounds, scratches and scuffs.
Denis Rouvre: Gravure de Sport - Athletes from another perspective
Denis ROUVRE is publishing a book featuring his ‘Gravure de Sport’ portraits (2008) of French athletes right before the Olympic Games in Beijing. The striking portraits show the statuesque athletes removed from their usual athletic context and focuses on the individuals instead.
Not restraining his proven talent for playfulness, Rouvre finds something in the personality of each individual athlete and emphasises it to the extreme – a gown for the elegant badminton player, a pimp-outfit for the eye-catching javelin thrower, a James Bond post for the pistol marksman…
Yet, even these unusual motifs cannot mask the confidence, pride and determination of the top athletes in every picture. Their whole life is dedicated to one single moment and all the faces are painted in the hope of victory. Through Rouvre’s eyes, we can glance behind the façades of the modern gladiators and catch a fleeting impression of their personalities.
Denis Rouvre: Self portraits of the stars - 'Automaton' Series
On the complete opposite end of the scale, Denis ROUVRE’s ongoing ‘Automaton’ series was in full effect once again at the Cannes Film Festival.
Denis’ set-up allows film stars to reveal whatever side of themselves they wish – they walk into a specially designed photo booth, strike a pose of their fancy and choose when to press the button. The results are always surprising. However, Morgan Freeman is obvs the coolest.
Denis Rouvre: Photographic essay 'The Mid Road'
Denis ROUVRE put together a photographic essay of his travels through the towns that dot America’s once famed Route 66, entitled ‘The Mid Road’. It paints an unsettling image of the people left behind by the commercialisation and prostitution of the American Dream.
Again and again, Rouvre contrasts flashy advertisements with the downcast expressions of the locals and the overcast skies above. These are places that have been passed by, and you can’t help but feel pessimistic for the future of the rest of America. And yet, in every scene, there is a sense of the underlying toughness of these people.
The only relatively optimistic shot is of a newly married couple in a parking lot at night-time – they seem unsure of what lies ahead but at least they have each other. For these folks, life goes on.
Denis Rouvre: Indian Sadhus
Denis ROUVRE presents his series ‘Sadhu, divins mendiants’ in this year’s last newsletter, which translates into ‘Sadhu, the divine beggars’.
Sadhu is the common Hindu expression for people who have dedicated their lives to a religious, partly ascetic way of life. The word especially refers to monks of various Hindu orders.
Quiet a few Sadhus live in absolute nakedness. The Hindu order contains lots of different schools and countless sub-orders, which all demand different things from their respective Sadhus. For the most part, Sadhus are well respected in India as their ascetic demeanour is not only considered a matter of personal fate but also a representative endeavour for many, who are less motivated.
Denis Rouvre: Portraits at Cannes Film Festival
Denis ROUVRE manages to photograph a portrait series of the guest performers in Cannes year after year. Hence, he had the pleasure of entertaining many famous actors in front of his camera again this year. Robert De Niro, shooting stars Mia Wasikowska & Henry Hopper, Antonio Banderas, Isabelle Huppert, Tilda Swinton, Martin Nissen, Paul Bartel, Zacharie Chasseriaud, …..it is almost as if he has the rare power to look into people’s hearts.
World Press Photo Award 2010 for Denis Rouvre
Denis Rouvre was awarded in „the Sports Features Stories“ category of World Press Photo 2010, for his series „Senegalese Wrestlers“ called Lamb.
This series, which was shot in 2009, is part of the artist’s work in progress on physical involvement and on Man’s relations with strength, power and fragility.