Photography and me (version fran├žaise ici)

What are exactly my links to the art of photography ? Is it a passion which inhabitated me since my childhood ? Did it appear later ? Were my parents famous photoreporters and fashion photographers who transmitted their passion to their little boy ? Here are a few questions to which I will try to bring some answers.

No, photography was not that obvious for me when I was young. Contrary to the writing "virus" that I naturally caught once I was able to read and write, photography appeared in my universe step by step and it was far from being smooth. To this, several reasons I will try to explain.

Firstly, during a long time, writing was my predilection mean to express my feelings. However, I started to feel the need to express the pictures I had in my mind using other means. Those other means were drawing and painting. I think I was 10 years old when I started to experiment these new topics. Unfortunately, I was never totally satisfied by what I was doing and pleasure was not really there. In other words, that was not my thing. I quickly moved away from painting, and even if I continued to draw until my 15's, I naturally came back to writing (well, that is not exactly true since writing never left me !) without sadness or frustration. To tell you the truth, everything seemed simpler at the time. At a given moment during my youth I wanted to test graphic arts as I would test anything, which is what childhood is about - to experiment. And after 5 years of experiments, I was done. Writing was however another story. It was always there as far as I can remember. And until my twenties, I was fully satisfied with that.

Then came the reign of digital photography and digital cameras. On the market since the end of the 90's, digicams became quickly relatively quite cheap. My parents offered me one as a present (the Nikon Coolpix 5600) in order for me to capture everything on my line of sight. To be frank, I rarely used this camera at its beginning. Between my studies and my writings, I was not ready to experiment photography. I think I was not even conscious at the time that photography could be an "art", and to the least, use its potential to express myself the way I could use drawing a few years before.

One day I finished my studies and it changed my whole life ^^. OK, I am slightly exagerating, but it is not totally bullshit. Indeed, at that moment, I came to the conclusion that my studies had taken their toll on me during 6 good years, a span during which even my taste for reading and writing was relagated far behind other preocupations. Of course, that is the way it is, I am not going to rewrite my history now, and to tell you the truth, I don't regret it.

However, in the same way the Shire suddenly came back to Frodo's mind once the One Ring was destroyed, my artistic side suddenly reappeared once my studies were behind me. I started to write again, perhaps trying to catch all this lost time. And then I started to mingle pictures and images within my mind, images that I wanted to translate by other meanings than writing, and without crossing the drawing stage which I did not wish to experiment anymore. I was now looking forward to experimenting photography and ready to discover what it could bring to me. Clearly a little shy at the beginning, lacking self-confidence, my curiosity was nonetheless the motor which took me to a new world, a world I found perfectly complementary (in my way of expressing feelings) of the world of writing. And this curiosity, step by step, month after month, became a passion. A passion with a cost, but when we love, passion is priceless I suppose ^^. Thus I bought a reflex camera, lens mounts, various softwares and equipments. I started to visit expositions, trying to understand the concepts behind a successfull photography. And of course, I came from theory to practice. I also have a pronounced taste for every subject about the "physical" theory of photography, from narrow depth of field as a result of a increasing lens aperture to the diffraction which can be induce by dense and tiny pixels.

I have now reached a stage where I experiment a lot, free from prejudices, and where I begin to sharpen some of my tastes. I will not talk about style at the moment, because if I successfully perceive my writing "touch", it is far too early to identify it in my photos. Maybe stranger eyes, such as yours, could be able to identify it while looking at my different galleries.

In any case, as I said, I am refining my tastes and my way of grasping photography. Thus, I already have a fairly good amount of ideas defining my own philosophy. To give you an idea of it, I am for instance utterly opposed to the idea that working on a photo using a dedicated software implies twisting the photo. In my opinion, a photo is by definition twisted once it is captured by the camera. A raw picture is no more than one of the various interpretations of the reality of the place, the subject, the light. Once we catch a part of this reality, it is twisted, modified (such as a measure would inevitably modify the state of a wave function in quantum mechanics for those of you familiar with this theory). We could set a stage with a thousand photographers capturing the same subject, none of them will bring to you the same image, the same impression, the same story. Of course, and this is especially the strength of great photographers, some of them will easily express a style, an atmosphere. But everyone of them, from the newbie to the profesionnal, everyone of them will inevitably twist this reality to give to the eye of the spectator as many interpretations than there are photos. So no, a photo - whether it is hugely twisted in post-production or wether we just apply classic corrections such as cropping, white balance and noise reduction - is still a photo. There are no such things as under-rated photos correlated to the tools which were applied to them.

My process of work, if you let me use the term process, happens to systematically use the JPEG + RAW formats of cameras. I then develop the RAW with a software like Lightroom 4, and to a lesser extent, using Darktable or RawTherapee. The idea behind such a workflow is that corrections I apply to my photos allow them to be printed in a fairly large format, a minimum being a 30 cm by 40 cm, perhaps a little bigger without being able to gaze at defaults (default meaning here particularities of the picture I wish to reduce as much as possible). Concerning images visible on this website, they are merely redimensionned in order to be lighter while galleries are loading. I usually perform this last operation with GIMP.

My equipment

Since the post is fairly recent (well, as of 2012/08/01), I send you back on my blog for a detailed description of my equipment.

And now ?

Well, now, after all this waffle which was much longer than expected, I suggest you take a look at my galleries !