Yannick Cousinne is a Luxembourgish freelance photographer and the mastermind behind the conceptual project “Human Vulnerability”.
I’m a huge believer that each and everyone of us is talented in one way or another, but there’s two different kinds of talents. There’s the kind people that are good at something but also have to work really hard to get their work recognised, which is the kind I count myself and 90% of the world population in. And then, there’s another sort of talent, one which isn’t dictated by time or amount of work - one that naturally finds a way to speak for itself. Yannick Cousinne is one of the rare ones whom I consider to be part of the latter category.
When looking at his trajectory, it becomes clear that his passion for photography goes way back. “I remember always taking my camera everywhere with me as a child. Then, I’d buy disposable cameras on top of that - that’s how scared I was of running out of space”, he tells me and laughs while walking over to the kitchen table with his freshly poured black coffee.
Photography has since become something of a recurring leitmotif in the 22-year-old’s life. In 2017, he started trying himself as a model and did a few jobs in collaboration with a local model agency. “I don’t regret it, but I can’t say that I enjoyed it much either”, he discloses. “I’ve always been and still am fascinated with the concept of beauty - my perception and understanding of it has changed a lot over time though. I always thought of ‘beauty’ as an entry card to social acceptance - a security blanket against rejection, if you will - until I realised that rejection has nothing to do with your appearance - neither has beauty in its purest sense.”
His continuous transition from being in front of the lens to behind the camera was a first step in the right direction. Yet, he still dedicated his first year and a half as a freelance photographer to the extended chase of perfection by exploring the sphere of beauty photography. “It was amazing at first, partly because of people’s reactions online”, he tells me. “Social media is like a double-sided sword. On the one hand side, it’s an amazing platform because it lets you share your passion, connect with like-minded people and get instant reactions. But that’s the origin of the issue at the same time: you become so focused on this instant gratification that likes, comments and shares become more important to you than your actual work. Once you’re in this vicious circle, it’s so easy to loose sight of what really matters, and even harder to regain your focus.”
As for many of us, the early days of our life with COVID-19 marked a time of self-reflection and reevaluation of priorities for him. “I realised that I wasn’t satisfied with what I was putting out in the world”, he remembers. “My images showed an ideal that was edited and retouched to perfection, but it took away everything that made the individuals human and, ultimately, beautiful.”
And so, he put his camera down for the first time in years and instead, spent some time focusing on himself and his loved ones. But, you know what they say: what’s meant for you, will always find its way back - and so it did. “I thought about what I want my pictures to convey and more generally, what I personally want to stand for”, he says. The conclusion: an authentic portrayal of humans - all emotions and so-called flaws and imperfections included.
Over the last two months, Yannick has been working on his first major project. “Human Vulnerability” takes the viewer on a visual journey through the different steps and mindsets that we live through when changing our direction in life. “I’m not sure where I’ll be in five years time - or what I’ll be doing, for that matter - but I’m sure that it’ll be something I’m passionate about.” Seems like he’s off to a good start.
“Human Vulnerability” will be available in printed version after being exhibited - if Miss Rona allows.