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thibaut_octave thibaut_octave

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Thibaut  📸 Leica ambassador Photographer/videographer: travel, portraits, lifestyle 💻 thibautoctave.com 💌 thibaut.octave@gmail.com 📍Paris

http://www.thibautoctave.com/fr/accueil.html

Look at closely at this photo. Here on the left third of it, you'll see two feet. This person was lying on the floor of her house, the door was open and I was there with my camera. I was walking in the streets of the old town of Kavala, a city famous for its tobacco industry in the beginning of the 19th century. Kavala was at a crossroad between the Orthodox Christian world and the Ottoman. It was a rich city by the past and now it's a rich city because of its history. I liked walking into its streets at night, discovering the life, the dust and the unexpected. Such as this person sleeping on her house's floor and the incongruity of the situation.

A photographer is just a witness, not supposed to interfere unless the situation is too extreme and we become not only witness but actors. Be reassured, as weird as it sounds, this person was only sleeping. •

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After almost two weeks of photo reportage in northern Greece, I’m back in Paris. This has been a wonderful experience. I went to many places apart from Mount Athos that you’ve seen here. I’ve discovered the cities of Thessaloniki and Kavala, some of the people who are making Thessaloniki today and try to resurrect the country’s economy and the (very) impressive archaeological site of Philippi. You will see more of it in the coming weeks of course.
But it’s good to be back. Now back to work! I have to write, to go through my notes and memories, to edit photos and move forward with my project. This short pause in Paris is welcome even though I cannot wait to move on to the next adventure in Ireland in 3 weeks. My work brings me to many places and I love it!


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Religions are full stories told to inspire mankind or make it bend the knee in front of the priests, monks and other representatives. Stories that are sometimes told to make the believers fear the wrath of a God supposed to love them or to teach people how to be better. Mount Athos is not free from such stories of worship. It’s actually full of it. People chose to believe them or not. It’s all a matter of faith. I’m agnostic so all I can tell you is: whatever works for you is fine by me.

Among these stories is one of the life Athanasius the Athonite which I find interesting and it’s in this place that I met two people (Ulysse and George) who made my journey through the Athos far more enjoyable. Athanasius, who built the Great Lavra Monastery, was supposed to have run out of money to build the monastery and was on his way to the main city in order to raise funds to continue the construction when he crossed paths with a woman. As you may know or not, women are not allowed on Mount Athos because it’s the Garden of the Virgin Mary (a law called Abaton). Athanasius believed the woman was a demon, but she revealed herself to be the Virgin Mary. When he asked for a proof, she told him to hit a rock with his stick. He did. The rock broke right away in the symbol of a cross and water started to come out in a rushing waterfall. Since then, the water only started to come out when people wanted to use it for profit by building a windmill. The running water stopped, leaving the windmill out of use. When the workers leaved, the water ran out again and never stopped ever since.

People now stop at the source to take holy water and bring it home or simply drink it. You can find plenty of empty bottles over there to take with you, it's quite an amusing scene.


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You can barely see it on your screen but right in the middle of the photo is the monastery of Simonos Petras. This huge building hanging on a rock that you saw a few photos earlier seems so small lost on the incredible Mount Athos.

The Egean Sea licks the rocky feet of the Athos while the sun rises up in a blue dawn. I've woke up early this morning as usual since I'm here. I left the monastery for a 3 hours walk to Dafni, the main harbour of the peninsula. I plunge myself into these vast landscapes while dwelling on the road I've chosen to follow. These long walks during the day going from one place to another allow me to reflect on my personal issues and my path. I enjoy them as much as I dread the heat of the burning sun. Everything looks so peaceful when you look at this landscape when on the contrary order and chaos fight one another, and I can tell you from what I've seen on the Mount that chaos is winning.


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5:09 pm. It's been 7h30 that we have left the boat. We came up there from level 0. A mix of pain, joy, extasy, and tiredness is running through our veins. My friend George here in the picture has made the climb with me, but he trained in the army and does a lot of sports so he is physically ready for Mount Athos. I'm not. I have been arrogant, thinking that I would not suffer making this climb. But I suffer. And weirdly it feels good. I enjoy every minute of it. The lack of water, the pain in my legs and the arrival at Panayía, the chapel we're resting at 1500 m, are all worth it.
This is the first moment here that I feel an extraordinary thing running through my entire being. The rush of blood to the heart, the adrenaline, the pure joy of accomplishment... It feels good. And I have friends to share it with.
There is a cross at Panayía in front of the chapel. This is where George went to have a look at the bottom of the cliff. We came up 1500 meters. There were still 500 meters to go before enjoying the sunset at the top.


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#beautiful

Cats are an important part of Mount Athos’ s life, especially females. They are among the only animals allowed on the holy mountain by the monks. I saw two dogs for now and a countless number of cats. I know what some people may say ’What about insects? The monks cannot control their sex.’ Come on, be serious for a minute. Now back to cats. They are allowed simply because they hunt mice and other rodents that are bad for crops. It’s something that is very important as monks supposedly only eat vegetables to come closer from the life of the ascetics. I say ‘supposedly’ because there are exceptions.
Cats are very friendly and live in monasteries, sketes and kellis mostly. Of course ‘towns’ is a big work as Karyès (administrative capital of Mount Athos) is not so full of people living there as we may think and Dafni (main harbour of the peninsula) counts only 38 inhabitants.


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Simonos Petras. Or Simonopetra. This monastery has been built by Simon the Athonite (because he lived on the Mount Athos) in the 13th century. It is built on top of a rock... Literally on top of it! The view when you arrive after 3 hours walk under a hot sun is astonishing. I have no words for the feeling this discovery brings to the heart and to the brain. This construction and its architecture are so bold that I wonder how it can actually hold onto this rock.

I have a lot of things to say about the Athos, the pilgrims, the tourists, the monasteries built like Middle Ages fortresses or even the monks themselves. There's more than meets the eye. I am making notes on my phone and on my mind to remember everything, every conversation and detail I've learned or discovered. I am lucky to live such an experience. I'll be sure to make a full report on it in articles and maybe even a book. Who knows?


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Hi guys! First time in a while (3 days actually) that I've been able to look at the photos I've made. There are so many things to write about the first days of this travel to Mount Athos that I won't stand in small posts. I'll write about it. Here is the view at dusk from the top of Mount Athos at 2033 meters. I started the ascent at 9:30 am and ended it at 7:40pm.

I wasn't prepared for the sensations I was going to live. It's by far the hardest thing I've physically done. When you start the ascent you start from sea level so you can imagine what it does to your muscles to reach the summit in less than a day. The feeling up there was incredible! I've never felt something like this. We celebrated with my friends before a (very cold) night of sleep and having to go down the Athos in the morning and a long walk to the Great Lavra monastery.


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The time has come. In 6 hours I'll leave for 8 days on Mount Athos. This photo reportage is a dream come true. I'm going with 4 other men. We make a great team I think. I feel that more and more this is going to be a life changing experience. For the first night I'll be sleeping at around 2000 at the top of Mount Athos. We will make a celebratory dinner with my companions after a 7 hours ascension. We've got all we need to make a feast. Then we will sleep in the abandoned church on top of Mount Athos if we are lucky enough for it to be a shelter for the night as it's expected to be 0 degrees out there. I cannot wait. This is going to be amazing! 💪🇬🇷


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Here's the first thing I did when I arrived at the hotel tonight: going to the swimming pool. After a long flight I was happy to be in the water for a short while and relax. It felt good to be able to concentrate on what's to come. Plus I was alone in the pool. I stayed there for about 40 minutes going from the jacuzzi, to the pool, then back the jacuzzi, then back to the pool, etc. I'm a lucky man to have the opportunity to enjoy such luxury. Thanks to the Mediterranean Palace Hotel for having me. 🙏

I've hesitated a lot before posting this photo because I'm not really proud of my body but then I said to myself "F*ck it". I don't have six pack abs and I don't care that much. I know that in our "fit world" it can appear to be odd, but I love food and alcohol. I exercise sometimes but I don't make it a mandatory thing. I do it when I feel that I'm going to appreciate it and when I have the time. So I'm kind of ok with my fat I guess. Let's cheer together: here's to good food, good alcohol and enjoying life the way we want to! 😁✌


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I'm fully ready to take off! My flight to Greece is tomorrow at noon and cannot wait to go and start to work on my project. First stop is Thessaloniki where I'll meet with the vivid artistic scene of the city for a few days and then I'll move to the other side of the country in Halkidiki and off to Mount Athos to spend 8 days with the monks and visit the monasteries. This is the beginning of something big for me... I'm excited and a bit scared as well. My cameras are ready, my bags are made. This is happening! Thanks to @Antlerofficial who has been so kind as to give me this brand new #Atom suitcase in order to have a few things more to carry around with me in Thessaloniki.

French folks, if you're looking for a strong hand luggage for your weekend getaways you'll find the Atom at @le_bhv_marais until September 24th.


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I love taking pictures of people I don't know. Maybe because we don't share a past and they can just be who they want to be. I don't know them. I just want to take a picture of them. This one was taken at @rockenseine festival in Paris in August. Leica got me to try the M246 camera (the monochromatic one). As some of you may know, @Leica_camera is not only famous for its wonderful cameras but also its black and white. It has a special glow to it and a softness. And the way that the colors (yes colors) pop out is incredible (plus that insane bokeh you have with Leica Lenses). I've been training a bit with it as I'm taking the M246 for my photo reportage in Greece. I'm going to try to make the same portraits with the M240 and M246 and compare the results. I'm a nerd, I know, but I'm excited about this!


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