These days, as a Fuji ambassador, he works more on documentaries with large-format cameras. But a phone is “relatively high quality, and it’s practical. I’ve had a double page in Paris Match with my phone, at a demo where photographers had been banned.” This time, he was on the approach to Mont Buet, a 3,000 metre peak in the Haute-Savoie, south-east France. “It was 6.30am in August, the sun was just getting going in the background,” he says. “I was moving slowly, I had 30kg of large-format equipment in my bag.”
The stage was set, and the actors were ready, as is so often the case, according to Eric Bouvet. “You have this incredible orchestra, and you’re the conductor,” he explains. You choose your perspective, your frame, and then press the button. It wouldn’t have worked in a second either way.” Bouvet has covered crises all over the world, from Afghanistan to Sudan, Iraq to Somalia, Chechnya to Lebanon. For Time, Life, and Paris Match, his Fuji cameras captured the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mandela’s release, and Tiananmen Square. Sign up for our Inside Saturday email to get an inside look into the development of the magazine’s biggest pieces, as well as a handpicked collection of our weekly favourites.
The ibex “couldn’t care less about me. He was just there, magnificent, on his stage. Maybe he sensed I was respectful of nature, of the light, the Earth, animals. Whatever, it was a magical moment. I had my point of view, I hit the button.” Photography, for Bouvet, is “a means to connect – to go to extraordinary places, meet extraordinary people doing extraordinary things”. Smartphones mean “billions of people are now taking photos. Are they all photographers? That’s another question.”