François Fontaine was born in Paris in 1968. He began photographing while studying History of Art at Sorbonne. He travelled a lot, especially to South-East Asia, where he developed his passion for photography. Fontaine’s first exhibition in 1997 in Paris was called Phnom-Penh Jails. The same year this series was shortlisted for the Kodak Prize in the category Critical Photography. From 1998 to 2002 he lived and worked in Spain, where his series Poésie Urbaine and Les Fleures de la Nuit were exhibited. In 2005 he participated in the first Guangzhou Photo Biennale and was an artist in residence at the Guangdong Museum of Art of Guangzhou. At that time Fontaine created the series Lost in China, which earned him the third place in the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in 2006 and was presented at Rencontres in Arles and Photo Beijing. The series Silenzio!, shot in 2011–2012, was exhibited at several venues in Paris and Lyon and finally was presented at Paris Photo, in Paris and Los Angeles. A small excerpt from the series is touring with the exhibition Eyes wide open! 100 Years of Leica Photography, which is currently on show at WestLicht Museum and OstLicht Gallery. The artist works and lives in Paris.
His work can be found in such museums and collections as Bibliothèque National de la France, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Galerie Fnac, Fondation Hermès, Leica Camera, Maison Robert Doisneau, Institut Lumière, Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou, China, different private collections in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil, Turkey, China, Japan and the USA.