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Think of a country. Ready? Well, there is a high probability that Dom has already been there photographing the most advanced units that operate in that country. France, Australia, Spain, Brazil, United Kingdom, USA, Singapore... the list of countries he has visited is too long to write them all down. It is always a pleasure to follow his steps on Facebook (@flashbangmag) and see what the next Flashbang Magazine will feature.

You have been with the GIGN in France, the GEO in Spain, the SCO19 in the United Kingdom, the BOPE in Brazil... what is the best story you have after so many years among operators of such a high level?

If we talk about memorable anecdotes, Brazil comes immediately to mind: I arrived at the unit in the center of Rio to meet the "CORE", a unit equivalent to the BOPE. The first patrols were already leaving and they invited me to accompany them. I open the rear left door of the pick-up truck to take a seat, but they tell me that I have to climb up the other side: "If they shoot at us from the left, the driver will not be able to defend himself, we need an armed person behind him." Ok... The explanation seems rational, but not very reassuring! To make things worse, all men inside the vehicle draw their guns and place it between their legs to be able to react faster.

"This question comes up often: When will we see the DEVGRU or the DELTA Force in the magazine?"

At the entrance to the favelas, the traces of bullet holes are visible on the walls, they also showed me more in the cockpit of the Police helicopter, I have never seen that anywhere else. The neighbourhoods where we were going to patrol in (and take photos) were already "pacified" but, nevertheless, it is impossible to enter without a first vehicle first ensuring that the security conditions are reasonable to take a photographer in! Imagine those neighbourhoods that are not controlled by the police...

We leave the vehicles to walk the streets and, although I do not feel any danger, the tension is thick and the agents never let their guard down, even when I suggest to buy some water. They even take turns to drink each one at a time to guarantee our safety.

Since anything is possible, if you were given a choice between photographing the DEVGRU, the CAG, or another unit of your choice, who feature in Flashbang Magazine? 

This question comes up often: When will we see the DEVGRU or the DELTA Force in the magazine? Unfortunately, but logically, this will never happen... I had the opportunity to meet several former members of these units on a personal level, but that is all I can say!

Often, readers do not realise the difficulty of being able to work with even less "famous" units. It took me almost three years, for example, to get to work with the SCO19 and I was the first to do it. Besides, among all the units that featured in Flashbang, many had never accepted a photographer before. I still have some iconic units as goals with which I am in contact and I do not give up to be able to work with them some day.

From I know that the rule... Is that there are no rules! Some requests to apparently easy-to-access units never end, while others that seem very complicated in theory, they actually are easier than expected.

But back to the question, yes, of course, there is always this legendary trio in mind: SAS, DEVGRU and CAG. But I would also add to the SBS and the FBI HRT.

In fact, I do not feel frustrated about this since I already had the privilege of working with many units that made me "dream" and that I discovered in magazines like RAIDS when I was a teenager. I think, among others, when I photographed the Hubert Command I fulfilled one of my childhood dreams.

"at over 200 meters height, I felt alone with my little harness and the rope seemed very thin…"

We know that you had to rappel down a façade of a building to take a picture of an operator who was rappelling too, but what has been the most difficult or dangerous thing you have ever had to do to get a great pic?

From the moment we move around in an environment with loaded guns, explosives and that there are helicopters or ships involved, danger is always present. But this inherent risk is largely offset by the professionalism and skills of operators, pilots, etc.

I have absolute confidence in my hosts. They are the best at what they do and whatever the situation, if they tell me that it can be done, I will do it without hesitation. This mutual trust is an essential feeling within these groups and I think they appreciate that I follow the game.

On the other hand, sometimes there are "very uncomfortable" situations. With the BRI of Paris, I was suspended rappelling from the top of the Montparnasse tower, at over 200 meters height. I felt alone with my little harness and the rope seemed very thin...

But the photos were worth it and I could clearly not give up in front of them! Once again, when all the security measures have been taken, the rest is in your head and it is gratifying to learn to go beyond that. But it does not prevent you from feeling a little weird when passing over the curb, with a 200 meters drop below.

With such expensive photographic equipment, you will need to have good security to carry out a photo shoot in such a "special" place as the favelas. How do you manage so that you do not have problems when you work in "uncontrolled" locations?

Well, contrary to what everyone may think, I work with a fairly limited and very rustic gear. A Nikon D3 which I had for over 10 years, 3 lenses and a flash. Units sometimes expect to see a team with lights, etc. But all this must remain very simple since I must be able to follow the operators as closely as possible in airplanes, helicopters, vehicles, boats, in the jungle, the mountain...

With experience we quickly learn to preserve what is essential and functional. I love to see this in units. The more operational and experienced people are, the more simplified and streamlined their team will be. There is no room for useless gadgets!

But returning to your question, I always get cold sweats in Rio. The BOPE had told me to meet at four o'clock in the morning at its base located next to the favelas to start the mission at dawn, and so I had to leave my hotel in the middle of the night with all my gear... During the taxi ride I could not help but think that the driver was going to take me to an alley and rob me or deliver me directly to the drug lords, because he thought I was a cop!

Despite having the best body guards from each country you visit, we know that in one photo shoot you got shot by a GIGN. How was the experience of seeing the action with your eyes instead of through the your camera lens?

Not at all! I do not know where this anecdote comes from? The truth is very different: more than 10 years ago, I was lucky that a friend from the GIGN performed what they call the "confidence shot". Normally, this is only reserved for members of the unit and this is done before entering the same. I was wearing a bulletproof vest with a plate (balltrap target) and they fired at 10 meters with the famous and legendary revolver of the unit, the MR73.

This symbolizes the perfect command of the shots and emotions, as well as the mutual trust that the team members have. It was really an incredible privilege.

It is not easy for such high level units to give away their patch, a patch that they have struggled to achieve and that they are so proud of being able to wear. However, you have managed to get a few of them, how did you do it?

From the forty units I have worked with, only one did not give me their patch because it was really against their culture. Therefore, I am lucky to have quite a unique "collection", with a great variety of units and countries represented, but above all because these patches were given to me personally by the operators. They have a huge sentimental value for me. In fact, it is a very significant gesture to give the patch of your unit to someone who does not belong to it, and so I never take it lightly. I am always very proud to receive them.

You have rappelled down, flown by helicopter, sailed on a speed boat, you have entered the jungle, you have been shot... but you still have something to do, when are you doing a photo shoot with airsofters? (We volunteer as models).

Well, it will be with pleasure! When can you take me by helicopter over the Sydney Opera House with a sniper? Or maybe in a submarine with combat divers? ;-)