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 aircrafts 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. He developed his passion for aviation early on in his life, though this was not expressed publicly until later.
In a powerful yet playful approach, Chrétien captures the essence of famed aircraft nose-to-face as it were. His images offer a dynamic and unusual dead-on visual perspective. This is further accentuated by the circular cut-out format, which follows the shape of the aircraft’s fuselage.
Each plane has a story to tell, whether this is expressed through corrosion or damage from war: their skin defects reveal the aircraft’s souls. The eight photographs in the Nose Art exhibition endow each aircraft with a humanistic personality, as if the faces of the planes were happily smiling or cautiously glaring. Endless interpretations are left to the observer’s imagination.