After working for the Paris fire department, the 32-year-old young man is now based in Tenerife, where he divides his time between outdoor photography, climbing, freediving in open water, surfing, traveling… A skilled sportsman, he is one of the image hunters of the planet, one of the few who can accompany athletes in their thirst for performance and adventure.
He could have continued his military career with the Paris firefighters. Don ad vitam aeternam the uniform of the prestigious institution. It will finally be without him. Training at will, the episode leaves him with not only fond memories. “I expected something different. I am happy to have been able to join the elite of the profession. But some perks did not fit my ethics.”
Mehdi Allam, who now lives in Tenerife, has no regrets. Reconverted to photography, he praises this bygone era without insulting the future. “This year in Paris gave me a sporting and mental boost. Everything that gives me strength today.”
When the thirty-year-old turned expert photographer in the world of “outdoor” sports leaves the capital for Australia, she is not the type to procrastinate. “After Paris I went back to Millau in Aveyron to pass my CQP as a rope access technician. Once I was in the pocket I decided to move to Australia to equip climbing routes.”
Spotted by the Petzl brand, which specializes in mountain and safety equipment, this big climbing fan – who wore his first shoes on the walls of southern Aveyron – soon found Europe again. “I organized an international climbing event before I settled in Barcelona. weren’t very many. I had a card to play.”
For Mehdi, who has practiced photography as an amateur for many years, the awareness marks the beginning of a new adventure. In Barcelona, its beaches, its mass tourism and its drunken nights, he prefers the island of Tenerife, where he settled in 2016.
“Unlike Catalonia, there were a lot of things to do there in terms of climbing.” His goal at the time, to join the guild of high mountain guides. “That was actually the idea, but I had to revise my ambitions after a serious crash that destroyed my left leg.”
Bedridden and then in a wheelchair for many months, he began his rehabilitation with long sessions of flippers. “By getting into the water – on the advice of my physiotherapist – I quickly rediscovered the taste for apnea that I had discovered a few years earlier in the barracks.” A revelation to him. During the weeks, the photographer leaves the mountain, the climbing routes for the softness of the floating element. In the turquoise waters of the Canary Islands, he trains with the vice world champion in free apnea. “As for climbing, which I discovered at the Kervallon college in Marcillac, I fell in love with free apnea.” Two years after his first laps in the water, Mehdi obtained his instructor diploma and opened his own diving school, highlighting his past as a rescuer and his know-how in critical situations. “With my background as a lifeguard, I quickly left open water apnea, the relaxation side, relaxation, for survival training designed for surfers. Mainly those who get in the water are quite engaged.”
From Brazil to the Marquesas
Its customers are actually seasoned athletes looking to achieve the right reflexes when walls of water have fun keeping them underwater for long minutes. “I’m currently working with one of the only big wave surfers in Europe. I’m helping her to react in these kinds of conditions. To stay calm in all circumstances.”
At the same time, this aesthetic of spectacular photography continues his work as a professional photographer. On land, in weightlessness, suspended from climbing walls or underwater – his favorite element – he strings projects together like pearls. Coming soon: a report on spearfishing in Cape Verde and perhaps in Brazil. “The idea is to support children from underprivileged neighborhoods, children forced to hunt to survive, by introducing them to security,” Mehdi elaborates. In South Africa he will also have to dive into waters at 7 degrees – his indulgence – for reports of practicing kitesurfing with some of the big names in the discipline. Mostly neighbors. “I live in El Medano, a small village very close to Tenerife, which has about ten kitesurfing and windsurfing world champions!”
Always ready to hit the road, he should also be sailing off the Azores soon, for a documentary about whale sharks or to fully immerse himself in chocolate from the Marquesas Islands. “My father has a cocoa farm there. I want to be able to talk about it while evoking the forgotten traditions, the culture of one of the most remote islands of Polynesia.” So many stories to tell for Mehdi Allam, who finally chose photography to write his own.