Jean-Baptiste Toussaint is a a very strong silent photographer. His empty pictures transmit a solitude that is not really one, if you look twice. He is talking to us about the sorrow in his photography and the strange brainwork of a child.
Your photographs have a haunting feeling to them. Where does it come from?
I think that’s a dominating part of my personality. I show the world as I see it. I’m constantly embraced by melancholy and sadness. I would like to be totally happy but I can’t. At the moment I answer this question somebody tortures a cat, somebody hits a child and this kind of thoughts never leave me, every day. I accumulate a lot of sorrow. I see my spirit as a prison from which some photos escape.
Some of your photos, relate somewhat to our childhood theme for the upcoming issue, do you also believe there is some darkness to childhood?
I think I admire children because unlike us, they can live alone. Their imagination will allow them very often not to feel the sadness. When I was a kid I was fascinated by ants. I lifted every stone I found to find an ant-hill. And when I found one I put about ten ants in a little box that I kept in my pocket. I didn’t need friends. I think a child can’t know the complete solitude.
How important is religious and cultural imagery in your work? Why do you choose it?
Photography is the death of the moment and I always associated religion to death. The austere side of Christianity fascinates me because it always frightened me. There was in my grandma’s bedroom a Jesus cross above the bed. The cross was hung on an old floral wallpaper. I was marked by this image. It certainly stayed.