Dominique Bollinger was born in Lyons, France, in 1950. He lives near Rome since 1986 and has been making photographs for over 40 years. During the 1980s, Bollinger travelled in the U.S and Mexico, photographing the landscape in color. In 1982, he won the “Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique” in Paris, for a landscape series in color from the region of “Cévennes” in France and in 1998 First Prize G.R.Namias, Milano, Italy. Since moving to Rome in 1986, the artist has worked almost exclusively in black and white, capturing the architecture and landscape of his adopted country. He opened his own gallery ( Orcia Fine Art Photography ) in Tuscany, near Siena, in 2010, and began a serie on Val d’Orcia landscapes with special 8×10” camera.
Recent exhibitions include shows at Fotosphere Gallery, New York; Flo Peters Gallery, Hamburg, Germany; Gallery Benninger, Cologne, Germany; The International Photography Gathering, Aleppo, Syria. His work has been published in UK, USA, Australia, Italy, France. He has also published 2 books (The South and Fleurs). Among the permanent collections holding Bollinger’s work are Centre Georges Pompidou and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Musée Nicephore Niepce, Chalon, France; Museo della fotografia, Caltagirone, Italy ; and he has numerous private collections in USA and Europe. He has done commercial works with Ikea, Patek Philippe, Pioneer.
How and when did you become interested in photography?
On the walls of my parent’s home, I have never seen a little painting reproduction or any image. The only images that I looked at carefully were a Chinese vase and Alsatian plates that I tried to reproduce on a piece of paper when I was ten.
When I was 14 years old, returning from holidays in Spain with my family, my brothers decided to print some photographic negatives improvising a little darkroom. It was the first time I saw the photographic process. I was amazed by the appearance of the image in the developer bath.
At 18 years old, after studies not very satisfactory, my father asked me what type of job I was interested in, I answered him : “Why not a photographer”. I saw in this medium a possibility to travel and discover the world in general.
At 23 years old, I decided to go in Africa for several months. The main reason of this travel was the photography.
Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?
So many artists ! I cannot quote all photographers, painters or musicians that help me to discover myself.
It is sure that I had a strong attraction and fascination for the American photography, in particular Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Irving Penn, Harry Callahan… and others.
But the influences change over time. Now I like the work of Garry Winogrand or Manuel Alvarez Bravo.
Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?
My first love was colour….and I printed my colour series on French, US and Mexican landscapes in Cibachrome. But since about 25 years I work mainly in black and white because I think the black and white goes more directly to the essence of the things.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
It’s very simple. When I decide a theme of a serie like for example “Turists, actors or faithful?” I go in the churches in Rome and walk, look like the cat in front of its quarry, wait for the good picture!
I work exclusively with films in different format of camera (from 35mm to 8×10’), depending on the type of work I want. It’s so intuitive.
Then either I scan the negative for digital prints on cotton paper or I print using traditional methods like silver and platinum.
Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
Well! I am not sure where my photography is going ; nevertheless I have a project of displaying in my gallery in Tuscany a serie of portraits I have done of the people living in San Quirico d’Orcia together with my Val d’Orcia landscapes. I also would like to edit a book of my Tuscany landscapes.
I devote myself to my own gallery in San Quirico d’Orcia (South of Siena) that I invite you to visit if you travel in Tuscany.