How did you come to know Tristan? What was the first meeting like?
I met Tristan while working for an equestrian theatre, the Théâtre du Centaure, on
tour in Avignon. Tristan was in town for a creation residence with the crow Bayo and
the barn owl Boubo, one evening he came to see the show and stayed after the end
to have a beer with the team. When I heard him talking about his work with the birds,
I got closer. I was working on a photographic investigation on the relationship
between humans and other animals for some years and the opportunity to deal with
birds, which had been the first engine of the research since Konrad Lorenz's
jackdaws readings, seemed incredible to me. A few days later I went to visit him and
discovered a personality
delicate and at the same time tenacious, I didn't even take a picture because what I
had found seemed so important that I wanted to get to know him better first, to have
an internal point of view of the story, to enter into the life of this person, as it was in
the following two years.
How did Tristan get started with his work - has he always been fascinated by birds?
Tristan was a child, in the forest behind his parents’ house in the
Touraine region, he noticed that, if he remained still for a long time,
the animals came out of the vegetation and it was possible to observe
them. Even today, this practice of slow approach, respecting the rhythm
of nature, remains essential to his educational method. Since he studied
ecology, biology and ethology at the university, he developed an
educational technique at the intersection of imprinting, traditional
training and “positive training”. His research is based on the
understanding of the sensitivity of birds and aims to recover that
ability, which got lost over the course of evolution, of perceiving the
minimal variations and micro movements that are the expressive world of
animals. Tristan, through the intuition of animality as something
delicate, subtle and minimal, defines the relationship with birds as an
exclusive bond able to reconcile the rhythm of the species with the
What did you learn following Tristan and watching him and the birds?
The name of the project mainly alludes to how this experience educated me and how
I educated my photography to be able to tell what I saw.
Finding the right distance is a problem in photography as well as in the relationship
with others and animals, Tristan talks about according to the rhythm of the other,
about tuning in to the nature of the other in order to be able to approach him.
I have educated my sensitivity to understand details of the environment and
behaviour that are important for birds, for example how to hold a non-threatening
body position, wear clothes that are not fluttering especially if dark, have them
examine the camera closely before shooting.
I wanted to tell something invisible to the eyes and I tried to learn to recognize the
traces of inner manifestations, to see in gestures the reflection of feelings and
“Similar to a metal string (the invisible) may also not vibrate and remain inert. If it
vibrates, the intensity can become paroxysmal. The invisible is not to be looked for
far. In fact, it may not even be encountered because it’s too close” Roberto Calasso,
Il Viaggiatore Celeste, Adelphi, 2016.