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Alban Pernet photographer, author of the talented photo story from the Skate and Cut exhibition has graciously consented to our interview.
Surname : Pernet
Name : Alban
Town : Albiez-le-Jeune
Country : France
Profession : Independent photographer
My favorite Opinel knife : N°08 because it was my first Opinel knife. It was a gift from my parents at the age of 8… with a leather link to wear it around the neck. I was using it to be like Robinson Crusoe : to prune branches, build cabins, make bows… In recent years, I passed it on to one of my sons to do the same.
What is your professional profile
I have been taking photos since the age of 15, shooting sports I practise : ski, snowboard and mountain bike. I wanted to do it as pictures from magazines.
I’m also drawing since the age of 12, but my parents used to say « it’s not a real job ». So I’ve passed my high school diploma with an option in science. Then, I pursued my studies in mechanical engineering, at the University Institute of Technology of Annecy.
I’ve worked one year in a factory and then I’ve chosen an outdoor activity : ski lifts technician in summer and ski patroller on winter. Since 2005, I started as independent photographer, while maintaining my job on winter until 2010, when the workload became too high.
Since 2010, I alternate between photography and graphic design. It allows me to use entirely the design value chain (shooting, printing, website, logo…). But since four years, I’m glad that photography got the drop.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph ?
Tout ! Everything ! I really have an eclectic approach : passion and meetings are above all things guiding me. I like to find out diversity of differents areas. I’m working an all kind of things : from outdoor photography for tourist offices, to industrial or handicraft expertise, as well as media, construction sites, sports…
What was your approach on the sculpture of the Opinel knife, and more generally on the skatepark ?
For the skatepark, I stepped in as a volunteer. I did it because of the passion I have for skateboard and my friendship with Jérémy Durand (the project proponent). I wanted to take part in something great for us, but also for children and next generations.
I didn’t have time to be a full-time volunteer on the construction site and I though that a whole photo essay will highlight all the work done by volunteers. The participatory construction with it’s collaborative aspect, that’s the kind of project that seems important to me to promote today. I also found that the human and intergenerational part is interesting, with a project witch begins with the field of skateboard and ends up by rallying all the population.
Furthermore, this skatepark is an outstanding venue, sportingly and artistically. I’ve choosen to take pictures of the sculpture to make realize that the knife provides volume to the whole, to raise awareness of proportions in front of the elements, especially in this alpine landscape.
Where you surprised by this idea of the giant Opinel Knife ? What does it add according to you ?
It’s a great idea because Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne is a town marked by Opinel. It’s really nice that the brand agreed to take part in this initiative. It brings visibility for the goals, a greater influence. Without this brand image, it would have been difficult to gather local community and enterprises. In addition, this Opinel knife is an integral part of a volcano, it’s a unique component of the skatepark ! That makes it more than a decorative object. It draws the bystanders and skater’s attention as well.
Today, many people come to see this giant knife. This helps to expand the impact of the project, giving a tourist dimension to the site. Moreover, it should be noted that the construction goes on and the Skate and Create association is still seeking for volunteers and partners !
What does Opinel means for you, who live in Albiez ?
As a child, I was spending lot of weekends and holidays in Albiez with my family, where my parents had an apartment. I’ve developed a natural commitment for this area… I’ve caught a bit of the bug ! Born in Lyon, Albiez have been a lifestyle choice for me.
The recent Opinel place, in the village of Albiez, is the first thing that embodies the origins of Opinel knife here. In 2010, I’ve worked with the city council, on the communication around the development of this space. The aim was to breathe life in the center creating a new place offering various services (a day care, a school, a tourist office, shops…) and to highlight this essential patrimonial aspect.
The last word : if you had to define the Opinel Knife in one word ?
I’ve got a few ! Simple, efficient and sustainable… in tune with the times for over 100 years !!! In the modern world, in this era of planned obsolescence, the Opinel knife represents the simplicity and the strength of the tradition.
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