Interview with Julien Leclaire of Modelska Photography
“Thanks to photography, I can show to people my way of thinking and how I feel something through my work.”
Julien, can you give us a little intro as to who you are and how you got started? How did you move specifically towards fashion and beauty photography? I was passioned by photography since I was young. First of all I was photographing people in the streets with my disposal camera and at the age of 18, I began to work as photographer in night clubs. Then I resolved to challenge myself and I created my company Modelska, specialized in fashion and beauty photography. I choose fashion, clearly because the world of fashion moves all the time. It’s really important to be aware about new trends, new colours, the environment changes and new moods to create a nice communication campaign. Finally, every day is a new challenge! As regards beauty photography, I love the expressions of the models faces which are communicating so many feelings.
Why is photography important to you? What do you love the most about it? Thanks to photography, I can show to people my way of thinking and how I feel something through my work. That I like the most is to meet new people and to share my passion with them.
What is one last impression you want to leave in your photos? The last impression I want to leave in my photos is a strong emotion for people who are watching them. The photography has to make a mark on viewers’ mind by the first glance.
Your projects are a collaborative process. Tell us what is like to always be working with new stylists, models, and designers. It allows varying the styles thanks to different stylists, models and designers. Each of them has different faculties and know-how, which provides with different ideas and point of views. That’s always an interesting moment of sharing.
What from your point of view makes the shoot successful? A great team cohesion, a good knowledge and know-how of the artistic team and a professional model who knows how to take a pose and give nice expression.
Do you usually choose the models by yourself? Do you have any physical aesthetic preferences in the girls and boys you shoot? In general, models are requesting me information themselves. But when I am looking for new faces for example to develop my portfolio, I choose models with an intense face expressions and which may communicate both melancholic and strong feelings.
When you’re working with a model, how important is communication during a shoot? The communication is one of the keys of a great photoshoot. I am always talking with models to help them to understand what I am expecting in terms of attitude and expressions. This communication allows a great exchange between the photographer and the model and allows to model a better poses evolving during the shoot.
What does beauty mean to you as a photographer? For me everyone has beauty, and it is revealed by facial expressions. The photographer should know to sublimate beauty.
Is there something you always ask yourself/think just before you press the shutter button? Yes, I always saying to myself « you have to reveal the beauty in the person which is in front of you ».
From your point of view what are the most difficult aspects of independent fashion photography? The most difficult is to find new clients during the year. The competition is very strong and we have to work hard for it.
Where do your ideas to shoot come from? Do you look to other artists for inspiration, or does your inspiration come from other sources? The most of the time my inspiration comes from songs. For example I love the lyrics of Lana del Rey or Cœur de Pirate’s songs. They usually come from the music that I listen or when I watching video clips. I read a lot of fashion and art magazines. Yes, I look to other artists not really for the inspiration but in order to do not do the same photography.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs? What is the trick to capturing a great shot? It depends of the theme and inspiration. For a big project, it takes two month of preparation, between the research of the models, the make up artists and hairstylists, stylists, etc.
Sometimes it takes less time, around 15 days, when I am working with my habitual team.
I think there is no trick but obviously more the sensibility of the photographer.
To your opinion, what role image editing programs play in today’s photography? What are advantages and disadvantages of using it? Those programs helps to sublimate a model or a product, it’s an added value. But the issue is to do not change completely the person, because too much retouching can destroy completely the natural beauty of the model.
How much time do you spend taking photos, versus retouching photos? I take more or less three hours to take photos instead of four hours retouching one photo.
What are you working on right now, and what are your goals for the future? Currently I am working on a project between fashion and nutrition and obviously I would love to make my mark in the fashion industry.
Where can our readers see more of your work and get connected with you?
What has been your most memorable moment in your career so far? Why? The sparkling eyes of one beginning young model who told me “I can’t believe it’s me, I am so pretty, thank you Julien!”
If you could tell yourself anything when you first started out, what would you say? Probable “don’t let what people say stop you from achieving your goal. Criticism can be helpful, so use it as a strength because you also have talent.”
Do you think that society would be different if photography was never invented? I am pretty sure that society would be different because nowadays people pay more attention to them, and compare themselves to advertising campaigns. Moreover, today everyone can take photos and we have a phenomenon of physical appearances. I think without photography, the society would not have evolved the way it has.
Tell us one surprising fact about you. I remember of each person I met at least once in my life.