Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Paul Rousteau

Paris, France

Portraits are - among others - your expertise. What do you find difficult about shooting them?

​I find it quite easy by now, but sometimes I have just a very little amount of time to shoot a star. And sometimes I have bad lighting conditions at the same time, so I have to be fast and inventive.​

If needed, how do you help the person you are photographing to relax and focus?

​I tell them to be in their own mind and to simply think about her or his personal matters. And don't move!

Between you taking pictures for yourself and photos you shoot for commissioned work, are there differences in your approach while working?

​Not really, I always try to surprise myself, even if it's commercial work. ​

What do you enjoy about working with professional models?

​In general it's easier, because they have beautiful faces! But sometimes it can be a problematic when I want natural poses: they always want to control their images.

I felt that you very effectively play around and work with colour, light and haze: the images you create seem endless, encompassing their physical dimensions and I for one felt that they almost draw the spectator in. Is this something you aim for?

​Yes. I try to reveal spiritual and immaterial things by playing around with mistakes and colour.

You rarely shoot in black and white. Despite you being very successful with images in colour, was this ever a deliberate choice?

​Yes, I see in colours and I love colour​. I love light, which not in black in white. To me, it's impossible to shoot in black and white although I like photographers like Richard Avedon, Sally Mann and Garry Winogrand.

How did the idea for your personal project ‘Henri’ - the photographic diary for your son - come up?

​It all started without a condom! No, I'm joking: I took a lot of pictures of my son like all parents do. After two years of taking pictures, I decided to edit them. I spend one week editing the pictures with my friend Shannon Guerrico and Fred Bott. The finished product is the self-published book.

While working, do you like to be in conversation? Do you prefer to work in a quiet environment or to put on some music?

​It depends. For fashion photography, I like to have music as an energy booster. When I have only five minutes to shoot a portrait, I don't talk a lot, because I'm trying to be really focused on my job. But when it's all finished I do talk because I'm a sociable person!

Do you listen to any radios or podcasts? If so, which?

​Not really these days. Right now I'm kind of boring, because I only listen ​to set playlists. I used to make music myself, but I stopped after getting married and having kids. You can listen to my old stuff here

Whose non-photographic work have you always admired?

​Giotto, Félix Vallotton, Rumi's teachings, Renoir's "Les baigneuses", Dutch painters for religious paintings, Abdellatif Kechiche's movies, Arvo Pärt's work ... Here is my moodboard-blog with images that I like and put together. To me, it's very helpful to get inspired by these colours and situations, especially for fashion shoots. 

Which is the best place to get a quick and good lunch in central Paris?

Le Bar des Variétés​, it's in a beautiful and typically French passage. There we eat real meat from Auvergne, which is my home country. The address is: 12 Passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris.

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