FIRST LIGHT is a global partnership project by Belmond and Leica to create early morning nature experiences and explore nature in the first hours of a day. Floating slowly down the river Rhône, Leica photographer Tibo Dhermy shows us the extraordinary beauty of waking at first light, as viewed from the meditative calm of Belmond Afloat in France.
For me, the first light of a day is something very special which starts at night-time – like the promise before a new day begins that everything is absolutely possible. It’s a moment of calm, where I’m listening out for what’s happening right here and now – like this Carp which surprised me when I was completely immersed in the distant landscape. Or, the captain’s bell which suddenly brought me back to the reality of our departure.
I realise that the first light is like a suspended moment, a specific atmosphere in which photography is ultimately just a pretext to bring me closer to the world around. When I arrive at the location of a new shoot, I love waking up in the last shadows of the night, a bit before dawn. It’s like a time for meditation when I can prepare myself for this adventure – for the day which I really don’t want to miss.
As for photography, I spend my life travelling from one country to another, at a relaxed rhythm, and I know that it’s essential to stay open to each little thing which happens, in order to create work that’s personal, and that inspires other people in their lives. The camera and binoculars are the perfect tools for capturing these special moments, and also to share them with the people that I meet through the course of my travels. I could feel a special energy in this old village, where nothing seemed to have changed since the beginning of time.
“The camera and binoculars are the perfect tools for capturing special moments.”
Walking around, I felt lost in the history of mankind and I looked for an image which could symbolise this moment. A tree brought me back into the present – the power of an inspiring and fragile piece nature resting at the heart of the village, created by generations of men and women over the past two millennia. This tree lends a richness to the life of this village.
Arriving back at the boat, I already felt ready for new adventures. I realised at this moment that this traditional way of travelling, at the pace of the current, allows me to see things in a new way. In my cabin, watching the new day roll in, I waited for the image which would inspire and invite each one of us to explore and live within these new places. From a distance, I heard another boat arriving. I savoured the moment which was unveiling in front of me, which I then went to capture with my camera.
About Tibo Dhermy
Tibo is a reportage photographer telling stories through his images, often capturing rarely seen moments. His past experience has taken him from the frozen lands of Siberia to the steppes of Mongolia. A Leica Ambassador since 2015, he is currently engaged in a project highlighting the lives and landscapes surrounding some of the great roads of the world such as the Silk Road and Route 1.
FIRST LIGHT is a partnership by Belmond and Leica Sport Optics to create early morning nature experiences. On Belmond Afloat in France, Leica binoculars will be available on board ready for you to enjoy nature’s energy up close.