The project

face moi


Ghettos, drill camps, housing projects, orphanages, prisons, bordellos, regions poisoned by wastes, religious enclaves, training centers for handicapped athletes..

....bringing images out of these places, images that evoke a common injury and underscore the defiance in the postures, in the gaze of these young people - here is my task.

Why devote myself to capturing the faces of the young people who lives marginalized and angry, in places where hope has abandonned them, especially in the ex-Soviet Union ?

  1. First is my own childhood, unique because I was surrounded by invalids- my father, my friends who had less trouble dealing with reduced mobility than with the stares of others on that difference.

  1. Second, I was struck by the way knowledge of the U.S.S.R was limited by what media machines fed us. In order to know more about the Homo Sovieticus who mastered both the chess board and outer space, I started, in 1984, learning a fourth tongue : Russian.

About my work, French author François Bon writes :

" ...Vazzoler knows well that he goes where the language of Gogol and Bougakov leads him, to photograph again and again the same eyes, as a sign of his constant search for the other, as a image of the constantly reccuring puzzlement that the state of the body is the visible part of our human condition under a common sky."

These bodies, those of girls who sell themselves and of people with handicapes, the silhouettes through which a noble dimension shines, our gentle society treat them like weeds. Despite the pity they inspire to TV Watchers.

Among my work is no picture intended to make anyone believe I know what means suffering from war, from exodus, from drug dependance or from aids without access to a real therapy.

My heroes outrage by beeing beautiful and young, in face of those wo believe themselves to possess the norms of beauty.

These icons of youth, imprinted with defiance, arrogance, and a refusal to be subjugated, adress those who are no longer young : the wardens, the environmental polluters, the johns, the tv preachers, the photographers...

While making those portraits I hear :

„Do you see, you don't own the essential anymore. I have it, so take it!”

Finally, repeating : Those who submit themselves to my lens are beautiful. The gift contained in this act of unconditional abandonment leads us back to G.Bataille, J.Genet, or  R.W. Fassbinder.

German curator Gisela Löffler comments : « ..[Vazzoler's] documentary work, located well beyond the instant photojournalism a realm of balanced composition where a unique aesthetic is found and understood, is guided by a principle whose importance makes it one of the highest aims to which society must aspire – the dignity of man. »

Eric Vazzoler 2002

Genesis of the project

1986 : First portraits of sportsmen in Paris

2002 : First exhibition beeing called face moi  in Cologne during the festival Photoszene

2002 – 2010 : Exhibition face moi on tour : Berlin, Paris, Lodz (Grand Prix of Fotofestiwal), Strasbourg

Supports for the project

Since 1993 the persons in charge of the culture in the French Embassies and French Cultural Centers who support face moi :

Claude Crouail ( Moscow, Almaty, Ekaterinburg )

Marc Sagnol ( Dresde, Kiev, Magdeburg, Moscow )

Bernard Falga ( Moscow )

Corinne Micaelli ( Vilnius )

Dominique Paillarse ( Berlin, Prague )

Marc Nouschi ( Berlin, Warsaw )

Louis Remy ( Essen, Sofia )

Also the following Institutions :

DRAC of Alsace

Banlieues d'Europe (Lyon-Berlin)

Surface sensible (Nancy)

Brikabrak (Lodz)

The Press agency Zeitenspiegel (Stuttgart)