Etienne Rougery-Herbaut was born in Paris in 1984. He started photography at the age of sixteen by secretly borrowing the family camera, a semi automatic Nikkormat, to take portraits of demonstrators in Paris.
“As I was observing the crowd, I witnessed a very violent scene between a protester and the police. I got thrown violently on the ground. When I got up, I couldn’t remember what had happened to me. It’s only later, when I developed the pictures of that scene that I remembered everything and realized I had caught a unique moment.”
That is a defining instant for Etienne. Through photography, he has found a way to remember. He decides to follow an artistic path and starts travelling to photograph people’s memories.
During his studies, he meets the artist JR who fascinates by his energy and his projects. Etienne becomes his first intern and he will be in charge of production for seven years. By coordinating JR’s artistic actions all over the world, he gets to travel and photograph people through Kenya, the USA, Brazil, Europe, Asia, Turkey, and UAE. He also travels on his side for his own projects.
In 2017, Etienne decides to develop his own photography projects and works on his first exhibition in Paris called “ELLIPSE”. By gathering serval series and an installation he offers a visual exploration of memories.
In 2018, he presents his second exhibition, GLEASON’S GLOVES, focusing on boxers’ portraits of the mythic Gleason’s Gym in New York. Each portrait reveals the fighters’ confidence.
Then he travels to Morocco to meet with weaver women working from wasted fabric to give a new life to their creations. His photographs highlight the memory of a traditional gesture through a collective installation of a loom in the Atlas mountains.
In 2019, Etienne works with Brannan Mason’ s Gallery in L.A. on a new exhibition entitled CORNERSTONE. His photographs show the beauty and the diversity of the people who call New York City home. This exhibition is also the French artist’s debut in the US.
Etienne’s work takes inspiration from the poetic spirit of Agnes Varda and the strength of Dorothea Lange’s workers portraits.