For Antoine Mesnage of Annecy, France–based photography studio Esprits Outdoor, the spark to pursue photography ignited when he decided to start taking photos and videos of himself as a slackline athlete. “I found the sport so beautiful that I got frustrated by not having cool shots of the lines I was walking on,” he says. “Then, I discovered the pleasure of [shooting] intense sporting moments and inspiring people doing crazy things in the mountains. I understood that I could [combine] my passions for all outdoor sports by working as an outdoor photographer.” Inspired by fellow outdoor photographers such as Jimmy Chin, Mathis Dumas and Seb Montaz—and fellow athletes, such as climber Alex Honnold, slackliner Tancrede Melet and climber Dean Potter—Mesnage seems to favor wide shots of his subjects, inviting viewers to marvel at both the athletes’ persistence and become enveloped in the breathtaking vistas surrounding them. Embedded in his work is a strong sense of metaphor. “I like the parallel we can [draw] between sport and life,” he says. “Specifically in highlining, [there’s a] similarity between trying to balance on a line over the void and trying to find your balance in life. I want to make images that make sense from different perspectives.”
This French illustrator elevates the discipline of illustration by applying the conceptual element of fine art.