Jocelen Janon's favourite things: His Mamiya camera; Kabuki statuette and Lutte by Stephen Dupont. Photos / Babiche Martens.  

Photographer sharpens his focus on designs.

French-born photographer Jocelen Janon explores the question of what is a stereotypical New Zealander with his exhibition Alter Ego: I is another, which opened in Auckland this week. 

More than 60 portraits see an individual's public face juxtaposed against "the face that lies within". Janon intends to publish a book based on the exhibition later in the year. The documentary and portrait photographer, who was born in Champagne, has lived in New Zealand for more than 10 years, where he has developed his passion for recording change and continuity in society. 

It's a talent that saw him nominated as a finalist for last year's New Zealand Geographic photographer of the year, and work with the Auckland Museum on their 2010 exhibition Wonderland: The Magic or Roses

He tells us about a few of his favourite things.


1. Pocket knife
I always have a pocket knife with me. I think it comes from my grandfather who used to tell me I should always have a knife and a piece of string on me.

I have several, and my favourite of the moment is a Rasolini I got in Scarperia, Italy.

2. Taiaha
When I arrived in New Zealand I toured the country for six weeks with my partner. We went about everywhere. On the way I bought this taiaha from Kereama Armstrong in Whataroa. That makes me a tourist who loves Maori art.

3. Wooden half-hull
A friend did this for me, many moons ago. It represents a Skutjes, a barge from Holland. It has been sculpted in a piece of walnut which was to be used to make a rifle's stock. This piece of wood was confiscated by the Germans during WWII and repossessed by the French at the end of the war. The tree from where that piece came was felled in 1938. This is very special to me.

4. Kabuki statuette
It's heavy as hell. I have been fascinated by Japan's culture since I was a child. I have never been there but will one day. With my camera. One day.

5. Fountain pen
My old Sheaffer fountain. It's not an exceptional pen, and it is a bit chewed. But I have had it since I was at school. This is MY pen.

6. "Maori" statuette
At a flea market in Paris, just before moving to New Zealand, I bought this "Maori statuette". I was happy to bring it back to its country of origin. I had it looked at by an expert here in Auckland, and it's actually from South America. Art salvation fail...

7. French Rugby shirt
I put it on, yell in front of the television, taunt a couple of people and put it back in the drawer until next time. Then keep it quiet.

8. Lutte
Lutte, which means wrestling in English, is a book by Stephen Dupont, an Australian photographer. Looking at it encourages me and tells me it is still possible to photograph with black and white film and be successful with it.

9. Mamiya camera
I started photography with film. Which makes me very old. I have recently started to photograph with film again and my Mamiya 6 is always with me. With a couple of others... I may have a camera fetish.

10. Secateurs
Plain and normal secateurs. When I have enough of computers, photographs or people I go in the garden and prune my roses. Dead heading roses is better than chopping heads, even for a Frenchman.