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Whether women's marches or May 1st demonstrations, the French photographer Eric Frot's portfolio takes the viewer right into the heart of the crowd and action. His pictures are personal documents of political and contemporary history, but, in particular, they portray people within the context of their social background.

LFI: How important are politics and capturing political events to you as a photographer?

Eric Frot: I'm of course interested in politics and contemporary history, but mostly in people's social demands and aspects. I started to shoot political events, demonstrations and parades in 1985, when I was studying photography at school. Being part of history and also watching it happen, with the need for distance required as a witness. That said, shooting such events is only one part of my photographic work.

What is your photographic approach to capturing these situations? What is it all about for you?

First of all, I need to be in the middle of the action; I need to feel the raw energy of the crowd. I shoot with wide angles, especially 28mm; and for the last four or five years 21mm, to get closer and included some context in the frame. It's a way for me to be part of what's happening, and it helps me to understand where I stand in this world. I pay a great attention to the information within the frame, as well as to the composition of the photo.

Which camera do you prefer?

I've used a lot of different cameras, but I particularly love rangefinder cameras like the Leica M. I've had 8 of them since 1966. I still use the M4, and the beautiful Super-Angulon 21mm on the M10. I have to say that I consider the M10 the almost perfect small format digital camera.

What do you see as your goal, your task as a photographer?

I don’t think I have a task as a photographer – that would be vain of me. I don’t think any of my photos could make any difference. I only try to be committed to what I do, to do it the best I can and to remain humble. I like to create images that reflect who I am, what I think and feel at any given time; so they only show what’s in my mind – not the reality. (Interview: Katja Hübner)

All images on this page: © Eric Frot

Equipment: Leica R4, Leica M4-P, Leica M6, Leica M6 TTL, Leica M9, Leica M10 with Super-Angulon-M 21 and more

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