A couple of questions I asked Irwin:
What inspired you to the short film "Fugue"?
I was in a train, trying not to fall asleep, and a few seats away from me there was a group of kids who were chatting together. I think they were from an orphanage. Anyway they were talking about their childhood, which all seemed to have been pretty rough, and one of them told his mates how he used to hide into strangers' cars on supermarkets parking lots to escape his mother. So basically, the plot of my short film is a true story, I just imagined things that could have happened to him when he did those runaways.
Rain or snow?
Definitely snow. Rain is sad, dark, wet and dirty, whereas snow is pure and it can make beautiful a landscape that is usually mediocre. However I don't like snow when there is too much sun. I prefer when there are clouds, because everything seems dead, still, underneath the snow. All the noises and the lights become soft, diffuse.
If you could change one thing about Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited", what would it be ?
There's nothing much to change about this movie. Yet, the scene of the three Whitman brothers rescuing the boy in the river bothers me, it's a bit too melodramatic. But apart from that moment, it's genius. I like Wes Anderson's sense of absurdity. Oh and I've learned that he lives in Paris, near one of my friend's house !
If you were a girl, you would be wearing .................. all the time.
If I was a girl I would be wearing tights all the time.
Do you have a line for elders asking what you're "going to do with your life"?
Yeah, everybody asks me this question. It's really boring, but now I have a automatic answer, I don't even need to think about it. It would be something like : "This year I'm taking the Bac (=French equivalent for A Levels), next year I'm going to a good cinema prep school, and after that I will try to enter at NFTS(London) or TISCH (New York) or ENSMIS (Paris). And then, if I'm lucky I will direct movies". Usually the person stops the conversation there, as I've said all this in 10seconds.
Whose portraits would you shoot for a magazine cover?
I really love Chloé Sevigny's face. But she's been on so many magazine covers that it would really be a cliché. Last year I met Vivian Girls, and they're perfect. They have these innocent, teenage faces but they also have tattoos all over their arms, which makes an interesting contrast.
College or work? And if college, which subject?
For the moment, I am still in highschool. However, as I'm home-schooled I can go on short-film shootings, I make my own timetable. It's not really work yet as I don't earn much money. But it's good because I'm not afraid to be "out of the system". Many people are totally scared to leave the educational structure, it gives them a false sense of stability. I think it kills creativity to stay in the same place or to hang out with the same people forever.
One of your favorite spots in Paris?
There are some nice clubs in Paris, but they get boring pretty quickly. I prefer going to concerts at places like the Point FMR, the Cigale or the Elysée Montmartre. During the day, my favorite spot would be the Jardin du Luxembourg. It's really peaceful : people are reading, resting, cuddling. The light is soft, filtered by trees. In winter though you'd better hang out in some café because it's often really cold there.
How many cameras do you usually take with you for a shoot ?
Lately I've been using exclusively my Bronica Etr-c. I don't think I could go on a shoot with tons of equipment, I have to be able to move around. Sometimes I take a good Polaroid camera with me, to do some lightning tests. At night, I use disposable cameras or a small 35mm compact Minolta : cheap cameras so that I'm not afraid to lose them or break them.
Who is your favorite knight ?
When I was a kid my favorite knight was Lancelot. I think I liked him because he is an outsider. He's also a kind of charming rebel, who defies the king and seduces Guenievre. I don't read much knight stories anymore though.
Is there a difference between shooting girls or boys?
I guess boys are paying less attention to the way they look. It's quite hard to take a picture of a girl in which she will actually like herself. Especially when you don't use Photoshop afterwards. That's one of the good thing about film too : the model can't ask to see the picture right after the shoot ! I think this year I'm going to try to take more pictures of boys.
How do you feel about movie snapshots ?
Much of my inspiration comes from movie snapshots. Each time I watch a movie on my computer, I take snapshots of the moments I like. I've got a big collection of them. It gives me ideas for photographs, but also story plots. For example, I put a few snapshots from different movies together and I try to imagine a story that would link them.
Pictures, that you can live in. Be sure to look at his flickr and website! Also, take a look at his video works.
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Paris to Bordeaux, France