Chronicle “It’s back”
Organizers, DJs, establishment managers, night owls, observers… Every Wednesday, “Libé” gives voice to those who live for and through the night. Today, the resident photographer of Gleetch and Vertigo parties, also a butcher in the city.
For a good half-dozen years, he has been pacing the underground Parisian nightlife with his camera and his big clogs, like “very thick rangers”. At 28, Victor Maitre is one of those photographers, like Jacob Khrist or Cha Gonzalez, who have captured the free, techno or queer party, “out of frame” or in a club, from the turn of the 20s (for Traxmagazine, among others). Today a resident of Spectrum, Vertigo or Gleetch evenings, but also a butcher at the Billot club (17th arrondissement), the partygoer, who studied at the Ecole supérieure des arts de l’image Le 75, in Brussels, has given up living from this passion after having worked for all types of clubs in Lyon or Paname, including boxes in the Champs, where he felt “next to his pumps”. But not to capture the essence of the nocturnal emotions of the capital where, “Unlike Berlin, photography is rarely banned”.
Your definition of night
“It is a stress reliever and an outlet, but also a place of imperishable encounters. We quickly realize that those who appreciate the party and the music are few, the others just follow the friends and stop going out after a while. That’s what I like the most about partying in Paris: this teeming pool of people from different backgrounds, from fashion, cinema, food, with whom you can talk without any barriers while the day everything is compartmentalized. The night is also freedom of movement, freedom of the body and sexual freedom. And the more people are themselves, the less there are artifices, the more I like it to make images.
Your first trip
“My first straight parties at the Rex [club mythique des Grands Boulevards dans le IIe arrondissement de Paris, ndlr] were very wise. I consider that I really discovered the world of the night at 19 years old via the gay and queer environment. I was offered to do VJing for the Cockorico and the Balcony, two queer parties, and I found myself rubbing shoulders with drag queens backstage who teased me like: “Well my darling, are you lost?” It got me into it very quickly and I never left this very benevolent environment again which allows straight guys, like me, or girls, to be more free to let go and be themselves. same. Besides, it made me grow and taught me a lot of things about life. I no longer wanted to be a spectator, but an actor of these safe spaces to transcribe their atmosphere in photography.
“If I had to give a strong enough memory, it would be this one. I was starting to work for the Spectrum collective. But I lived at the other end of Paris at the time and the promoter of the evening kindly offered me to sleep at his place. We came home exhausted and fell asleep holding hands. I find it super strong. Today we are friends. It’s a beautiful allegory of what the night must be for me: a protective and benevolent world, which in the end we find very little.
Previously in “It’s back”
“My digital camera! He’s my best party buddy. For three or four years, I went through storms with a Canon 6D, but it never let me down in the evening even though it saw the ground a few times. Now I have a Fuji X-pro 3. I could have just as much fun taking interesting photos with a phone. On the other hand, with film, it is more complicated. Especially since I run in all directions to mingle with the crowd.
your next weekend
“I haven’t planned to go out yet. I’m coming out of an intense period of work, so I’m trying to slow down. It’s also a very quiet weekend chug level. Otherwise, I will spend a head at the Exodus evening, from the Seth collective. It’s organized in the suburbs in a still secret place. I have a friend who plays there, it’s pretty cool sound-wise.