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May 3, 2024


An Artistic Expedition

Photography by Romain Coudrier
Story by Romain Coudrier and Melanie Meggs

In the realm of contemporary photography, there are those whose work transcends mere imagery, delving deep into the essence of human experience. One such luminary is emerging photographer Romain Coudrier, whose journey has been a testament to the power of visual storytelling and the indomitable spirit of artistic exploration.

Since his early twenties, capturing moments had become more than just a pastime — it had evolved into an inseparable part of his daily existence. While interning in various companies, Romain seized every opportunity to wander the streets alone. Whether it was a leisurely stroll to buy a baguette or a chance encounter on a quiet street corner, he believed that beauty could be found in even the most mundane of circumstances.

The seeds of his photographic journey were sown during a transformative two-month immersion in the vibrant streets of Nepal. Here, he found himself drawn to the poignant journeys of street children, each step a testament to resilience and hope. It was this poignant encounter that enabled Romain to tame documentary photography, culminating in his inaugural long-term project, “Coeurs Orphelins,” unveiled in 2014.

His fascination with the urban landscape would later manifest in his project “Je n'aime plus Paris,” a personal reflection on a decade of life in the bustling capital, unveiled in 2022.

Despite his commitment to photography, Romain juggled his responsibilities at a media agency for several years alongside his creative pursuits. While the allure of photography eventually took hold of this self-taught artist, his professional expertise continues to infuse his work with a unique quality.

Reflecting on the value of formal education in the field, Romain emphasizes that a degree should not serve as a barrier or a prerequisite for pursuing photography seriously. “Obviously, having a degree in a field is always beneficial. But this should not become an excuse or a prerequisite which would condition a serious and ambitious practice of photography. The important thing is to be able to reinvest your personal and professional experience and to remain open to new lessons. Especially since photography today is no longer just about knowing how to use your camera, you have to know how to find opportunities, whether you like it or not, whether to earn a living or simply progress in your practice” explains Romain, for whom each exhibition and each project serves as a catalyst for meeting new people and refining his practice.

Romain echoes the sentiments of Belgian singer Jacques Brel, who famously dismissed the notion of inherent talent, asserting that true talent lies in the unwavering desire to pursue one’s dreams. In Romain’s view, success is not merely a product of innate ability but rather the result of relentless dedication and discipline. He subscribes to the belief that genuine artistry is born from a steadfast commitment to excellence and an unwavering passion for one's craft.

In spite of his efforts, participation in competitions, forums, and other photography platforms failed to provide the expected boost. Romain found himself amidst a slump, grappling with the prevailing sense that community building had overshadowed genuine passion for photography. Regardless of whether this perception was accurate or not, the disappointment lingered.

However, a serendipitous encounter at a small gallery in the seventeenth borough of Paris breathed new life into Romain’s artistic journey. Engaging in discussions with the gallery owner, these informal weekly meetings became a source of inspiration and rejuvenation for him. Whether it was admiring the play of light in an image or receiving feedback on his compositions, these interactions left an indelible mark on Romain’s creative process.

Although the gallery has since closed its doors, the connections forged within its walls remain etched in Romain’s memory. He acknowledges the profound impact of human connection on his work, drawing inspiration from chance encounters and everyday moments. Whether it’s a fleeting conversation in the office or a shared ride with a stranger while hitchhiking, Romain finds inspiration in the camaraderie of others. This innate curiosity about the world and its inhabitants permeates his photography, infusing even the most seemingly empty scenes with depth and meaning. While not every encounter may be captured on film, their essence is woven into the fabric of Romain’s pictures, enriching his artistic vision.

Romain recalls a transformative experience during an internship with a prestigious French magazine and gallery. Immersed in a world of visual storytelling, he found his artistic boundaries expanding. Amidst the captivating images that surrounded him, Romain felt his creative horizons broadening.

Immersed in this creative milieu, Romain underwent a “Pictorialism” phase, a period of exploration and experimentation. Armed with his camera, he delved into the intricacies of angles, framing, composition, and the subtle interplay of light and shadow. While Romain hesitated to label himself a disciple of these masters, their influence on his artistic sensibilities was undeniable. Their images, steeped in emotion and narrative, seeped into Romain’s psyche, shaping his evolving practice.

As time passed, Romain’s artistic journey took on new dimensions. It was as if every twist and turn had led him to this pivotal moment, where he stood poised to explore the depths of his own photographic vision.

The “Bifröst” series, born from two weeks of exploration north of the Arctic Circle in 2023, encapsulates this nomadic spirit. Here, amidst the timeless landscapes, Romain found himself mesmerized by the subtle interplay between myth and modernity, weaving together a narrative that transcended the boundaries of time. Join us as we delve into the depths of Romain Coudrier’s photographic journey, where every frame tells a story of exploration and wonder.


Embarking on a journey to the rugged terrains of Norway, Romain Coudrier ventured beyond the Arctic Circle, weaving his way from the urban bustle of Tromsø in Troms and Finnmark County to the serene expanses of the Lofoten Islands in Nordland County, and back again. Along this captivating path, Romain captured the essence of the “Land of the Fjords,” revealing a landscape veiled in snow and mystery, where the sea meets the mountains in a symphony of contrasts. Amidst this breathtaking scenery, he discovered the allure of rare light and subtle shades, immortalizing each moment in striking black and white, evoking a sense of timeless beauty with every click of his camera shutter.

Romain meanders through the “film noir” setting with the curiosity of a newcomer. Gone are the typical postcard scenes of charming red wooden houses and the ethereal Northern Lights.

Captured through the lens of a 35mm camera, these photographs are often the result of a single spontaneous shot, reflecting Romain's embrace of simplicity. He no longer hesitates to wander aimlessly, embracing the opportunity to explore random routes. It's a method of immersing oneself in the untamed beauty of nature, a landscape steeped in the rich cultural tapestry of the Vikings and Nordic mythology.

As historians increasingly emphasize, the Vikings were not merely warriors but also adept merchants, a fact that Romain subtly nods to amidst Norway’s vast expanses. Despite traversing these remote locales, the pervasive influence of mass consumption is impossible to ignore, serving as a sobering reminder of the contemporary world.

Meanwhile, the presence of the locals themselves is ephemeral, their fleeting encounters leaving behind mere traces in the snow. It’s as if they've ventured off toward distant horizons, leaving behind a landscape ripe for exploration and contemplation.

Romain skillfully merges the unchanging terrain with its inhabitants and their fleeting moments. Through his lens, “Bifröst” emerges as a bridge, facilitating a passage between distinct worlds, each with its own essence and temporality.

In Romain’s photographic journey, the allure of black and white imagery has been a regular companion, but this is the first time that this has resulted in a formal project. With “Bifröst”, he meticulously crafts scenes with bold contrasts, rich textures, and a pronounced grain, all characteristic of this timeless aesthetic. For Romain, black and white isn’t merely a stylistic choice; it’s a deliberate means to transcend boundaries and evoke a peculiar temporality unique to his vision.

In the realm of “Bifröst,” this monochromatic palette serves as a tribute to the raw, frigid landscapes and the perpetual darkness that envelops them. It captures the essence of an almost foreboding atmosphere, where silence reigns supreme. Reflecting on his process, Romain muses, “It’s curious, but in hindsight, black and white amplifies the silence that dominates these spaces. I’m fascinated by this idea of unexpected quietude, akin to hearing the distinct accent of a character in a novel. In “Bifröst,” I revel in the notion of embracing the silence.”

In Romain’s vision, black and white serves as a tool to strip away the vibrancy of consumerist moments, blending them into an almost primal ambiance despite modern trappings. It's akin to a seamless barrier of snowflakes traversing the series, bridging two disparate worlds.

This notion of a bridge, embodied in his project “Bifröst,” captivates Romain deeply. It represents an arc connecting the mystical landscapes with the everyday existence of the scarcely noticed individuals inhabiting the region. Here, Romain masterfully intertwines a timeless geography steeped in myth and folklore with the fleeting passage of its inhabitants. Through the medium of black and white, he fosters anachronism, seamlessly linking images of ageless vistas with contemporary scenes of consumption. Embedded within these images lie subtle references, weaving a tapestry that draws parallels between epochs.

As we conclude our exploration of Romain Coudrier’s photographic journey, we are left with a profound appreciation for the transformative power of visual storytelling. Through his lens, Romain invites us to embark on a voyage of discovery, traversing the rugged terrains of Norway and delving deep into the essence of human experience.

In “Bifröst,” Romain skillfully navigates the delicate balance between myth and modernity, capturing the timeless beauty of Norway’s landscapes while offering a poignant commentary on contemporary society. Through the lens of black and white photography, he transcends temporal boundaries, inviting us to contemplate the silent majesty of the natural world.

As we bid farewell to Romain’s captivating narrative, we are reminded of the words of Belgian singer Jacques Brel, who famously proclaimed that true talent lies not in inherent ability, but in the unwavering desire to pursue one's dreams. In Romain’s case, this sentiment rings true, as he continues to push the boundaries of his artistic vision, one frame at a time.

Venturing into uncharted realms of storytelling, Romain embarks on his latest exploration, “TMPC” (2024 - ongoing), a contemplative exploration spanning nine months of hitchhiking across Europe. Through this bold expedition, he immerses himself in the essence of the European adventure, diverging from the well-worn paths of mass tourism.

Meanwhile, amidst the rugged terrain of Tabernas, Andalusia, emerges the “Dead Saloon” project. Here, Romain navigates the sun-drenched landscapes, blending elements of fashion and narrative against the iconic backdrop of the Spaghetti Western genre.

For further insights into Romain Coudrier’s adventures, follow the links below and join him on his transformative journeys.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author/s, and are not necessarily shared by The Pictorial List and the team.

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