photographer - author - filmmaker - audio engineer
photographer, author, filmmaker, audio engineer
Following a rich and varied professional career spanning over forty years in photography and audiovisual productions, Michel Follorou now devotes his talents to photographic art. His experiments with the themes of light, matter and color yield intimate, intuitive, and even startling original artwork.
At present Michel Follorou's research centers on a portion of impoverished church wall of bare stone, which he has been tirelessly exploring and photographing over recent years to capture the ephemeral effects of light on its surface. The rare keenness and sensitivity of his gaze transform the ordinary into an abstract, resolutely contemporary, innovative work of art.
Capturing and crafting light as a painter works colors and motifs, Michel Follorou transfigures the portion of decaying stone wall, eaten away by saltpeter, into a wealth of surprisingly diverse photographic tableaux of astonishing richness, purity and beauty.
The experiences which have sustained his artistic awareness received official recognition early on in his career. One of Michel Follorou's most significant productions was his landmark exhibition of photos, Rencontres en Inde (“Encounters in India”). It was hailed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Ministry of Culture, which sponsored the exhibition's six-year tour of India. Michel Follorou's work abroad continued with a succession of photographic reporting in Tibet, Nepal, and Africa (Togo, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, etc.).
In France, Michel Follorou established a name for himself as early as the 1970s, when he caught the eye of a number of major news magazines for his fieldwork which investigated topics of French society. He won acclaim in the 1980s for his photojournalism about the homeless, hospices, and the outcasts of society. His work on the tragic recurrences of oil spills from shipwrecked tankers off the coast of Brittany resulted in photo exhibitions, the publication of a book, and a film for television.
At the same time, Michel Follorou continued to write/produce reporting on a wide range of topics: Mort au couvent de soeur Louise (“Death in the convent of Sister Louise”), Sylvia Davis, poétesse anglaise (“Sylvia Davis, English poetess”), Bartolomeo Formantelli, facteur d'orgue (“Bartolomeo Formantelli, organ maker/restorer”), among others.
Alongside Michel Thersiquel, Guy Hersant, and Alain Le Noailles, Michel Follorou co-founded the photography collective, SELLIT. His photographs won recognition by such specialists as Willy Ronis, Irina Ionesco, and Gisèle Freund, who encouraged him to exhibit more widely.
Michel Follorou joined the Rapho agency in 1978.
In the 1980s Michel Follorou worked with the television station France 2 on programmes including Voir and Fenêtre sur..., and also made a series of films and short films. In 1982 he met filmmaker Jeanne Labrune, and conducted photographic work for her during the shooting of the film Prédateurs starring Maurice Garrel and Roland Blanche. In 1983 the television programme Flash 3 devoted an episode to Michel Follorou, thus placing him among the eminent photographers documented by the show (Jeanloup Sieff, Lucien Clergue, Helmut Newton, Robert Doisneau, and Jacques-Henri Lartigue).
As an audio engineer and producer from 1985 onward, Michel Follorou's research on sound and audio environments led him to the ACR (radiophonic workshop) at the national public radio, France Culture, where he worked with Alain Trutat and René Farabet. In this context Michel Follorou made a film about Yann Paranthoën, Check-up du Nagra IV S 3328.
In 1995 Michel Follorou founded the company AMF Production, followed in 1997 by a television production and post-production unit, in addition to a sound recording and production studio.
Photography, audiovisual, and sound in all forms as vehicles of expression nourish Michel Follorou's attentiveness and acute sensitivity to his environment, enabling him to capture the quintessence of the situations he witnesses to uncover their emotional impact. Over a period of two decades, Michel Follorou has shot some hundred portraits of such personalities as Edgar Morin, the Dalai Lama, Dominique Desanti, Simone Veil, William Christie, Karine Saporta, Ana Ventura, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Yves Coppens, Michael Lonsdale, Hisashi Okuyama, and Yann Paranthoën.