An espresso with…
Didier Jallais

Image Credits: Didier Jallais © Oleg Panov

September 20, 2018

Winner of the World Jazz Photo

The French photographer Didier Jallais was awarded the last edition of the World Jazz Photo. It just takes a quick look to his website to understand that his interests and his ability of causing an emotion aren’t only connected to improvised music. JazzEspresso had an interview with him, just for you.

Who’s Didier Jallais?
I’m 67 years old, I am a dentist who has been working for 43 years in Cholet, a 60.000 inhabitant city in western France. But I’m going into retirement in exactly 5 days, on June 22! This will allow me to dedicate myself much more to my second job, photography.
Photography is, in effect, one on my passions, as flying helicopters, running (I am a marathon runner) music (I’m a clarinettist), and much more.
Why did you choose jazz photography? What does it mean, for you, to have been awarded the 2018 edition of the World Jazz Photo?
I usually say that I’m a photograph, not only a jazz photograph, but especially of improvised music. Even if have a classical music background, I’ve always loved jazz a lot. Now, as everybody knows, no jazz concert really looks like the previous one or the following, as improvisation is a part of this music’s genes. So, even if you have assisted to many concerts by the same musician, it’s absolutely impossible to know what to expect and that’s exactly this uncertainty that I like. This forces you to be very concentrated in order to catch the key moment, dear to Cartier-Bresson.
Moreover, I’m very proud of the first prize of the Jazz World Photo I was awarded in 2018 as well as in 2014, because there were more than 300 photographers coming from 30 countries all over the world. It has been, since the first time in 2014, an astounding catalyst which has made me known almost everywhere and a gateway to jazz festivals, especially Marciac.           
Would you like to share with us an anecdote about your relationships with jazz musicians?
I could speak of my casual meeting with Ibrahim Maalouf in a shop in New York, as well as of a very interesting discussion I had an evening with Gilberto Gil, in Marciac’s backstage.
I do have a lot of anecdotes, but probably the nicest is about the singer Cyrille Aimée. I took pictures of her almost three years ago in Marciac and she liked one of my photos a lot. She asked me to use it firstly on social networks and, for her birthday and another concert in France I gave her many copies of it. We met again a lot of times, we became friends et she recently asked me to sell her the rights for her last live CD cover because as she says, she considers this photo as mythic!  
In your work, we can catch sign of the big masters… What could you suggest to young photographers approaching this art?
As in every other discipline, and photography does not escape this rule, we need masters who begin, obviously to be imitated. But I believe that, in some way, you should quickly find your own way, your own style, your own trademark, without forcing in order to be liked. You should let your personality come out and it’s by doing this that I think our photos become immediately recognisable.
Which is your favourite gear?
For a long time, I have taken my photographs with Nikon equipment (I owe a D4 with the most used lens for this kind of photography: 70-200 f2.8, but I recently started to use Fuji equipment (XT2 with 50-140 f2.8 and 16 mm f1.4 lenses), which are lighter and almost as performant. All my photos are shot in RAW format and then I use the NX2 Nikon proprietary software for the D4 and LightRoom for the Fuji. I do not use Photoshop.
Is there a pic you’d wish you’ve taken?
Yes, there’s an artist I absolutely would have liked to photograph, but this is not possible as he left for the paradise of trumpeters, and I never had the chance of attending one of his concerts. That’s Miles Davis…

Images © Didier Jallais
Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有;

Didier Jallais Interview 2018 Leonardo Schiavone Jazzespresso Jazz Magazine – copyright 2018 

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