About Verner deGray:
A native of a small village of Picardy, Verner known amateur photography by his mother. He recalls the pictures of plants and landscapes she photographed. Then in the 80s he discovered David Hamilton, whom he says, “It was a great discovery. I like his work. I respect him. For those reasons I refuse to reproduce his style, but one day I would have to. ”
Photography followed him to his Baccalauréat (French high school diploma). On the advice of his art teacher he presented a project of close animal offal photography. The jury only sees the representation of colorful landscapes, which earned him the highest mark in visual art and art history. He continued his studies in interior design at Créapole Esdi Design Management, where he specializes in theatrical decor. He practices in the area for a few years before being hired at Hugo and Kenzo. He dive in the fashion world for 4 years. Then one morning, he decided to quit this “life of numbers” for a better quality of life. It was in French Polynesia that he finds the sweetness of life: “I find this humanity. We are at the creation stage of a people. ”
He fell in love with these islands where he settled, ” much like Gauguin and Matisse did with the Polynesian island in the 19th and 20th centuries. Instead of curvaceous women, carved gods or cutouts of palm fronds, Degray focuses on objects of his desire: The handsome and athletic Tahitian men. These photos of muscular Tahitians are usually set in chaotic universes, abandoned hotels, warehouses or garages, if only to enhance the muscular perfection of the models. Rather than the hardcore erotica of much of European and American photography, Degray’s subject still maintain a purity, where the erotic is part of the everyday, part of a young man’s rite of passage. ”
Of his work, Verner explained « it is to highlight the man, hence the contrast with the chaotic scene. Many people ask me why I do not take a picture of my models on beautiful beaches. For me it’s as if we put together a Lamborghini and a Ferrari. The gaze is lost in this representation of the beauty and both lose their value.
For me a photo should be thought. My camera is a tool. I’m like a painter with a brush. I’m not a reporter, I’m a photographer. I will not take 8000 photos to finally produce only 2 good ones.
Before a shoot, I look at pictures of my candidates. My eyes eat photos and pictures all day long. Then comes a story, feelings, emotions. I write them. I talk with my models. I know them. I need to be close to them in order to create a story.
What I have known in my life affect my art today. Gradually I improved, and I always perfect myself. I have known the work on film and the brush touches on slides.
Opening Night of this beautiful collection is set for September 10th at 6PM. Please come and enjoy this night with us. Call 702 794 4000 for more information.