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Julien Venner - The Island seen from here and there

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From number crunching to digital photography, from his native France to an island he’s espoused – it has all given Julien Venner a very personal view of his new  homeland of Mauritius. It’s not the superficial glance of a foreigner – which he no longer is – but rather a record of places, people and situations caught in a particular light at a particular moment from a well-chosen angle, that makes you see them differently.

Julien Venner’s career path has been varied. Earning his living originally in the field he studied, he has since decided to try to make ends meet from something he loves doing instead. He worked for ten years in the financial field in Europe before settling in Mauritius in 2010. His wife is Mauritian; they have been married for 17 years and now have three children. During his first three years in Mauritius, his main work came as a wedding photographer before he started concentrating rather on capturing images of what he loves about Mauritius on camera. Indeed, Mauritius has become a second homeland for this camera enthusiast, originally self-taught before he became professionally qualified. He first came here in 1998 and since then has tried to capture something of its soul, to reveal through his pictures facets of the country’s past before they’re lost for ever. “Photography reflects emotion, sensitivity; there’s a technique to it. A photographer is a privileged observer of his time. I enjoy documenting the lives of those around me, the landscapes around me. I’m particularly drawn to change, how development is taking place. Such themes are very much present in my pictures as Mauritius is a small country whose character is rapidly changing – and some of its soul is being lost.”

The examples in this magazine can’t cover all the work Julien has done on the subject but it can serve as an introduction. His pictures here show a few places, some well-known and others rarely visited, in a particular light or time of day, which are related to aspects of the country and life in Mauritius. His very personal  view of the island and its inhabitants will shortly appear in a book he has been working on for the last two years with a friend and collaborator. It will be called Mauriciens d’ici et d’ailleurs (Mauritians from here and from elsewhere) and will be out in mid- 2016. “It will be a kaleidoscopic view of Mauritians,” Julien says. “Almost an encyclopaedic view of Mauritians in 2016.”