Jean-Claude N’doumbé Cote D’ivoire X France
Staring into the painterly strokes of Jean-Claude N’Doumbé’s photographs, we can almost hear the jazzy sounds of Miles Davis or John Coltrane that the fashion designer-turned photographer might have been listening to while composing his images. Each photograph evokes a sense of movement and colour that blurs its subject to a point just shy of abstraction and surrealism, and we are left wondering what is happening both inside and outside the subject’s world.
None of this is incidental, for this is the way N’Doumbé approaches his subject matter. His process sits in the space of being an observer “caught between two images: the ones (he) has in mind and the other ones (in front of him).” Photographing these observations thus forms the bridge between the outer and inner worlds of the observer.
Born in Cote D’Ivoire and raised in Paris – where he graduated from École Supérieure Des Arts et Techniques De La Mode (ESMOD) and embarked on a career in fashion – N’Doumbé has nurtured a love and talent for photography since the age of sixteen. His images centre around the themes of human and urban nature whilst his aesthetic reveals a sensitivity to texture commonly found in fine art painting. His works emerge as if lacquered over years: suggestive of an observant meditation on his subjects.
“I like the idea of ainting with a click the world around me – and that my imagination takes flight from a true story,” the self-taught photographer says.
In the position of observer, N’Doumbé’s photographs are his means of holding up both a mirror and a magnifying glass to a city and its people.