French photographer Manolo Chrétien is holding an exhibition with MB and F M.A.D.Gallery Geneva this February. The exhibition showcases a series of aeronautical works captured with a powerful yet playful approach, suggesting each photo has a unique aviation story to tell. From a luxe Learjet to the supersonic Concorde airliner and military vessels like the Dassault Rafale, Chrétien’s work delivers a dynamic and unusual dead-on visual perspective.
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Born in 1966 and raised near Orange Air Force Base in France, Manolo Chrétien has vivid childhood memories of gazing out his bedroom window in awe of the aircraft soaring through the sky. As the son of Jean-Loup Chrétien, a test pilot and the first French astronaut, hangars filled with prototype jet planes were his playground.
Chrétien’s university education began in the south of France studying aeronautical engineering, though he dropped out after three months to pursue his love of windsurfing.
Deciding to continue his studies in Paris at the prestigious Olivier de Serres School of Applied Arts, Chrétien discovered a passion and talent for materials and graphic design. He established a sport-centric graphic design business in Paris in 1991 before eventually moving to Rouen, France.
In tandem with his graphic design work, Chrétien rediscovered the fervour for painting and photography originally ignited by his father and grandmother. “My grandma was an excellent photographer and she showed me at a very young age how to use a Minox camera, starting with taking pictures of old fishing boats on the Brittany coast.”