According to Benjamin Béchet, even without a costume, real-life heroes are around us every day. With his Je suis Winnie l’Ourson — I am Winnie the Pooh — series, he has put superheroes, icons, celebrities known throughout the world into marginal shoes to serve as a reminder that what you see is never what you get.
The project is set in Rome which is a breeding ground for hundreds of tiny identity-obsessed groups who seize the opportunity to refer to a certain Romaness or the Roman Empire. The city is a theatre for a wave of overt intolerance and violence against a segment of the population who represent a feared and rejected otherness. Moonlighters, undocumented workers, figures on the sidelines …
Once in their place, Benjamin just slipped superhero costumes, cartoon characters or famous icons to each of them. To remark that a person is always something more complex and moving than a mere impression suggested by a culture. That every identity is partial, and we are all “one, none and a hundred thousand” — to borrow from Luigi Pirandello.
The definition of the We always involves the negation of the Other. When it falls into the hands of political ambitions, identities stiffen in the form of regionalism, religious, political or territorial fanaticism. And when the other is marginal or insecure, the immediate consequences are exclusion and violence.
Another series that seems to connect with this concept of sacrifice and isolation is the dark My beautiful killer, where the look struggles to keep in focus and manage strong emotions inspired by empty landscapes and bodies.
Based in Marseille, France, Benjamin takes a documentary approach to his photography. He often works as a reportage photographer for the press as well as for numerous NGOs, which allows him to satisfy his spirit as a citizen of the world. As well as commissions, he works on his personal projects that allow him to give rein to his artistic curiosity produces portraits and reports for the magazine press, communication and advertising agencies.