by Estelle Arielle Bouchet
It is in Monte Carlo, at the Monte Carlo Bay’s sumptuous terrace facing the Mediterranean Sea, that I meet my friend Prince Michel of Yugoslavia. The one soberly nicknamed “Prince Michel” always has the aristocratic politeness of punctuality.
Our interview is at 9 o’clock am, at the Blue Bay restaurant above the Mediterranean among the luxuriance of scented tropical gardens which micro subtropical climate benefits the Principality. As the morning light already becomes ardent, this very light, so dear to the Prince-Photographer on which we’ll talk later on...
It is at Blue Bay that officiates the charismatic “Chef étoilé“at Michelin, Marcel Ravin, native of French West Indies. Marcel Ravin, every morning from the hotel garden, collects here his fresh supply of fruits, vegetables and herbs for the refined and quite different cooking transferred through the ancestral knowledge of his grandmother. As to Prince Michel of Yugoslavia, he was born on June 18th, 1958, under the Gemini sign, a twin brother himself from Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia. So it is under the auspices of Mercury that the young prince was born, bestowing on him the gift of sharing and communication which he
expresses throughout his medium of photography.
Prince Michel is descended from two European crowns, he is indeed through his mother, Maria Pia de Savoie, the grandson of the last Italian king, Umberto II and of his bride, Queen Marie Josee de Belgique. Through his father, Prince Alexandre de Yougoslavie, he is descended from different Yugoslavian, Greek, Danish, British and Russian kingdoms. Apart from this impressive genealogy, Prince Michel is before anything an esthete and an
artist. Photography is his mode of expression and this way he joins the Monaco tradition of photography with figures such as Helmut Newton and Karl Lagerfeld, who took to heart to interpret this microcosm of the Principality according to their own prisms. The great Karl loved the Beach Club overlooked by his mirador Villa and used to set up portraits of great figures of the Principality.
At the instigation of Princess Caroline de Hanovre, he too yielded to the asceticism of the Ballets of Monte Carlo. Quite a challenge for someone who had never captured the skills of dancers before. Monaco also welcomes photo exhibitions, and in this way, the Buddhist monk Mathieu Ricard did show there in 2017, and before him other photo graphers such as David Bailey, considered like the father of portrays, once
married to Catherine Deneuve from 1965 to 1967. As to Michel, his work comes within the scope of a very thematic interpretation of his near surroundings. The coastal light and landscapes that are so familiar to him, perhaps mundane, suddenly appear new, with the change of time and light, in his images. His study of light compositions and depths of space subsequently irradiates the subtleties and nuances in architecture per se, while exploring the love of symmetry that belongs to the long French classical architectural tradition.
Michel was in fact raised in Versailles and his mother used to take her children to the palace gardens of their ancestor, King Louis XIV. Thus it is how the young Prince Michel shaped his taste and you can find in this work the symmetrical and classical sequencing, peculiar to the time of the Sun King. Sometimes his work internalizes towards a more intimate dimension in
harmony with nature, or ventures to the art of portrait that he recently initiated. Thus, during confinement Prince Michel trained himself to wake up at four in the morning to capture the first sunrises above the Principality… He loves the delicate and powerful dawns as they only can be experienced on the Mediterranean shores. This “Seeker of Light“ likes those strolls and lets himself be carried by the emotion of a Mediterranean landscape. “When I take a photo, I feel first an emotion, I gaze at it and this makes a photo.”
“When I take a photo, I feel first an
emotion, I gaze at it and this
makes a photo.” -
HRH Prince Michel of Yugoslavia
Friend of the sovereign Prince Albert II de Monaco, just as his father Prince Alexandre de Yougoslavie was friend of Prince Rainier, Prince Michel keeps a real emotional relationship with the Principality where he lives from now on. Prince Michel admires the engagement of the Sovereign Prince Albert II, in the field of oceans and biodiversity that Prince Albert upholds in the Principality through a well thought-out agriculture and targeted excellent actions for protection of the nature and its ecosystems.
Image top left page: Monte Carlo Bay Hotel courtesy. Left page below: illustrate photo with Chef Marcel Ravin.
Copyright pictures clockwise from the top this page: Prince Michel of Yugoslavia by Nebojsa Babic. Photos made in Monaco by Prince Michel of Yugoslavia © (2020): sunset, Casino de Monaco, The Prince's Palace of Monaco, sunrise over the sea.
Image : courtesy Alessandro Maria Ferreri.
“I love being by the seaside, with this exceptional luminosity and vegetation, this proximity of the Alps, the Chaîne des Alpilles, from Italy on the East and France on the West,” offering his vision of a Mediterranean in Light for our greatest delight. In a symbolical way, the Principality of Monaco creates a ‘go-between’, a tight link between France and Italy from where Prince Michel of Yugoslavia is descended. In love with this Mare Nostrum and light, Michel will keep us enchanted through his photos, with these Mediterranean views, its glorious structures, last bastions of a refined and vulnerable world that you can contemplate, not without some nostalgic reverence. In the style of these travelers of the “Grand Tour”, Prince Michel offers his vision of a Mediterranean in Light for our greatest delight.
Image top and left: Monte Carlo marina, right image spring sunrise in Monaco, courtesy of Prince Michel of Yugoslavia. Discover more on: www.micheldeyougoslavie.com/.