On a rural countryside in southern France, Alain Laboile shares the often under appreciated events of daily life. Born on May 1st 1968 in Bordeaux, France, Laboile never set out on a path for artistic photography. Laboile attended a rural French school between the ages of 6 and 10 that focused on the Célestin Freinet method of learning which focuses on creativity and exchange of ideas rather than learning by rote. At the age of 11, Laboile moved to the Ivory Coast after his father took a job in a dam building project. Spending his time in the bush playing with exotic animals, despite the dangers, he looks back on this time fondly and realizes there are no photos of his early years.
After meeting his wife Anne in 1990 and accompanying her to an art lecture, the inner artist in Laboile was awakened as he took up an interest in clay sculpting. What brought him into the world of photography was the fact that he needed additional material for his art portfolio. After picking up a compact camera, Laboile’s initial focus was entomology but his new passion was soon to emerge. Being the father of six, he was never short of subjects around his rural home. Capturing the everyday life of his children soon became his passion as he documents it in stunning monochrome.
From frolicking in the mud to attending to their daily lessons, the camera captures the innocence and sense of wonder of a free childhood. The children romp and play free of clothing and without the forced shame of the outside world. From sadness to pure glee, the camera seems to be completely unnoticed by the children as they are free to express their true inner selves.
The work of Laboile has been exhibited throughout the world in such countries as Japan, India, Austria and the United States. Most recently, he published a collection of family photographs titled At The Edge of the World in October 2015. Two other published works included En Attendant le Facteur (Waiting for the Postman) and Under the Monochrome Rainbow. Laboile has created a Patreon funding page which enables artists to give access to new and unpublished work to users with as little as a $1 contribution per month. One last item to note is the lack of controversy that is usually associated with an artist of this nature. Sally Mann and Jock Sturges both faced intense criticism for their work in a similar field. It seems that living in a less repressed society such as France affords an artist to focus more on their work rather than defend it.
More information can be found on Alain Laboile’s official website.
May be worth revisiting Alain Laboile? His website lists works titled La Familie which seems Pigtails in Paint appropriate as it has a focus on the girls especially. https://laboile.com/la-famille
Laboile is a prolific artist. His work could take several normal-sized posts to cover. It is sufficient that we covered him so that readers can follow up on their own. It is not our intent to be comprehensive on a specific artist unless his on-topic work is hard to come by. -Ron
Thank you for telling us about Mr. Laboile!
The description of this artist’s work instantly reminded me of the work of Sally Mann, even before her name was mentioned further down the page.
ALSO, the statement about the lack of controversy brings back to me something that I once read about David Hamilton: He was being referred to as “beyond the reach of American law” and therefore free of the risks experienced by Jock Sturges and Sally Mann.
I’m glad to bring Laboile’s work to those who may not know of his photography. It is good to see a contemporary artist not have to explain themselves or their motives. Beauty comes in many forms for many different people.
P.S. The part about “playing in the bush with exotic animals” reminds me of Tippi Degre.
That’s funny you mentioned that because I was thinking of writing a post about her.
THAT would be a very good idea.
I am pleased to learn that WCL is interested in doing a post on Degre. That was definitely in the Pipeline. The Tippi book was finally released in English last year. That story further reminds me of some scenes in the beginning of the 1984 film Sheena starring Tanya Roberts.