Maxime Imbert – [↑] Untitled (2016); [↓] Untitled (2015)
There are three things that traipse through my brain whenever I see Imbert’s work.
- His use of color shows similarities to other London based editorial image makers–I’m thinking of Steph Wilson mainly but there’s an argument to be made that Harley Weir should be considered also; the unifying thread seems to be a sort of rediscovery of the super-saturated, lurid porn aesthetic of the 70s. (Imbert pushes it further than either, however; typically picking two of the primary colors in each scene and punching them until they bleed everywhere.)
- The top image here reminds me of June Canedo’s tendency to frame subjects from below so they they appear imposing/statuesque.
- The top image as well as the image below it re-contextualize perspectives more familiar to pornography in a fashion/editorial/lifestyle genre hybrid.
All that is enough to render me intrigued. And while I do not think Imbert’s unusual angles always work out as well as the top image, there’s a consistency to what he’s attempting that I really appreciate.
I think the best way to explain what I mean is that when I first got into film making, I was a huge Tarantino/Rodriquez fan person. I was always in awe of all the dynamic compositions. Specifically, I’m recalling seeing From Dusk Till Dawn in the theater. I watched it again when it came out on video and was very disappointed in it. The reason was it reminded me of a movie that didn’t choose what was important and thus showed you inserts of every little detail that did nothing to advance the story. It seemed sloppily and slavishly style-over-content to me.
And you can say that about Imbert, he clearly has some idea of what he’s doing because even when his images don’t entirely work, they make logical sense.
For example, take this image by another artist that is also from an usual perspective. I love what it implies but as an image, it’s kind of a failure since there’s no way for me to really see anything by which to engage the image; it’s not unlike a sentence fragment.
Imbert presents complete sentences. Occasionally he manages something quiet sublime. But even when his work doesn’t resonate it’s brimming with style, curiosity and creative bravura. And that goes a long way in this day and age where so much of everything is a shitty copy of a bootleg made from a deteriorated original.