I am Fred Mortagne, 47, I work and live in Lyon, France. People also call me French Fred, although I’m not your typical nor classical french guy. I don’t eat meat, I don’t smoke cigarettes, but yeah I drink coffee.
What I shoot keeps on evolving. My catalogue of topics and series is constantly growing. Having grown up skateboarding in urban environments, for a long time I could not shoot at all in natural environments, nor I enjoyed so much being there indeed. They did not have the ingredients I was seeking for my photography. Well that’s what I believed, which was completely false. I now enjoy very much shooting in natural landscapes, not only for what I get to capture, but also for the great experiences of being out there, living spectacular moments. I found the keys I was missing. When looking at it in a certain way, the natural world can be incredibly minimalist and full of various types of geometries. And I like to look at it in my own way.
I evolved as a (part-time) photographer with particular conditions over the years throughout my career of making skateboarding videos. Shooting on rare occasions, always in a rush, with short and limited shooting sessions, often with no more than 5 minutes to shoot, without any option of coming back later. The most important thing I learned from skateboarding is the faculty of adaptation, and in photography, it proves to be a very important factor. Therefore, I always say that light is almost always perfect. I just figure out how to adapt to given conditions, as I am most likely to not have a second chance. If it’s sunny, I’ll shoot accordingly to that, if it’s overcast, the ingredients are different and I make a different recipe.
For a long time, my skateboarding travels were determining what I was shooting. I made sure to take advantage of all these great opportunities to shoot pictures in new places. It eventually contributed to define my style. The constant search for the perfect (concrete) waves exposed me to urban biotopes and epic modern architectures. That led to look out for the geometries in the cities, and it contributed to train my eye (the left one!) and define my style. Travelling across the planet to skate new skate spots mostly involving modern architectures, also invited me to develop a certain concept in my body of work. In my pictures, the spectator never really knows where the scenes takes place. I like to blur the lines and confuse the audience, to indirectly criticize the globalisation of the world. City centers look more and more like each other, and become cloned amusement parks for tourists. But while commercial barriers vanish, new walls and borders are being built, separating worlds, always for the worse.
It’s great to look at the world through the prism of photography. It makes you look differently. It revels parallel worlds, other dimensions, hidden poetry. There can potentially be as many interesting photographers than humans on the planet, as we are all singular and look at the world from our unique perspective. Before picking up a camera, I was like blind to a lot of things. And now, there are some things that are so obvious to me, and I realise that other people do not see them at all, while it’s right in front of them. But sometimes, they choose not to see. Part of my job is to reveal stuff we want to keep under the carpet.