Stephane Mahe

Stephane Mahe

Based
Nantes, France
Born
Saint-Nazaire, France
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 5D Mark III, 1D Mark IV
“I am curious, and love the diversity of my assignments.”

Beat

I cover all sorts of news stories and sports.

One Shot

. NOTRE-DAME-DES-LANDES, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
A French riot policeman stands covered in lime during clashes with demonstrators during an evacuation operation on land set to become the new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
“It’s always difficult to select a single image as your favourite… But I really like this one. I was covering clashes between French gendarmes and demonstrators at Notre-Dame-des-Landes when a policeman was sprayed with lime by a protester. He just turned around towards me and screamed.”

Profile

My first memory of photography is flying over Ile d'Oleron, off the west coast of France, when I was 11 years old and taking pictures with a disposable camera. The film was probably developed at the end of the holiday and I can still remember my disappointment and frustration when I saw the poor quality of the images.

I began to think of myself as a photographer around the age of 19. I remember starting to really take pictures during a trip to a village in Casamance, Senegal, when I photographed a circumcision ceremony.

I learnt to photograph during my time at university, where I started a photography training certificate (CAP) and took part in various workshops. I installed a dark room in the bathroom of my apartment to print my pictures and I started doing training courses with news agencies. That was the beginning of my career.

My first assignment for Reuters was covering a political rally for Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of France’s far-right National Front party. I was a bit stressed but completely focused.

The assignment that left the biggest mark on me was the evacuation of land in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, western France, for the construction of a new airport. It was an incredible story, very exciting and eventful.

I’m interested in all kinds of news: demonstrations, politics and sports. I am curious, and love the diversity of my assignments.

I don’t have any specific audience in mind when I take pictures. I just try to be honest and fair with my subjects, and to report on the most interesting angle of the story.

My most important lesson has been to have fewer preconceptions before starting a story and to be honest.

I admire the values of courage and integrity.