What does a researcher in immunology, a celebrity photographer or an Olympic snowboarder have in common? Everything that really matters: “Their inner energy, their creativity” says Philippe Ungar, French from New York who, for more than two years, interviewed “inspiring people ” and makes them talk about creativity for his podcast Sounds like portraits, which this week celebrates its hundredth issue.

Do you find the creativity of a police superintendent or that of a luxury boss questionable? Philippe Ungar does not agree. If he interviews many writers, musicians and other artists, he is convinced that “Creativity is everywhere; it’s the same energy and passion at play. ”

At the start of this podcast project, there is a crisis, personal or professional, to choose from: "I was wondering about my own creativity, my ability to do interviews, so I thought I was going to talk about it with people who had asked themselves these questions." Because "doing interviews" was already his job, as a sound archivist. A profession that came a little by chance. After starting his career as a teacher of philosophy in high school in France, then teacher trainer, he had also worked for French-speaking Swiss radio. “And then one day the president of a private Swiss foundation (the Jean Planque collection), contacted me to offer to make sound archives for them, to collect the words of all those who had participated in the collection” (Editor's note: the exceptional collection – Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Bonnard, Picasso, etc. – is now on display at the Aix-en-Provence museum). This first order was followed by others and the taste for interviewing became a profession for Philippe Ungar, whom he called “For lack of better”, sound archivist. Other large foundations appealed to him, then companies, families, all anxious to transmit oral history.

"Pass on the story, I am convinced that it is the oldest profession in the world ”, is he fun. When he fulfills an old dream and settles in New York thanks to a romantic encounter, he continues his historical investigations and adds American customers. “One of my most beautiful meetings is that of David Rockefeller, on behalf of the Dubuffet foundation. It was on the 44th floor of the building that bears his name; I was given 20 minutes and I stayed for two hours. I had met a lot of people he knew, he was passionate, it gave a great conversation. "

Week after week, he seeks this same type of meeting for his podcast. For the 100th anniversary, he chose Pascale Berner, a French woman from New York who works as a “end of life doula” at Lenox Hospital. "I met her by chance during a dinner with friends, I found her very interesting and the interview was great. Then she told me that I had made her say things that she didn't know about her. 'It was like giving birth to me ’ she told me. "

After 100 episodes, and thousands of questions asked of his guests, the interviewer answered his original question. “And the answer is definitely yes! Thanks to these podcasts, I realized that interviews were my thing; I love that. I discovered that I am in my place by helping others to ask themselves questions that they would not ask themselves. They learn about them, I learn about me; And I hope the listener learns by the way! ”.


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