For all you documentary photographers out there I give you a french born Australian film photographer who has done a lot of traveling, a lot of shooting and offers some sound advice.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in France and started backpacking (in Quebec) when I got 16. I flew away from my country in 2001 and have since lived in the West Indies, Ireland & Australia. I became Australian in 2009 and have travelled extensively during the last ten years. I would love to play the piano, my initial passion, more often though and will hopefully teach music one day.
What made you get into photography?
My parents had a newsagency in France so my first approach to photography was through books. Dad collected magazines from Magnum photographers as well as vintage cameras. I got introduced to the work of Elliott Erwitt, Cartier-Bresson, & Willy Ronis when I was very young. But it’s only recently that friends made me realize the impact that my photographs could have and they encouraged me to further develop my interest.
How did you get started?
I went to a ‘Camera Craft’ workshop at the Australian Centre for Photography a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. I learnt the basics, ie lighting, composition, colors,…Then I enrolled in a 2nd course and a 3rd one in order to specialize in documentary. I’ve become more and more drawn to analog photography during my studies and hope to be able to process my own film soon.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
As mentioned previously, I like to document my travels and capture these unexpected moments and encounters. Most of my work is in black and white.
What gear are you using?
I use film cameras, Nikon FM2 & Leica M6. I rarely leave the house without one of these. I also own a Nikon D7000, which is only used for commercial assignments. But I don’t think the equipment matters that much. You can make pretty good photographs with average (cheap) cameras and vice versa.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Fixed lenses exclusively, 35 & 50mm. They just suit the documentary style, not too heavy and easy to carry.
How are you marketing yourself?
I generally send my portfolio to magazines, contact friends and go to photography exhibitions as much as possible. I also regularly update my website, blog & Facebook page. There are just so many great online tools and not enough time.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Really difficult to pick just one image because they have been taken in different places over the years. But I quite like the one below, made last month in France as part of my project ‘Paris Twenty’. I’ve never stayed in Paris for more than two weeks and I’ve discovered some surprising spots, met intriguing people and definitely got inspired by this city. This photograph represents the ‘quiet chaos’.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Be patient, you won’t make a living out of your art in a day. You have to be persistent, accept rejections, believe in your work and most importantly love what you do. Also check out photographs of others, you’ll learn a lot by looking at various images and from feedback.