Pierre-Alain Balmer was born 1965. He knows Geneva well since he lives and works there, surrounded by his musician wife and his two big daughters. Computer engineer, he practises photography as an enlightened amateur. Indeed, from the age of 9, he received his first camera and got acquainted with the photographic medium. As a teenager, he bought his first film reflex and developed his own films in his own laboratory.
It is during a trip to New York, in 2011, that he resumes his photographic activity in a very serious way. He decided to follow various workshops in Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom with professional photographers to perfect his technique and develop his artistic vision.
Inspired by photographers such as Sabine Weiss, Reto Albertalli, Karolin Klüppel, Philippe Pache, Denis Rouvre and Henry Cartier Bresson, his gaze is that of a humanist photographer who expresses himself more particularly in the making of his portraits.
His project «Fragile» addresses the issue of precariousness in Geneva through a series of black and white portraits, which he associates with intimate images or snapshots of our urban and anonymous environment. This work was recognized during the Nuit de la Photo 2019 at La Chaux-de-Fonds, where he was a finalist for the reading of portfolios. Exhibited in Geneva in 2020, «Fragile» is also the subject of the publication of an eponymous book, the photographer’s first work.
The city of Geneva, like all of Switzerland, embodies opulence, wealth and success for many.
Yet, behind this flourishing socio-economic facade, lies another facet of the city, paradoxical, that we must take the trouble to observe to give it a face.
This is what photographer Pierre-Alain Balmer undertook.