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Bio de Pierre-Elie de Pibrac

© Yoban Pelayo

Pierre-Elie de Pibrac was born in Paris in 1983. In 2007, he made his first report in Myanmar. His first images won several prizes and competitions organized by magazines like Paris Match and Photo, or mobile phone companies such as Orange and SFR. In 2009, Pierre-Elie worked side-by-side with leading photographers from the Vu’ agency, such as Denis Darzacq, Claudine Doury and Rip Hopkins. The same year, soon after graduating from a renowned business school, EDHEC Business School, he decided to devote himself fully to photography. He is the grandson of the photographer Paul de Cordon.

Pierre-Elie produced his first large-scale series in New York in 2010 based on the theme of photographic perception and objects. Bearing the titles American Showcase and Les Frontières de la Perception (the Edge of Perception), the project was very well received by the public and press, and resulted in the production of a book called American Showcase, published by Archibooks. The book showcases Pierre-Elie de Pibrac’s emerging trademark: beyond the subject being dealt with, the photographer seeks to transform the image by inventing new concepts with which to make his own mark. The audience discovers a “photographic object” whose aesthetic rendering brings to life a totally unique and puzzling perception.

The finished product that emerged from it was an exhibition and a most beautiful 368 page book called “In Situ : dans les coulisses de l’Opéra de Paris” (In Situ – Behind the Scenes of the Opéra de Paris), published by Clémentine de la Feronnière. This passionate photographic journey about ballet and the Palais Garnier is enriched with testimonies of étoile dancers and other famous dance personalities. In Situ – Behind the Scenes of the Opéra de Paris was exhibited in Paris during the Mois de la Photo Off 2014, in Miami in 2015 and at Paris Photo Paris and Los Angeles, Zona Maco and Zona Maco Foto fairs in 2015 and Art Wynwood in 2016.

In 2012, following on from a documentary made two years previously in the USA, Pierre-Elie produced the Real Life Super Heroes (RLSH) series, featuring this famous American phenomenon. A book entitled Real Life Super Heroes was published for the occasion by PapelArt – Serious Publishing.

Pibrac exhibits his works in France and abroad in numerous galleries and prestigious venues like the Grand Palais in Paris. His work has also been on display at various fairs such as Cutlog and Paris Show Off during the FIAC! 2010 international modern art fair, the Lille Art Fair in 2010 and the Brussels AAF in 2012.

With an ability to move energetically between different photographic realms, the photographer Pierre-Elie de Pibrac decided during the 2013-2014 season to follow the ballet dancers of the Opéra de Paris. Immersed in the life of the dance company and behind the scenes of the Garnier and Bastille operas, he adapted his lens with great sensitivity to the subject at hand.

The Confidences series is made up exclusively of black and white photos and films. In the two other series presented as part of this work, he uses colour.

By means of a certain technique and new way of seeing, Catharsis highlights the abstract nature of the image. This series is the fruit of research carried out on transcribing the energy emitted by the dancers and spreading it out in space. Ballet’s power is revealed to the audience in a new, transcendental way.

Analogia illustrates in 14 works the sustained echo within the walls of the majestic Palais Garnier and the dancers of the ballet company. Photographed with a rigged view camera, this series highlights the immenseness of this theatre and its influence on the dancers who move about within it.

From november 2016 to june 2017, In Situ has been showed at La Havana, at the Casa VIctor Hugo. This exhibition was the biggest photo show ever done in Cuba.

From October 2016 to June 2017, Pierre-Elie de Pibrac spent 8 months with his family in Cuba to realize the Desmemoria project, a testimony, both anthropological and social, about the life of the Azucareros, a people from sugar, living for the sugar and revolutionary of the first hour. Through this testimony Pierre-Elie opens a reflection on the identity of Cubans and the influence of sugar production on it. He won the Prix Levallois with this project. In 2019, Pierre-Elie released the project book with the editions Xavier Barral  and won the 2020 HIP Prize for the best photo book in the “report and history” category. Desmemoria will also be nominated for the prestigious Prix Pictet in 2021.

From December 2019 to August 2020 Pierre-Elie lived for 8 months with his family in Japan to work on his project entitled Hakanai Sonzai which means “I myself feel an ephemeral creature”. This project tells the story of individuals who seek to understand their identity in the face of the weight of the rules of the society in which they operate through the notion of Mono no Aware, which represents sensitivity for the ephemeral, vanity and the impermanence of everything. A set of portraits from this project was awarded at the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize from the National Portrait Gallery in 2021.

Pierre-Elie is represented by the VU’ Agency.

Prizes, Competitions and Nominations :

-Laureate of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2021
-Nomminated for the Prix Pictet 2021
-Winner of the Prix HIP 2020
-Finalist of the Prix du Tirage Collection Florence et Damien Bachelot 2020
-Finalist of the The Most Beautiful German Books Award 2020
-Finalist of the Arles Voies Off Award 2019
-Finalist of the Bourse du Talent Portrait 2019
-Nominated Best European Emerging Talent by the Winterthur Fotomuseum 2019
-Winner of the Prix Levallois for the Young International Photographic Creation 2018
-Finalist of the Paris Match Prize for Student Photography 2008
-First Prize of the Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Orange Contest 2008
Winner of the SFR Young Talents Prize / Transphotographiques de Lille 2007

Collections :

Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF)
Musée de L’Elysée de Lausanne
National Portraot Gallery
Institut français de Kyoto
Fototeca de Cuba
Consejo Nacional de Artes Plasticas de Cuba
Museo del Historiador de La Habana
Collection Alicia Alonzo
Casa Victor Hugo
Alliance Française de La Havane
Ambassade de France à Cuba
Ambassade de France au Japon
Fonds Buchet Ponsoye
Aperture Foundation
CHANEL’s collection
Sherine Audi’s Collection
Franck Horvat’s Collection
City of Levallois’ Collection


Silenciar & NYC Subway Stories NFT
Achetez de l'Art Gallery
November 2021

The Club / Tokyo / Japan
October - November 2021

Musée du Nouveau Monde
October 2021 - January 2022

In Situ
Kyotographie / Kyoto / Japan
september-october 2020

In Situ
Chanel NeXus Hall / Tokyo / Japan
march-april 2020

See other exhibitions


Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
National Portrait Gallery / London
November 2021 - January 2022

Festival Planche(s) Contact
October 2021 - January 2022

In Lumine – Planche(s) Contact
Initial Labo
Octobre - Novembre 2021

CADAF Online
17-23 June 2021

Nuit Blanche
French Institute of Kyoto / Japan
3rd of October 2020

See other exhibitions


Published by Editions Xavier Barral, 2019.

In Situ – Dans les coulisses de l’Opéra de Paris
Published by Clémentine de la Ferronnière, 2014.

Real Life Super Heroes
Published by PapelArt – Serious Publishing, 2012.

American Showcase
Published by Archibooks, 2010.

Collective Books

A Coeurs Ouverts
Published by Fondation Photo 4 Food, 2020

1992 – 2014 : Le Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris
Published by Opéra National de Paris, 2014


In Situ – Chanel NeXus Hall Exhibition
Published by Chanel NeXus Hall, 2020.

Collective Catalogs

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
Published by National Portrait Gallery

Festival Planche(s) Contact
Published by Filigranes