For many years photographer Charles Haumont has been scrutinizing the crossroads and main streets of large modern cities. With the aim of setting up large format installations he uses the public space as his shooting scene, particularly in Brussels where he lives, but also in other big cities like London, Berlin or Tokyo. Haumont creates sculptural images from anonymous crossed in the crowd a fragment of a second, and caught in their postures, emotional or not, with their ornaments, outfits, dresses, jewellery, make-up, tattoos. Many people prepare themselves with great attention to detail before entering the scene of the public space, where they are exposed to the view of others.
In so doing Charles Haumont creates a phenomenological photography, depicting the ineffable experience of being immersed in the crowd. Inside the public space we play a character through our postures, our gestures, our glances, and the outfits we choose to wear. This character is produced by the latency of a whole set of possible movements or postures, which make us different from robots, resin models or silicone dolls. Our postures displayed in public are the result of the imaginary life of our body : our gestures are traces of our history.
In turn the perception of the other’s body influences the link between the seeing and the seen. This mechanism is made obvious by the jubilation, often depicted in Haumont’s images, of the people immersed in the crowd. The street is a language, and being immersed in the language is jubilant. Through this game of mirrors between the seeing and the seen builds gradually, over the construction of the work, a poetics of the capture of gestures, emotions, adornments, of the jubilation of these anonymous figures fleetingly encountered in the middle of the crowd.
The artistic project Charles Haumont shows is also political : he wants his work to reflect the crowds, the societies he went accross. The name of the project – We the People – refers to the first words of the Constitution of the United States of America, together with the song written in by iconic American hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest as a protest against recurrent themes of exclusion dominating the last american presidential campaign. As an integral part of his artistic project Haumont has chosen the location of his studio right in the middle of the public space where a large part of his shootings were made, the centre of Brussels.