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Liberté d'Expression
1st PlaceLiberté d'Expression
gyaban

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Freedom of Expression (Expert Editing)
Collection: Portfolio
Camera: Canon EOS-5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Date: Jan 18, 2015
Date Uploaded: Jan 18, 2015



[Jan. 25th, 2015 05:31:27 PM]

As you probably know, on 7 January 2015 occurred the deadliest act of terrorism in France of the last 50 years. 12 persons died in the offices of "Charlie Hebdo", a satirical newspaper, because they believed in an absolute form of freedom of expression. I must confess this tragedy hurt me deeply. A few days later, a gigantic march occurred in Paris as an historical act of protestation against terror, against censorship. At least everything is not lost, millions of people still believe in those values: it was somewhat heart-warming.

The day after that march, Langdon was kind enough to start this challenge. I really wanted to pay a personal homage to the situation, by recreating another version of Eugène Delacroix's famous painting "La liberté guidant le peuple". In this version, I planned to replace all the weapons by pens, pencils, cameras or books, as a metaphor for the defense of freedom of expression.

Of course, I knew that this idea involved many characters at the same time, something I had never attempted so far. Time was also a big constraint, since achieving such image in a week was definitely going to be hard. In order to maximize my chances to succeed, I brought my camera at work the very same day, and quickly improvised a shooting session, hoping for volunteers. I had no lighting gear at all, so it was a bit challenging, but many colleagues spontaneously accepted to pose. Thank you so much everyone! From left to right:
- Olivier, the photographer, always keen for a good laugh
- Simon, the dead clown, and the most helpful guy you'll ever meet
- Ronan, the singer, who definitely does not need a microphone in real life
- Francesca, the social networker, unstoppable whatever the circumstances
- Marianne, la République, my dear wife who guides my life
- Yannick, the paperboy, whose brain is quicker that light
- Luc, the dead book-writer, as clever as Yoda, but much more handsome

Back at home, I went through the photos, and knew they were good enough to be actually used (the noise was very decent despite the high ISO settings). My wife and I created a list of all the additional elements that were needed (clouds, paved ground, rocks, planks, pencil, camera, guitar, microphone, newspapers, books, phone, clown disguise, the main character and her flag, etc), in order to photograph them all over the next evenings and days. Assembling the 44 source photos required about 25h of work; while it was quite boring to mask and position everything, it also was a joy to see all these characters appear together before my eyes. I am very happy of the result.

The first reactions have been very positive on the different websites I posted it, DPC being no exception. Thank you so much for your kind votes and comments, et Vive la Liberté !

Statistics
Place: 1 out of 33
Avg (all users): 8.0889
Avg (commenters): 9.2857
Avg (participants): 7.4583
Avg (non-participants): 8.3182
Views since voting: 3696
Views during voting: 366
Votes: 90
Comments: 57
Favorites: 19 (view)


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AuthorThread
02/01/2015 12:54:57 AM
Speechless except to say this should've been the first 10 on dpc. Congrats!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2015 05:50:11 PM
I keep coming back to the amazing detail and symbolism in this Christophe. You and your wife are geniuses.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2015 12:54:16 AM
You are the most outstanding photographer I know. This leaves me speechless Christophe... Enzo
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2015 10:28:30 PM
Congratulations Christophe! It was an easy decision to press (10)...wonderful!
I say it every challenge...you continue to inspire.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2015 04:35:19 PM
Little wonder you got first place. Not only wonderfully imagined and beautifully crafted, but right on target to respond to recent events.

I really have no idea where the 3 one's came from, and really anything less than 10.

Absolutely superb. I think the French to buy it in 260 cm by 325 cm size.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2015 01:27:52 PM
Wow I would love to see a step-by-step of this. Super great work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2015 05:03:10 AM
Christophe,
Your work is always exceptional, but on this occasion you have excelled.
The atrocities in Paris shocked and outraged all decent people around the world. Your skills and imagination provide a fitting tribute to those innocents that lost their lives defending freedoms that are paramount.
A worthy winner for all the right reasons.
Well done.

Je suis Charlie

Message edited by author 2015-01-28 05:03:55.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/27/2015 10:59:35 AM
Originally posted by CNovack:

Christophe, I do have one question: Since there is so much symbology in your piece, and colors can mean different things in different countries/cultures - Why did you choose Liberte as wielding a red pencil?


Thanks a lot Chrystyne for your kind comment, much appreciated.
Regarding the color of the pencil, my choice was limited for technical reasons: I didn't want to break the overall color harmony, so purple or lemon green was out of question. From there, I decided to use dark red for both the writing and the pencil, as a reminder of the bloodshed that occurred in Paris, and still occurs regularly around the world. Quite a simple metaphor of course, but it was clear in my mind that it had to be that way.
01/27/2015 09:32:04 AM
In terms of art with impact - you have truly outdone yourself. I have gone back to look at the original and then your art piece; the tones, mood, characters and message are masterfully done Christophe. The cast of people in your presentation well represents the forms of expression - from music, photography, news, painting, comedy, social networking/blogger, writing/literature - that all take shelter/follow under the guiding light of the banner of liberty. In light of the terrible events that happened in France - this is a most poignant art piece that imparts a strong message. Well done - congrats on your well deserved blue.

Christophe, I do have one question: Since there is so much symbology in your piece, and colors can mean different things in different countries/cultures - Why did you choose Liberte as wielding a red pencil?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/27/2015 03:42:09 AM
Well done. An inspirational amount of effort went into that photo!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/27/2015 12:16:01 AM
Originally posted by Cory:

Absolutely wonderful. I've spent a lot of time admiring this, and I've found something that is distracting to me. Your wife's right leg seems to be oddly positioned and partly transparent. Forgive me if this was an intentional decision.

Well done Christophe.


Thanks a lot Cory.
The right leg is not partly transparent, there is no way I would have made such mistake given the amount of time I inspected each part ;) What you see is a piece of a texture that has been applied over the whole image (you can see a similar thing over the head of the woman with the phone, for example). As for the position, I am not sure what would be odd, maybe it is the fact that the clown's foot hides it partially. Anyway her legs come from a single photo, no strange tweaking here.
01/26/2015 11:50:10 PM
Christophe, I hope you are famous one day and I will be able to say I know you! ;)

Message edited by author 2015-01-27 06:50:54.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 11:34:52 PM
Originally posted by marnet:

I am amazed how many comments here are about the photography and how few about the issue. ...

I think it's because the issue is difficult and not well understood. Most of the Je Suis Charlie poseurs, both universally and at DPC, are inconsistent at best and hypocritical more likely. They say, "I believe in freedom of speech but that doesn't give the right to be offensive", which actually means, "I do not believe in freedom of speech".

In your own case, just to pick a random example, you declare yourself in the first comment on this photo to be Charlie, and declare that solidarity with Charlie Hebdo is very Important to you. You declare your refusal to live in fear. And you conclude by wrapping yourself in the French flag.

But your record contrasts sharply with these declarations. You have several times in the past said, quite unequivocally, that you do not want any comments on your work that are not favourable. You have in the past had a perfectly legitimate negative comment on the artistic merits of a photograph removed by SC simply because you didn't like it, and then you gleefully celebrated your censorship in a subsequent forum post.

Christophe, in his original challenge proposal, pointed out that DPC is a community of artists, and that freedom of expression is especially important to artists. But he didn't mean merely saying it's important via a slogan. He meant actually living and working by it. As did Charlie Hebdo. Vous n'êtes pas Charlie.

Message edited by author 2015-01-26 23:36:51.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 09:53:46 PM
This also looks like a poster for "Les Miserable" :)

Congrats, Christophe. Awesome that you won the challenge you suggested.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 08:01:12 PM
WOW! Amazing, stunning image! Congrats on the blue!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 06:52:03 PM
Absolutely wonderful. I've spent a lot of time admiring this, and I've found something that is distracting to me. Your wife's right leg seems to be oddly positioned and partly transparent. Forgive me if this was an intentional decision.

Well done Christophe.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 06:45:53 PM
One of your best works yet. Cheers to all who took part. There were also marches in NYC. Ray's comment re: the dslr photog. He's missing the energy the others have. easier said than done but if there was a re-edit in the future , perhaps him in a crouched position in a shooting pose, using his knee instead of rocky wall, it would open things up a bit. Either way, congrats. Stay strong!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 06:31:37 PM
The mind boggles at the amount of work that went into this artistic masterpiece, for that is precisely what it is...how on earth you manage to find the time is no less a feat!

I feel that Delacroix would have been honoured by this tribute. Congrats on yet another incredible image, Christophe.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 05:06:15 PM
You amaze me, Christophe.

Fabulously done!

Kudos also to Olivier, Simon, Ronan, Francesca, Marianne (although she should be used to this by now *grin*), Yannick and Luc.

Well done! WELL DONE!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 04:17:25 PM
Congrats on the blue - not that I doubted it for a moment. I am astounded at your commitment, not only to your art but also to things that matter to you. I remember the days when our children were babies and how I thought that I had so little time. I look at your work, and the instrumental part your wife plays in it and wonder by what wizardry you manage to double the hours in a day to enable you to give everything your best shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 02:56:44 PM
What a fantastic piece of art and a perfect statement piece!
Congrats on your blue!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 02:37:28 PM
Congrats with this wonderful work (and the blue). Well worth all the hard work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 12:33:11 PM
I am pleased the majority of DPCers have recognized outstanding quality, incredible imagination and stunning speed (!) of your work :)

Message edited by author 2015-01-27 06:51:23.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 11:54:43 AM
Very, very cool! (as clever as Yoda... Wow... I wish someone would say that of me!)

Love your notes, as always. :) Huge congrats!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 10:55:37 AM
and anyone had any doubts? LOL Well done another expert challenge
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 10:54:31 AM
One of your most memorable work.

Je suis Charlie.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 09:51:11 AM
Absolutely brilliant....This is positively perfect in every sense...very well done!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 08:44:58 AM
This is wonderful! Congratulations on a well deserved win.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 08:25:35 AM
Congratulations on your win, of course so well deserved. This image is just amazing I can't believe just how talented you are.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 07:51:53 AM
People overuse the term EPIC. But in regard to images, I'd use it fairly here. Astounding.

BTW: I love that this scored over an 8 and had threes scores of 1. Those can bring an image down quickly. Not this one. It does make me wonder though, whether some people don't believe in freedom of expression, or if they are feeling an extreme vote is their right.

Message edited by author 2015-01-26 07:58:13.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 05:35:24 AM
You are truly amazing. Excellent.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 05:23:33 AM
Definitely your best work to date and the fact that we now have 1200x1200 'makes it' all the more. I avoid politics but as a work of art it is excellent.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 05:05:30 AM
Originally posted by RayEthier:

Perhaps it is just me and my twisted perception of "what is" but I do have to question why the only personna that seems to be cowering in the image is the photographer.


Thank you so much Ray for your very kind words. Regarding the photographer, I reproduced (more or less) the position of the original painting: I thought the camera could benefit from some stability on the rocks. There was no particular innuendo here.
01/26/2015 04:23:04 AM
Amazing !
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 02:45:49 AM
An absolutely stunning image that mirrors the original image and truly speaks to the subject at hand.

Perhaps it is just me and my twisted perception of "what is" but I do have to question why the only personna that seems to be cowering in the image is the photographer.

You truly are a master whose work is a source of inspiration to all in this venue.

Mes compliments Christophe. Un autre chef-d'oeuvre.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 01:02:17 AM
Such a stunning tribute to, yet again, a senseless tragedy. While the image is as incredible as usual, this time it really hits home to those of us who love freedom of expression.

Thank you for this tribute.

Je suis Charlie.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 12:49:31 AM
For the last 5 years I, like many here, have been continuously amazed by your images & talent. I can't recall exactly but I don't think I have commented on one of your entries....until now..........you made me gasp, thank you.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 12:46:30 AM
Normally, I'm just in awe of your submissions. This time I'm basically speechless.

WOW.

Whilst I can understand how can you can get the subjects, the props, the poses and so on, I am ever so impressed by the way you also captured the whole "feel" and atmosphere of the original.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2015 12:40:58 AM
I didn't vote this challenge - this was the clear winner. Congratulations!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
01/25/2015 11:34:07 PM
Clear winner, Christophe. Superb work as always.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2015 09:52:28 AM
Wow! Outstanding work. I did expect something great from you in this challenge but this is far beyond.
My guess is we'll see this symbol fly around the internet for the next decades the same way the orginal has.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/24/2015 11:29:42 PM
Delacroix Liberte. Astonishing replication.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/24/2015 04:30:55 PM
Tu gagnes.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/22/2015 10:12:12 PM
I see this one a clear winner! Amazing work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/22/2015 07:20:40 PM
Fabulous personal interpretation of the masterpiece.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/22/2015 09:44:44 AM
Very nicely imagined and executed. I like the muted color palette and lighting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/22/2015 06:11:46 AM
doit se publier
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/21/2015 09:11:54 AM
of course!!!! perfect and the best of the challenge
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2015 11:48:43 PM
YOU GO Christophe... We will Not be Silenced by Evil!!!!!!!!!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2015 08:38:12 PM
In line with the topic, and having enjoyed your entries immensely over the years I will say this might be your finest, and most poignant work. I look forward to reading your heartfelt image description, this is fantastic, Christophe.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2015 01:59:04 PM
... égalité, fraternité

my deepest respect for the french people

I can only hope the conflicts are resolved with tolerance, and not following the line of violence the extremist seem to be looking to generate

regarding the image ... what can I say? a master piece
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2015 08:44:29 PM
Bravo, Bravo! Fantastic work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2015 11:30:00 AM
Well played Christophe, I appriciate all the hard work that went into this image! Of course it's best of show, congrats.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2015 06:02:47 AM
I think this may well be the winner, another wonderful image 10.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2015 04:52:25 AM
You have done your country proud! This is absolutely incredible and is truly a work of art. Amazing! I look forward to reading the description if you are so kind as to provide one. A 10 of course and a blue ribbon is unquestionably yours. Well done! Amazing work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2015 04:06:13 AM
Great job !!! I love it !
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2015 01:38:07 AM
Ton image est si beaucoup mieux que les autres, je ne vais plus voter au DPC. Désolée, Christophe. Ton image montre beaucoup de réflexion et de la capacité d'exprimer tes émotions dans l'image la plus iconique de la France. Ton image est exceptionnelle.

Je suis Charlie.

La culture française est ma culture, c'est mon passé et mon avenir. La solidarité avec Charlie Hebdo est très important pour moi. Mes parents avaient peur de dire quoi que ce soit contre le régime, ils ont vécu dans la peur pour leur vie. Je ne vais pas vivre dans la peur!

Vive la liberté d'expression! Vive la France libre!
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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