“Alter ego” was for a long time in gestation in the hollow of my shady dreams. For several years, I had investigated the theme of the double in literature (its ythological origins as well as its more recent expressions). For example, The Double by Dostoyevsky, William Wilson by Edgard Poe or Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse were for me sources of delight—and objects of study.

That is why the beings which I represent here, in these photographs, seem at the same time so fascinating and so disturbing. They seem to float, vaporous, in a universe soaked with an atmosphere of fantasy and strangeness. We feel them so close. And nevertheless, it is as if they escaped us ceaselessly. Much as in a disturbing dream…

Furthermore, I wanted to push the splitting farther and to include the photographic act itself in this process. Thus, the photographic techniques I used, in themselves, had a sort of doubling of reality. For example, duplication, multiple exposures, use of both analogue and digital techniques. I also explored visual symmetry (and asymmetry) to attain an ultimate confusion of the senses.

In these photographs, I want to weave the ancient with the modern, the beings with their image. To double the subject, double the genres. To question the notion of identity by confronting it with its copy. To move closer to our humanity. To take me away from the reality. To create the strangeness. To make it real. I want to confuse the issue, to fill with smoke the territory of identity, which we consider reassuring, in the hope of aiding its much shadier border.

—Olivier Ramonteu

Editors’ Note: We discovered this great work when Olivier Ramonteu submitted some of these photos to the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards. Even though the international jury did not select the submission as an award winner, the editors of LensCulture liked the work so much, that we decided to publish a feature article about it and post it to Facebook, as well. Enjoy!

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