Charles Negre & Thomas Rousset discuss their latest publication and the processes involved – the images they left out, working on the design with Etudes Studio and travelling around Indonesia.
Could you tell us how 164° On The Equator came to be?
We never worked together before, it was back in 2014 and we definitely wanted to do something consistent, far away and for quite a long period of time. Kind of an artist residency of our own, so we decided to leave for 2 months, only working on this project in Indonesia.
Did you always intend to stay for this length of time for this project?
Luckily we got to travel a lot on locations all the time so those 2 months were very full and productive because we got excited by all the people, the props and décors we could use. We had a residency for the last 2 weeks which helped us make all the studio shots, which was very different and important in shaping the whole project.
Making pictures in Indonesia
Can you share some details on the collaboration between yourselves and what roles you each took in the making of the publication?
Well, it was pretty hard to agree on everything and make the work happen smoothly, but I guess it’s when arguing and thinking about solutions that you are the most creative. We had roles too, organising things or through technical aspects, we had a routine and we gave each others tasks that fitted our personalities and working process (which is quite different).
For the publication, it was a lot of back and forth, a lot of testing and talking.
At what point did you involve Études Studio?
It became obvious when we wanted to give this publication a specific form that regular book editors would not understand our intentions, plus we worked with them in the past, everything was easier.
Installation shots from the exhibit at Études store in Paris.
“I guess it’s when arguing and thinking about solutions that you are the most creative”
How did you work with Études to shape the publication? What was your input in the design process?
It’s what happens when you work with creatives like you, everyone wants a radical and strong input on the design so we had a lot of different dummies on the table before agreeing on one. It took more than a year, and at the end I think it is a pretty smart addition of their design and our vision.
Did you take any images of the process while making the publication?
We went through many different processes including weird book dummies on our own, an exhibition in Geneva where the book was totally different and now this one which is the definitive form for the project.
Images from 164° On the Equator, published by Études Studio.
What were some of the decisions made in choosing the photographs that made it into the publication? could you share some images of what was left out?
That was very hard, when you work a very long time on a project, sometimes it is difficult to be objective and to question critics about some images, you develop an affective aspect for some images even though sometimes and often they are not that good. So understanding and being objective while selecting 30 pictures among 200 was the hardest part, we still can not agree on some choices with Études 🙂 and on the other hand some selections they have made were very smart and we could not think about it.
Images cut from the final publication.
The images that were left out, are they still part of your portfolio?
Yes, every image can can be used in a different context too, it just needs to be pertinent somewhere else (in a portfolio, in an exhibition, etc..)