Meet the printer behind Akimitsu Takagi‘s photographs. Watch the film on the YouTube channel @thetattoowriter.


After several months of editing, the film is finally ready. Pilou’, as he is known in the trade, opened the doors of his laboratory to us for this interview. For 6 minutes, he talks about the role of the photographer in traditional silver photography. Directed by Olivier Lechat, the film (in French with English subtitles).

40 years of experience for Akimitsu Takagi’s photographs

Pilou is one of the last French masters of black and white silver photography. It’s a craft he’s been practising with passion for some forty years in Lyon. Pierluigi Giannetti talks to us about his profession and his technique in his lab, between the dry and wet areas, with his enlarger. He tells us how he approached these images. They are 70 years old, taken in the 1950s in the heart of an undergound environment, on the other side of the world, in the capital of a country he doesn’t know: Japan. He also explains how it’s done when the author is no longer there to interact with his photographs.

Finally, Pilou talks about music and, of course, the blues. Japanese tattooing and black music, two worlds that meet unexpectedly in the master’s den.

Artisanal silver photography

In this age of digital photography, it’s worth remembering the traditional way in which film photography was done. It’s also useful to understand the role played by the photographer in the process. In his own words, Pilou explains the decisive role he plays: that of an interpreter. This man, often behind the scenes, makes the most of the original work thanks to his mastery of technical execution.

All the great photographers had their own photographer, capable of rendering the image they had in mind when they took the shot. This is no coincidence.

Image: Olivier Lechat / Interview: Pascal Bagot / Music: Max Hubbert

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