Frank Lebon bares his soul in One Blood

The photographer is gearing up for the release of his first ever photobook – his most intimate work yet.

What makes us human, really? This is the question that sits at the heart of cult photographer Frank Lebon’s first solo photobook, One Blood. Primarily, it’s a collection of portraits, featuring photographs taken of Frank’s nearest and dearest between 2020 and 2023. Look closer though, and you’ll spot splashes of orange and red cutting across his subjects, as though a prism was reflecting light through slices of blood orange.

It turns out Frank asked his friends and family to prick their fingers and collect small samples of blood for the occasion, which he then smeared onto glass slides that he then paired up with their portraits. Occasionally, he’d ask each person to place their bloodied finger over his flash before snapping their picture – hence the warm terracotta hues that anchor much of One Blood.

Between these abstract flashes of light, you’ll find shots of loved ones sleeping, faces half-obscured and haphazard family trees drawn onto images, as Frank attempts to bridge that strange gap between biology and real life. In an accompanying essay, artist Laura Serejo Genes draws parallels between Frank’s work and the French surrealist photographer Jacques-André Boiffard, who was also a medical student and, in 1951, contributed images of blood for publication as part of scientific studies. How’s that for full circle?

I’m especially hoping One Blood has the potential to be important to others,” Franks says. I tried desperately to separate myself from the project early in the process of piecing the book together, wanting to make it for and about everyone rather than myself.

But as the project developed, it became more intimate. I realised then that the truest way to make it relatable was to get so close, so detailed, that it became abstraction. When you’re close enough for the lines to blur, [things] can become universal, and the heart of an idea can come to the surface.”

Selected works from One Blood will be exhibited from today until 25th May at Entrance gallery, New York. And you can catch Frank on 14th June at Reference Point in London, for a special signing of the book. Can’t make it to either event? Pre-order the book here

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