It was the Grand Raid des Pyrenees, an ultra trail in the french pyrenees (150 km, 9000 m D+). I was asked to
take some pictures of this second edition. The race was a real success, high sportmanship and high performance.
2. ...and the one who is deepest in your mind?
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 2008 (166 km, 9000 m D+) definitely, It was really unbelievable the way I ran this
race. I am not speaking in term of performance but rather in terms of emotions. It really push you out of your
known territory, digging well behind I have experienced before. From hallucinations due to sleep deprivation, to
pain so intense it was like an iron curtain dwelling in my mind. However some deep moments at dawn in the
mountains saved the day.
3. I guess you run and stop sometimes to do a photo?
Yes, Denis I really need to stop, shoot and go. It's not a big deal if you picture out the shot ahead of time in
you mind . It could become an issue if I try to follow some very fast folks like Lizzy Hawker or Angela Mudge
;-) during the IAU world trail challenge. I can absolutely not keep up with these kind of athlete if I stop to
have a shot.
Anyway, it is a drill and the more you practice the more it becomes naural. At certain point I can shoot more
than a thousand photos during a 12 hours race. Often we, trailers, are thinking in meter / minutes during a
climb, I could reach 2 or 3 photo / minute while running in scenic landscape...
I often do some extra meters out of the track to have the best angle as well.
4. How did you came into Trail Running and Outdoor sports?
I have a triathlete background, I grew up with this sport. Back in these years, I realized that it was in fact
the novelty of this sport that attracted me. Rules were in its infancy, and training was not as comprehensive as
today. It was this kind of environment I rooted for. I guess it is the same reasons that push me into the trail,
not a yet ruled world, we need to be creative, to try some new stuff out of the beaten tracks.
I have to confess that outdoor sports help me to realize our own impact on the ecosystem, and in its very core
values these sports are aligned with my view toward more global issues.
5. What kind of feedback do you get on your photos?
At the very beginning it was rather curiosity, but the over the years I guess I improved to a point that some
magazines were interested ;-). The runners give me extremely good feedback, as they confess to me that the
pictures allow them to live again their race yet with a different point of view. Nevertheless these kind of feedback happen more on the web. I try to stay behind my pseudo, and stay unnoticed during the races.
I was a little bit concerned for the professionnal photographs, maybe at some point I was threatening their
business. So I try to focus on new races eager to be known in the online communities I am involved with.
6. Do you observe a change in the trailrunning sport over the years?
Interesting days indeed, we are really at the gate of major changes in this sport. From the pionneer days in the
nineties, the late years of the decade see a lot more athletes coming from abroad and from other sports. This
sport was a kind of "under the radar" for the established FFA (french athletics federation) , and now is the
time to be ruled with hopes and fears as well. My only hope is to keep some core values that embody the trail in
its early days.
7. Is the french Ultratrail community a family, a real scene?
I like to think so, definitely there are common values in the ultratrail like modesty, autonomy, respect. There
is No really a star system as even the elite do not earn enough money to train 100%. Everybody has a regular job
and run for pleasure. This state of mind is moving steadily as the money flows in, anyway I think that the
community is resilient enough to dodge the impact. Time will tell...
8. More interesting: People or landscape?
I have my eyes and spirit wide open to embrace the landscape when I am running. Hence Landscape, but people are
part of the landscape.
9. Best happening while photographing?
I do not know if it is the best happening, but certainly the weirdest. I was shooting a video during a race in Auvergne (France), and my world collided with some hard core ravers. Believe it or not, we ended up running together during a few hundreds meter.
10. Your future with running and photography?
I think I am going to diversify ;-), photography and triathlon, or trekking or ?