The word "art" is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one's work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics.
Manuel Álvarez Bravo, (1902-2002, mexican photographer)


Introduced to camerawork and the darkroom at the end of the 1970s, Dominique Lafleur has been a photographer for over 35 years. In 1987, he was astonished by the discovery of the work of Edward Weston and that of Ansel Adams, whose original photographs he had the opportunity to see. He became familiar with their tools and techniques and since then has dedicated himself almost exclusively to shooting with large-format cameras and expanded his knowledge and practise of the zone system. He has also been influenced by the meticulous search for elegant forms in Mapplethorpe’s images, among others. Lafleur took a detour into the field of professional photography before turning to the literary domain. After a pause, he (re)discovered digital photography and its materialization in the form of ink-jet prints. Most recently, he has been inspired by the street photography of Vivian Maier, the very particular style of Sebastião Salgado, and the very formal work of Julia Gospodarou, who redefined and adapted the 20th century’s zone system to the 21st century’s digital technologies. For a number of years, the artist also dedicated himself to studying and teaching literature. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University, he earned a Master’s degree in Didactic Theory of Knowledge at the Université de Montréal. He also completed a doctorate in Didactics of Compared Literature and Music. This trajectory led him to a twenty-year career teaching literature. In addition to his post-graduate studies and his various photographic portfolios, which he continually enhances, Lafleur is creating a number of interdisciplinary projects. Some combine photography and literature while others link music and literature. . .


The advent of the digital age has greatly altered my notion of photography, which can now be accomplished in the manner of the Camera lucida (Barthes), thus in the full light of day. For me, the photographic act is initially the manifestation of pure spontaneity. The desire to produce an image involves a visual watchfulness for beauty found in the present moment, somewhat in the manner of Art Brut, which refers to a practise that is both spontaneous and intuitive, at first outside of any trends. Photography thus shares certain of its characteristics with the fragment theory, which is then applied : it involves the physical carving out of a portion of reality. With each work, whether it is produced as the result of a premeditated project (the decision to “do” a portrait, “do” a nude, or any similar project) or as the result of a spontaneous event (taking a walk), fragments are assembled into portfolios. Afterwards comes a period of reflection, during which I wonder “what will be layered onto the paper.” At this point, cultural references and an intellectual approach come into play. I consider myself to be a typical practitioner of Straight Photography (though not exclusively so). However, as I continually try to transcend the primary condition of the snapshot (its gratuitous instantaneousness is a matter of chance), experience has shown me that photography is a contemplative art of the "seen".

For me, the image that is then re-presented in a “staging” on paper originates in the visual arts. Following an approach that is most often simple and direct (but that is also sometimes created through manipulations drawn from the fine arts), substance and form are united according to the rules of the photographical (in other words, photography and its components) to produce a concrete “work”. Photography is included in the great family of works on paper, as are serigraphy, linocuts, lithography, watercolour, etc. Today, in fact, the term ‘photograph’—drawing with light—may have an almost literal meaning since a print can now be produced with a giclée printer equipped with pigmented inks (as opposed to those made with solvents) on 100% cotton rag paper. Ultimately, the beauty of the print, the final work on paper, remains my primary concern.


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