- 2022: I fell in love with photography and bought my first camera (a Ricoh GR III)
- 2023: Launched my website and started blogging
- 2023: Registered as an artist photographer in France under the artist-author status
- 2024: Received a grant from the Paris City Hall to get my first interchangeable lens camera
Who am I?
MESAGI (pronounced ME-SA-JI) is the combination of my first and last name. I’m an introverted but sensitive and emotionally driven guy. Other than going out with my camera, I love spinning a CD to dream with music, diving into a good movie to feel different emotions, pouring a libation and lighting a cigar to burn my stress.
Millésime 1984, I’ve been a Parisian for decades. I’ve tried many things in my life—from being a trader to leading a team in renovation works—without finding success or satisfaction. I’m a dreamer, not a realist. This may explain why I jumped into photography without hesitation although it is well-known that artists are starving…
How I met photography
Summer of ’22. I’m in my late 30s, broke and lost after years of failures and depression. I’ve been trying to get a part-time job for months. In vain. You can imagine how getting rejected for crappy part-time jobs—like pedestrian crossing supervisor and grocery bags carrier—really hurt me.
I already had a foot in the world of art as an NFTs creator. Curiosity or desire (or both), pushed me to get drawing and photography books. This is how I saw for the first time a shot from street photography legend Daido Moriyama. It was an emotional shock, I’ve never felt so strongly about a photograph! The art of Daido Moriyama made me fall in love with black-and-white photography!
I bought a Ricoh GR III and more books and I trained myself to street photography in Paris. And there was no doubt in my mind: I had found my calling! Finally, I had something to hang on to in this stupid world. Something that brings me peace of mind, hope and a feeling of self-accomplishment.
How I take my photographs
I tend to say to myself that photography is a breath. The photography I’m in love with is the one I live in the moment. When I’m shooting, it’s like a dream: I don’t think, I do, I’m in the zone. Once I’m done, I have the same feeling that we all feel after waking up: a foggy mind with an incomplete recollection of the dream we had.
So, I can’t resolve myself to edit or alter my photographs after the fact. This is why all my shots are straight out of my camera. I believe, in this way, they are faithful to my feelings and to the moment when I press the shutter button while my being, material and immaterial, is immersed in the atmosphere of the place.
My black-and-white shots are no exception: they’re taken directly in monochrome in the moment and in the place. They don’t result from the conversion of color photographs into black and white with computer software.
Personal expression over rules. This is the answer I came to after tormenting myself with photographic rules for more than a year. I came to the conclusion that rules were a hindrance to my personal expression. This will be the drive behind each of the visual styles I’m working on developing right now. These styles are only seeds for now but I hope my struggles will make them blossom into visually and emotionally engaging photographs. Stay tuned…
My main influence is Daido Moriyama, he’s the one who got me to love photography. I’m particularly a fan of his compilation book Records published in France. Black-and-white movies always made a big impression on me. To cite a few: In The Soup (1992) by Alexandre Rockwell, Le Feu Follet (1963) by Louis Malle, The Stranger (1946) by Orson Welles… Music and my feelings of the moment are also part of my influences.