Franck Glenisson – The faceless parisian photographer lifts the digital veil on his international career – Exclusive interview at H么tel de Crillon


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A paradox! Franck Glenisson, the Parisian photographer, who lets Paris shining internationally through the most prestigious fashion magazines, is on one hand very active on social networks, and on the other hand does not allow publishing any image of his face. The meeting in Paris at the winter salon of the Hotel de Crillon, is even more intriguing. He arrives right on time, the mark of the gentlemen, and he orders a simple grenadine and – although I do not belong the seraglio 鈥 He answers to my questions with an extreme kindness, without having first admired the way in which Richard Martinet, the architect “choreographer” of the renovation of Crillon, brought the light of day into the lobby and the Winter Garden.

The subject? The image! Media, communication and commerce are revisiting the way to reach their audiences. More pictures, less text. Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest have been there. The smartphone too: in France more than two thirds of internet connections are made on mobile. Now that says images, says data sources. Exciting horizons for brands in terms of geolocation, targeting and personalization.

A few hours before the opening of Fashion Week in Paris, I had the privilege of talking with Franck Glenisson on the subject. Meeting with Franck Glenisson.


:: How do you come in, at age 35, in the photographic collection of French Heritage?

FRANCK GLENISSON: Without thinking! In 2009, I directed a young man with a disability, Mario Galla, in a fashion series. This boy was working successfully in the fashion industry [ndrl: Mario Galla has more than 20,000 followers on Instagram] but his disability was still hidden, the price to pay to be visible in the fashion industry?

I wanted, with his agreement, to orchestrate a kind of “coming out” of his inferiority, by immersing him in one of my fictions, the story of a shy young aristocrat who, fearing the eyes of others, remains closed in the shadow of his manor. He only escapes through reading and reading again Madame Bovary. One day, this madcap reading makes him dive into the book and begin his rebirth, indeed his birth.

The light of the world found becomes for him a drug, inviting him to live in broad daylight. This series is part of the photographic collection of French heritage and has been exhibited throughout the world, including China at the French Embassy. Magazines, TV shows from around the world have chosen to publish these photos, this series became month after month, what I had dreamed of, a dialogue with all children with disabilities, who could finally dream of being a hero! Visible! Adidas, impressed by the power of this boy, offered him to be one of its ambassadors.


:: Did this consecration mark a “before鈥 and an 鈥渁fter” in your career?

Absolutely! Suddenly I moved from a fashion photographer to the prophetically obsolete future (Is it not the worst thing than being fashionable for ending up in the dungeon?)to a photographer of an institution, eternal! It also strengthened me in the idea of following my emotions and continuing to create fashion series that are a reflect of the society, ALL the society! After all, that’s what Fashion should be! I am thinking in particular of a fashion series, which I made about the living conditions of the LGBTQ community in Chechnya, or a film about the 30-year biopic of a little boy who becomes a woman. This film was also screened at the Pompidou Center during the A Shaded View On Fashion Film Festival (ASVOFF), a bold choice from its creator Diane Pernet.

:: Between print and digital, where do you stand?

It would be absurd to oppose the two. In the past, thanks to the paper magazines, art has been able to enter the homes more easily, which digital is also doing today on a whole new scale. Digital has an immensely sprawling reach, because unlike paper, it lasts, duplicates itself to the infinite, and also allows me to address the younger generation, it is they who will change the world of tomorrow!

:: Where does your work of photographer start and stop?

I am in my own way the “captain” of an entrepreneurial ship that has to flow the time of a photographic or cinematographic production. I decide the theme, the way to approach it, my model, I am the artistic director of all my film series.

:: Why did you choose the Plazza Ath茅n茅e?

I have always enjoyed this palace, thanks to the symbiosis of the entire team and their formidable press officer, Caroline Lefevre. I wanted to pay tribute to the French woman through the Singapore Official, to the French haute couture, working with one of the best Parisian stylists, in this case Mickael Carpin. I wanted to highlight also all the French know-how in terms of furniture, the choice of the Plaza Ath茅n茅e has again imposed itself naturally.

Another example where we measure the impact of digital, the series of photos has been relayed by many sites around the world. Ten years ago a series such as this one would have been seen only by readers of the magazine. Today, the image is viral: it is possible to offer a work a global target.

:: Do you use the term “target”?

Yes, each image is a means of communication, it is the beginning of a dialogue.

Social networks, including Instagram Stories,

are an integral part of my work.



:: Let’s talk about social networks, and Instagram in particular. It is difficult today to imagine the world without Instagram, which is only 7 years old. You are very active here, with a community of 22,000 followers. How do you use Instagram?

Social networks, including Instagram Stories, are an integral part of my work. There is no day without doing a post on my Instagram story. Instragram is an image, which impose itself, like an advertising poster. On Instagram, I share the backstage of the scenes while keeping the secret, in order to create the event when the series comes out.

A post on Franck Glenisson’s Instagram story to announce this article.

:: Filming the scenes is nevertheless a very open approach. Do you not worry about a bad buzz before going out? Or that your colleagues are spying on you?

Being “spied on”, as you say, has a reassuring side for an artist … If one day nobody spies on me, everything would be finished for me!

:: What is the purpose of Stories?

Stories allows me to warn about what will happen and include my followers in a creative process. It’s also a great format in terms of measurement, because I see people who “look” at Storie.

:: Some of your films and series deal with difficult topics. What are publishers looking for when working with you?

I am fortunate to work with courageous, freedom-loving writers, even if their job is becoming more complex because nowadays a publisher of the press does not have to address only his national audience, but he has to sell almost to the whole world.


:: Your job will take you to work in Los Angeles, New York, Asia. Why, however, your predilection for filming Paris?

Paris is a state of mind, literary, cultural, it is easy to find traces of the past, the Paris of Baudelaire to that of Toulouse Lautrec.

I like Parisians because I feel free, they never appear as victims but as fighters! They are the continuity of Deneuve’s cigarette, in a plural form. Paris is also a city where I like to film because there is a very special light, beige thanks to the stone of Saint-Maximin, sweet because the buildings are not very high, not to mention the Tuileries Garden, Luxembourg, Buttes Chaumont …

Paris offered me my freedom and thirst for discovering the world. This city is cosmopolitan, a crossroads of influences.

Kissing Thanatos, a film by Franck Glenisson :























Follow Franck Glenisson on聽,聽Instagram聽and on his聽website


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