Julien Félix: “Les Restes…” (“Remains…”)


  • What survives after being cut off from something else.
  • Generally, whatever is not under discussion.
  • What has not been consumed.
  • Rubble, ruins.
  • Bones, ash, what survives of a body.

Remains” is a project begun in early 2012. It’s photography in connection with death, in the sense that it captures instants—remains—that will never happen again.

Photography has an (ambivalent) connection with death, or “disappearance,” capturing instants that will no longer occur. Each photographic image is in effect what remains.

What remains? What will remain? This series naturally cannot answer these questions; it deals instead with a simple observation of fragments from a previous life, then fixes them, perpetuating their trace. It creates its own remains before they’re imposed on us.

There’s also another sense for the term “remains,” that of resistance, which justifies in part the use of collodion in making this series. The use of wet collodion is, for me, an act of resistance, imposing its own “time” or “slowness” against the speed and multitude of images that confront us.

The use of this process is not as simple as it seems. It involves a level of mastery to better understand how it works and to play with its artifacts rather than the other way around. The technique allows one to emphasize the subject—when the subject lends itself to this—as in the current series, where the losses and weaknesses of the process help create a fragile and intimate universe.

A graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Epinal, Julien Félix has been photographing for fifteen years, especially in alternative methods, such as pinhole and toy cameras. His work with wet collodion over the past two years is a natural extension of such interests.