With his series Phœnix, the photographer Clément Marion offers a sensitive point of view on the bodies of major burn victims. A subject that questions as much the representation of the self as the view of our society.
“When was the last time you saw a serious burn victim? Haven’t you seen any? It’s normal, these people hide.” It is this fact that awakened in Clément Marion, a young photographer based in the Toulouse region, the will to know and help a particular cause: that of burn victims. As it has become essential to “highlight”, he started to question the notions of difference, self-acceptance and the way others look at us.
However, nothing predestined Clément Marion to tackle this theme. He too had not seen many burn victims. “One of them lived in my village, he confided, I didn’t really know his story. He wore large dark glasses and, from the height of my four or five years old, I was a little fascinated, I think.” That’s how the photographer began to learn about the subject and make contact with those who would become his models.
As would the skin
Beyond the societal and philosophical questions raised by the condition of burn victims, this topic is also of great visual interest for Clément Marion. This is why he has adapted his technique: “I decided to use wet collodion to deal with this subject. The parallel between this texture and that of the healed skin of burn victims was obvious. As it dries, this film eventually hardens, shrinks and sometimes cracks, as would the flesh of a burn victim.” In addition, as he points out, wet collodion is mainly composed of two products (Cooper collodion and silver nitrate) which, separately, are used in medicine for skin treatment and healing.
Today, while devoting himself to new creations, he wishes to continue the Phoenix series by turning to larger formats, and is preparing exhibitions around the project. If he cannot repair bodies, he tries to repair souls. And so as not to limit his commitment to his work as an artist, Clément Marion wants to take his models out of their frames. “With one of my friends who posed for me, he explains, we want to publish a therapeutic collection with her texts and my photos. This little book will be distributed to professionals who will use it as a support in their treatment procedures.” If you wish to support their project, you can do so through a Ulule kitty open until mid-December.
© Clément Marion