Jacques P: The World The Way He Sees It!
We search for photographic talent far and wide, then miss the obvious: the nearby star shining brightly.
Jacques Pontbriand’s illustrious photographic career spans the gamut from large-format work for a who’s who of clients, to personal projects that showcase a special insight and understanding of his subjects. He has been a commercial and art photographer for over thirty years, always using the most suitable equipment for the job at hand. About ten years ago, when he decided to slow down the pace of his successful career, it was not surprising that Jacques began exploring what Leica M photography could do for his personal vision. Here is what impresses me most: not once has he tried to emulate the photographers of the 50s, 60s, and 70s who created what we know as the aesthetic of Leica M photography. Instead, he applies his own principles, discipline, and coherent vision to the camera, producing a body of work that is unique, cohesive and enduring.
Take a look at his recent photography with the Monochrom. His essay on the Hudson River Valley is impressive, with images that delight, surprise and illuminate through a considered approach to a subject that is familiar to most. The rich, sumptuous textures and tones of his black-and-white images are completely appropriate to the landscape, in a subject about as far removed from traditional M photography as can be imagined! This is typical fare for a Pontbriand photoessay. He consistently elevates the capacity of the traditional M, the digital M and, most recently, the Monochrom to unimagined levels.
Jacques is eager to share his wealth of knowledge and experience, and I happily acknowledge that he has set me straight on more than one occasion. Most recently, he demonstrated the true capacity of the X Vario in a series of photos that challenged me to look beyond the slow f/stop and appreciate what that sensor and lens combination could produce: images unmatched by any other compact camera on the market.