Flying High, Longlist - Personal

Ali

Julien Soulier

Partizan

My obsession with communities of passionate people took me to the Prado beach in Marseille in December 2020. On this open-air gym, you can see normal people doing unusual things. Every training session is a family reunion. Ali, 22, is considered as a French pioneer in this domain. I've spent hours watching him spin around a metal bar with the same question: What's going on in this kid's head? I first started to photograph him to document his daily life and I went back with a VHS camera to find out more. The interviews and testimonies allowed me to build my narrative and the voice-over. I wanted to free myself from the raw performance to capture the poetry of his movements. My intention was to make a short format film at the crossroads of documentary, fiction and video. Shooting in 16mm film and in a fixed shot was my wish from the beginning to make this topic photographic. Zooming into the picture to give the feeling of entering his mind. Through Ali's portrait, I wanted to understand how this new generation breaks free from codes to make them their own.

Julien Soulier is a director and photographer from Paris. For many years, he has dedicated himself to capture raw and authentic universes, delivering powerful and touching stories. Discovering rare communities, travelling through vast landscapes, but also moving portraits are recurring themes in his work. It all began in 2014 when he went to Canada to document the Demolition Derby drivers in a series of photographs exhibited at Les Rencontres d'Arles. Following his experiences in Canada, Julien flew to Dublin to make a music video for the French Rone artist. The film narrates the story of a group of riders which decides to leave the city to escape from their poor suburb. Always looking for new topics to capture, Julien Soulier collaborates with artists such as Lewis Ofman, Rejjie Snow, Angel Haze, Caravane Palace and makes portraits for magazines like M du Monde, Numéro ou I-D. According to Julien Soulier, film and photography are one and the same.