Cyril Torrent, grew up in Perly, near Geneva, in the home of his parents. At 15 years of age, one of his sisters offered him his first camera; It was an Ibis Ferrania. At that moment, he was at a summer camp and so began the saga of this image hunter. Taking portrait shots of his friends, he discovered a new language, devouring his pals with his cyclopean eye.
His parents encouraged him. They started him at a school of photography that unfortunately closed down shortly thereafter. His father, then, enrolled him into a school of precision mechanics. This constraint would wet his appetite and hone his sense of perfection. Parallel to these studies he constructed the first of his shooting studios, in Geneva and later, to put bread on the table, he worked in the air-traffic control business. This was the beginning of a series of favorable circumstances.
His way of looking at people, objects for commercial publicity, fashion, portraiture, and sports events, struck the right chord all around. The precision of his images convinced many of his skill. Finally, due to a friendship with a neighbor involved in a car garage, Cyril ended up chewing miles of asphalt to cover the largest of sports events involving his friend’s cars. He was a mean, picture-taking machine ready to do whatever it took to feed his untiring, insatiable thirst for the job. More than 15 years was spent between the rumbles of the F1 engines, the rumors of fashion, and the calm silence of his workshop. The darkness was his mistress and he danced interlaced with her, more often than not, in black and white.
With the passing of time, his mastery of the light became more and more refined. He rushed less, but never stopped. The women, those with their muscled bodies and those resplendent with an expected child, adored posing for him. His way of looking at them as if in love, made them beautiful; And they were! Occasionally, coming out from working within the shadows of his cave, he plunged into sunlight to capture the boats on the lake, the animals at the edge of the woods, and also the native people of the tribes of far-off Africa.
Dumbstruck, the iridescent colors and wizardly reconstruction of his reality make us question what it is exactly that amazes us. In the end, isn’t the artist’s eye nothing more than a prolongation of his soul?
Cyril Torrent now lives in the Vaud countryside where he installed his studio more than thirty years ago. He spends his time between his photographic work and his wife.
This book is his first and the images that make up the pages are far from being exhaustive of his work. We’ll attempt to convince him to unveil those that remain. But it was about time that he did so, as he’d been hiding for so long that his crop of hair had turned white. That’s how it is with Cyclopes; their discreteness means that if we don’t go looking for them, we end up thinking they don’t exist.
We can thank Cyril to have transformed the savage into a poet, and the photographer into a sculpture of light. We hope he’ll continue to dance with our shadows, a while longer.
Olivia Poirier-seiller (trad.S.Koppenhoefer)