Manuel Braun

Graduated from Les Beaux-Arts,Manuel Braun is a Swiss-French photographer, born in Geneva in 1980, whose work focuses on portraiture and fashion.

His portraits of artists, writers,philosophers, politicians, and designers, published in the most famous French and InternationalMagazines reveals a cinematographic approach of photography, with a technical mastery of the light and atmospheres.

Beyond the portrait, Manuel Braun is also captivated by the electric atmosphere of the Catwalks, where he loves to capture colors,materials, dynamics and bold silhouettes.

Manuel Braun also carries out personal projects. In his residency at the French Institute of Egypt in Alexandria, he carries out a photographic project in collaboration with Jean-Paul Méhansio, an Ivorian contemporary dancer. « Alexandria on stage »a dreamlike story of a city in perpetual metamorphosis. In Paris, he carried out several projects on societal issues such as the inter-generational issue in the project «Hier ce sera mieux». This project combines sound and image in a short film. Then, « En corps et encore », a series about old people that still love each other. He also works on gender issues, with his project "T-Girls", a series of portraits of transgender people coupled with interviews, shown in the Arles Photography Festival in 2018. 


Work

Décors (2021)

During his residency at la Cocoteraie des Arts in 2021, Manuel reunites with his long time Ivorian friend and dancer Jean Paul Mehansio and creates Décors, a series portraying young dancers.

Manuel,accompanied by Jean Paul, visits Abodo, a working-class neighborhood of Abidjan and introduces him to a dance company called Debass.

The company, created in 2015 by a retired teacher named Tiémoko, a passionate dancer, is a unique dance company offering the opportunity to young girls, abandoned by their family, to learn, practice and perform dance.

Manuel is struck by the talent and charisma of the children of Abodo and begins to create a series of their portraits. Never changing his method, he photographs them dancing under the guidance of Jean-Paul,in their own urbanized environment, transforming Abodo into a vast open dance studio.

The goal being to transcend the young dancers, to capture their energy and the dynamics of their bodies. Avoiding any sense of compassion and sordid reality in this emblematic district of Abidjan.

Babi Foot (2021)

Inthe football club « Casy Foot » located in the heart of Yopougon, a working class neighborhood of Abidjan, young men aged 15to 18 live and breathe for football. They are training in a football academy where they practice every day and, in parallel, follow a school curriculum-- the condition to be part of the club.

Whatever the weather, sweating heavily, they practice and practice in theburning sun and flying dust. With their colorful cleats, wearing their team jersey, glorifying the club’s president, they promise victory at every game…

In his series Babi Foot, Manuel Braun captured in a unique sense the light, the heat, the bright colors, the spirit of these young men and their passion for football.

Published in A-Part Magazine “Mi-temps”issue, Babi Foot created during residency at La Cocoteraie des Arts and incollaboration with the Galery Veornique Rieffel, Yopougon, Côted'Ivoire, Avril 2020

Mélées(2020)

In this series, started in 2020, Manuel Braun abandons the subject to grasp the body in its material dimension. It approaches the Being to better capture its essence. This series approaches humanity as an experience. His pictures don’t only capture images but feelings.Unlike the actual strange time that we are experiencing, which puts the bodies at a distance and inhibits the senses, this series is an ode to body contact. The feeling of the skin during a handshake, the sensation of bodies that meet and touch all come to an intensereality in the lens of Manuel Braun.

Barriers fall, distances fade: would it be possible to "touch with the eyes"?

Alexandrie en scènes (2014)

Having come to Alexandria in search of a new inspiration and new subjects, like the painters of the 19th century attracted by the lightof the Orient, Manuel Braun found on the spot the Ivorian dancerJean-Paul Méhansio, himself at the search for other choreographic practices in a country whose cultural identity oscillates between its African roots and its Mediterranean openness.

From this meeting was born a crossing of the unusual city, far from the images of postcards, in places sometimes abandoned,neglected and unknown to the Alexandrines themselves, whose eye of the photographer reveals the strange beauty.

How to appropriate spaces, to inhabit them, to make them visible when one is here in transit, foreigners, sometimes disoriented, andin what way this otherness makes it possible to renew a vision of acity which is continually the subject of literary representation and aesthetic?

The series races this artistic and human adventure through images that construct a dreamlike, unusual and mysterious story of a city in perpetual metamorphosis, whose plasticity offers the artists' duo a freedom of movement and a unique look.

Sometimes close to the religious scene with its inverted blackchrists, its suffering Saints Sebastian and its infernal creatures,sometimes close to the aesthetics of urban dance with its jumps and improvised postures, these highly pictorial images form real paintings composing the portrait of a city that is both timeless and moving.


News

Manuel Braun, finalist of BNL BNP Paribas Award 2021

Manuel Braun, presneted by the Galerie Véronique Rieffel at MIA Photo Fair 2021 is one of the finalist for the BNL BNP Paribas Award 2021 that will be given on Wednesday, Otober 6 during the preview of MIA Photo Fair.

The photograph chosen for the price is Maéva. The scene played out in this photograph of the series Décors is particularly narrative echoing classical painting composition with the figure looking at the girl dancing recklessly.The photograph is strong since the girl poses in front of a room where genital mutilations are practiced: the innocence of childhood is thenopposed to the burden and violence of sometraditions that remain deeply held in part of the society.

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