lundi 31 janvier 2011

Analog : the revenge of time...

I've spent the last 8 years exploring new digital techniques to increase productivity during photo shoots. I'm proud to have pioneered this for my client during the noughties, and they thanked me back by hiring me more and more. How could it have been different ? Clients finally could get the pics delivered nearly before they were even made. And how comfy it was for them to get digital files instead of slides and prints.  But we lost the feeling of the real stuff, silver sulphur, all grainy and imperfect but so real, as compared to the virtuality of modern pictures... After all, they exist nowhere except as electric charges in computers or once printed in magazines. Nothing that the hand can touch, feel... And we even abolished time itself, living the rat race to shoot, process, deliver in time with closer an closer deadlines. Zillions of software try to imitate the analog stuff, and some get very close or match it perfectly. But still, something more tactile is lost, and it was a pleasure for me to get back to my old cameras, beautifully crafted objects of desire, when I found back the time capsule : a cardboard full of more than 10 years old film rolls ! Most of them still work, even if with some unwanted but highly expected color shifting, or grainy explosions... Fun, and everything turns into a photo subject ! Just need to earn some money to buy and process the  rolls now... Oups...












mercredi 19 janvier 2011

RedBull : From racing to dining !

A few months ago I had a phone call from RedBull Austria. Luckily, the charming person was speaking a way more perfect english than mine, as my german sucks... Actually I do not speak a word of german, sadly. Anyway, they wanted my shooting skills for a shoot in... a restaurant ! That's right, you read properly, it was no full action photo assignment, but a tricky coverage of a videoshooting about a famous chef, owner of beautiful restaurant Mirazur in Menton, France. The truth is that redBull has a restaurant at their Headquarters in Austria for employees, and the place is not your average working place diner. Every month they invite a famous Chef from all around the world, using his recipes to feed the lucky austrian workers. And they also have a TV show about the invited Chef displayed on RedBull TV ! Kind of another planet... But anyway I had to shoot super cool TV host Roland Tretti cooking with Chef Mauro Colagreco the whole day, backstage and normal pics for magazine use. And let me tell you, being in the kitchen of such a restaurant is some experiment ! Quite relaxed until 11.30 when the first customers started to arrive, the mood turned suddenly to intense ++ when orders arrived from the dining room ! No time to ask the guy and his team to pose for a portrait, unless you want him to throw all his knives at your face... Funnily enough, I managed to grab a few bites of the delicate plates we shot, but not enough to feed me at the end of the day ! I almost died of hunger inside a restaurant...












mercredi 12 janvier 2011

Living in a fridge...

I'm pretty sure you always wondered who were the guys switching off the light when you close your fridge's door. Let me introduce them ! Romain, Alberto and Nico are ski testers for big companies. Their mission is to detect the bombs, the fastest pairs of ski among the thousands produced each year by the racing workshops. And it's quite difficult to sort them reliably outside, with physical conditions changing every moment, making comparisons quite impossible. So they all go to Landgraaf,  Nederlands, where a giant fridge was built on top of an old coal mine refusal cone... The place is so big there are 2 or 3 hotels, shops, 2 or 3 lifts and chair, a real snowpark which can ashame a lot of real resorts... The temperature and humidity is the same all year long, a bit boring but a treat for ski testing. They spend around 2 months inside, and believe me, the place is so depressing it must be easier to travel to Mars confined in a space vessel ! Never mind, they have fun, even if a bit repetitive... They reach up to 100 km/h at the bottom, which makes for interesting braking sessions... You can bet they spend much of their spare time breathing some real fresh air, somewhere outdoor !












dimanche 9 janvier 2011

One Man or One Hundred, Same Passion...

Last year I got on 2 jobs, very similar by the subject, but lightyears away in scale... First, we got, french snow journalist Sandra Stavo-Debauge and me, special access to Dynastar skis factory in Sallanches. It was a renaissance year, after big job compressions and reorganization. Still it was buzzing with people hard working on new collection of skis for both Rossignol and Dynastar. The place is quite big, but compared to other industries, like automotive or clothing, it's a relatively small place. Hard to imagine the best part of Dynastar high end skis you can see on the slopes are coming from there... At the bottom of the scale, but overflowing with talent, dedication and knowledge, I shot at BrotherWood workshop. The place is run by Florian Bernard-Granger, a young engineer who decided his life would be better if he was building skis and snowboards from scratch, instead of getting a very well paid employment in some  major industry ! In his workshop, where he also lives, he built himself nearly all the machinery you need to craft your favorite snowtools ! He designs large skis and swallows, and believe me, he knows where the trees used for the cores were cut , and when ! Looking at both series of pictures is a crazy shortcut from one man business to a group with hundreds of workers. But motivation looks the same.









samedi 8 janvier 2011

Served On The Rocks !

Fresh snow and jobs are getting as rare as gold these days, meaning I don't travel that much as well. Better go to the sea and catch some waves ! Got good surf yesterday, so I motivated myself to carry my water housing instead of my surfboard today, to bring some memories of what could be some kind of photo project for the winter, after all. We surf that spot a little bit downer on the reef, keeping an eye on this break as an indicator for the next series. You can see obviously why, as it literally breaks on the rocks, leaving no chance to you and your surfboard if you ever want to ride it anyway ! So I decided to get a dose of bravery and try to capture on pixels those marvelous little waves, before getting smashed a few times on the mussels and sea urchins living on the reef. Nearly got turned into clamshell look alike, but I think it was worth it... A bit more work on the pics and it will be quite presentable for printing. Amateurs, just let me know.



mardi 4 janvier 2011

Keep a trace ! your business is beautiful...

We are surrounded by human activity that very seldom get documented... And that's a shame... I've been trying for the last past years to shoot more corporate stuff... OK, you're gonna say I'm getting old, just want to get money, or whatever funny joke you can imagine. But it's a true and sad fact, big or small companies don't think their business is interesting enough to get pictures of it, and they are very difficult to convince. That explains the poor press releases we get from some of the biggest actors of the industry, even snow industry, though known to produce a rich imagery. OK, what's the point of having good pictures of what we do ? Isn't the business itself, and the money generated, the only things important ? I do not think so... It's just that people inside those industries don't realize how photogenic their jobs can be, and that it's important to keep a trace, as stylish as possible please. We're no animals... Though most of the time they look way more elegant than us. That's why I feel I was very lucky, as almost 2 years ago I got a major job from Serre-Chevalier resort, who paid me interestingly enough to make me stay for more than 5 weeks and shoot all the different jobs you can encounter in a ski resort. From people on the slopes to girls and guys working in the offices. I'd like to thank here Damien Gall, from the marketing department, who felt the importance of showing their skills. Those pictures are still used proudly and intensively for press articles, resort communication, exhibition, whatever... It was not easy to shoot, but very motivating and rewarding. And I got all access to places and people customers cannot even imagine necessary to keep the ski business running ! I've even been buried and rescued by avalanche dogs ! Properly shot, it's very cool, and it allowed me to use any photo techniques available : dark BW, remote flashes and cameras, night shots with snowcats... So please, entrepreneurs, your job is beautiful, just unleash your checkbook and give us an opportunity to make you shine !