Photography Media Journal
ISSN 1918-8153

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Photographs of Laos

by: Interview with Philippe Coste

February 2006

published online August 2006. Interview conducted by Tomasz Neugebauer. Philippe Coste has a gallery at

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Vientiane after the rain, 1999

What were the circumstances that brought you to photography?

As my interest in photography started in my childhood, it is difficult to remember. But I believe I got the disease from a close friend of my parents, with whom we used to spend all our summer holidays. I started taking pictures of family meetings, holidays, trips, friends and girl friends…and suddenly, when I started to use black and white, my interest shifted from my immediate environment to the outside world.

Mekong river, Luang Prabang, 2003

That Luang Vientiane, 2002

Could you comment on what you mean by the shift of interest from your immediate environment and the outside world? Did your introduction to black and white cause a conscious shifting of your boundary of interest in your perception to the outside world due to the documentary qualities of the medium?

This is quite mysterious for me as well! I don't really understand why, but since I have started using black and white films, it is very exceptional for me to take pictures of people I know like my friends, my family. Sometimes I have to force myself to do so… There is also the fact that I think of my pictures as ment to be exhibited. And, so far, I haven't felt the necessity to show private life!

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