“The real luxury is to see the beauty around you without having to go to the end of the world. Then to be in truth, in all simplicity with oneself, one’s surroundings and one’s environment. When we have found this inner peace, it reflects in our relationships with others and in all our actions. But it is not easy to find this fullness. It is a permanent and difficult quest and happily on the way, we can catch a few plots of absolute grace that make us glimpse something of the Beautiful, the Unalterable, whose all Creation bears the attributes. Photography allowed me to witness this miracle. In this profession, we have to be receptive and aware of the present moment. We are concentrated on what we see: the mind is laid down, focused, permanently anchored in reality and on the lookout. I think meaningful contemplation and meaningful are badly missing today in our lives. Only there, we can truly appreciate the realities, giving ourselves the time to slow down and find sense listening the spirit of life. So, the more you are aware of this beauty around you, the more you get inside yourself, in an inner journey. That’s why I photograph as much with my eyes as with my camera, and that constantly enriches my subconscious.
My advice for being a good photographer is to try to excel on all occasions. When everything is beautiful, it is easier, but when it is necessary to flush out what requires to be, you need to set up a real process of approach with a permanent challenge that allows you to get beautiful pictures: look to what is small or hidden, see the whole or the detail, and obviously all the parameters of the place and if the light is there or not. You must also be consistent and have a writer’s spirit. Isn’t photography “writing with light”?’ The photographer doesn’t use words but he is possessed by his photo, and in the same time he must transcend the limit of the real and stay realistic. At the end, the photography will be a reflection that comes to life in action and will stay forever.
As the golden rule for those who intend to get ahead, I say: practice constantly and get off completely the technical part. One should know tools on his fingertips, and I always refer to RTFM – “Read the Fucking Manual” because it is the basis. Look at a theater actor, he must know his written text by heart before being able to deliver a personal interpretation. This will bring spontaneity that is so valuable to catch the suspended moment that intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. Then only we can produce beautiful and authentic pictures, because we will able to feel and get in the vibrant diversity of the environment that surrounds us. In photography, it is a mistake to think we can reach the top one day. In every new place, every project, we start everything from scratch, that’s why we need to always stay humble. With digital devices today and of course with long years of experience, I am more confident to make good photos but there is always a tension, an effort and an engagement that allow me to be creative. Photography has also a lot to do with patience and the best camera, in fact is a good pair of shoes. I have an infinite patience when I go on site, and even if I see the images before using the tool, I will go pick them up frankly. For example, to photograph an area like Chaumont-sur-Loire, I can walk eight hours and 10 km relentlessly. I pick up the place, find angles and listen to the soul and spirit of the place, while I’m pacing in all directions. Catching this exalting and fragile moment is like a meditation associated to action, and there, the real photography starts, writing and sequencing images that immortalize a given moment that becomes eternal.
Very early, I wanted to enhance the beautiful through positive encounters and enlightening what is not yet revealed. And I was thirsty to express all this ability and vision I had inside and that I could see in reflection in the world. Great photographers had advised me when I started: “Do big things, grandiose things Eric! And I, deep down, in the bottom of my heart, I was saying No! I want to do little things, topics that are good for me and that bring joy, confidence and hope. Finally, small streams gave big rivers because it interested many magazines. Today, I feel connected with each plant or animal and of course all of these people I met, whether it is a child in the street surprised by my “Look at me” that captures its pure and clear eyes, or those I have come to know in their passion and with whom I have maintained a sincere friendship. The key is to become an explorer of every moment, knowing when to press the shutter to shoot the decisive moment. This posture opens all the field of possibilities. We are no more controlling everything, and we get in the flow, also in our unpredictable career where confidence guides us step by step. At every stage, I had to mobilize my personal resources to continue the journey and these stopping points are also the most stimulating, because they teach us to let go and look deeply inwards, where Life that is present in each vibrant molecule on Earth and in the immense universe, gives us the strength and direction to rebound and continue the journey.
In the end, authenticity is when we feel fully alive, in harmony with our true nature and moving forward on our own path. I was often rewarded with exceptional moments of light or an endless moment of jubilant happiness, to the point where I could sometimes scream or jump with joy when I’m so moved with what my eyes can see. That is such a privilege and today I want to share these gifts with others, as a testimony that reminds everyone of how precious and bursting with potential life is. As I say regularly, I no longer try to go to the end of the world, but to go to the end of myself because there is the entrance to life in abundance, and it is summed up in this sentence: everything is possible! ”
Interview held by Carine Mouradian
Link to the website of Eric Sander
Read also the portrait of Eric Sander