Pierre Grenet Astoria Artistic Director

My images are a mix of the real world and some sort of dream world.

I’m not the kind of photographer to have a camera in his pocket at all times. I do, however, have a sketchbook. Reality is not really where I begin. I prefer to start from scratch, thinking that anything is possible.

I love to watch artisans working: jewelers, dressmakers, carpenters. Detailed handmade work, the quest for the perfect gesture. The thought of someone being able to give life to a simple piece of material. If you’ve ever thought of the fact that a Stradivarius is just a piece of wood at the beginning, you’ll see where I’m coming from. The simple notion is incredible.

My job isn’t the same as it was twenty years ago, and it is ever-evolving with new technologies. Today, I spend more time on my computer than I do with my camera. In this age of image ubiquity, I wonder if it’s still possible to create. I often wonder what talent really is, what it means today. At these times I recall the guy who is able to give life to a piece of wood.

Most of the bug parts are made using CGI. A lot of people feel unsettled by these new technologies. They believe it’s not an art and that it’s even more pointless for photography. Maybe so, but I can’t stop thinking that photography wasn’t considered as an art form in the beginning, either. One of the first photographers I admired was Jean-Loup Sieff. This is what he answered when a journalist asked him if he thought photography was an art – ‘I don’t know if photography is an art, but I know some photographers who are artists.’

I believe that CGI is not an enemy of photography; it’s just another way of creating. The traditional camera is definitely not the only way to create a picture today. I still consider myself a photographer, even if I use CGI in my creative process. The rules are the same: a good picture is at first a good idea, good cropping, and a good lighting set – no matter if you use a traditional camera or a virtual camera with a computer to make it. I have just one goal: to push the limits of my creativity. By mixing photography and CGI, everything becomes possible, and the only limit is my imagination.

Even if the viewer knows these bugs aren’t real and alive, it seems possible for them to be so. Creativity definitely follows no rules. What leads you in your life? Your reason or your imagination? Look for your piece of wood.