“Photoshop invented nothing. They just took existed in analog photography tool and made them digital.”
Alexandre, can you please tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to photography in general? I would say that as far as I could remember, I always liked the subject of photography. Since I was a child I saw different daily events that I wanted to capture and somehow freeze forever. At that time I didn’t have a camera, but that’s how I started to dream about photography. Right now I live in Montreal, Canada I work in this domain since 2004 and there is no other place where I could imagine myself working otherwise.
What services do you provide and what does your “team” consist of? I do mostly commercial photo shoots, such as fashion look books and annual catalogs, I also work with family portraits and professional portraits on commission, etc. Editorial is however, mostly for inspirational photo shoots of art and self-expression. Some of our retail clients are afraid of experimenting and using an element of provocation, or their budget does not allow them to, so we try to come up with our own ideas. I always work with my team on creative projects.
My style is to create and to innovate. I try to metamorphose my style and to be in a constant evaluation of my work development. I aim for original ideas, but always try to consider as an example of personal inspiration, the work of other photographers – the pioneers of the industry. I love to achieve a perfection of my final results and I think that perfectionism is a big part of my personal style.
I have a great team of MUA, fashion and hair stylists and we really enjoy working together on different projects. We inspire each other and we understand each other very well, and I am very lucky to be a part of that team.
What do you love the most about your job? I love every aspect of my job. I visualize the image before it appears on my screen or my camera, I have ideas that come to life with the help of a team work and many talented people, and that is what gives me the satisfaction when I look at the final images.
How was your first shooting? What did you shoot? It’s difficult to remember, but like most of the photographers I started with small photo shoots, step by step. I remember one of my first projects, at the time when I used to live in Paris for ten years and I used to take the metro every day when I was going for work. I thought that it could be a great idea to capture this underground life and to develop a little story about it. Since that idea was born in my mind, it came to reality within a year, and I must say that it was one of my first successful projects.
From your experience, what have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome as a fashion photographer? To build relationships within the fashion community is always challenging, considering the vast competition, but this is what keeps me going and working harder everyday.
Can you please briefly describe a typical day in your studio. It’s very unpredictable each day. Every shooting is different. Sometimes, it can be only me with a model or otherwise a big team of 20 people or more. It is the most exciting thing and you never know what really will happens next.
Your projects are a collaborative process. Tell us what is like to always be working with new stylists, models, and designers. It is always interesting to discover new talents, new individuals and artists. It’s not easy sometimes but very exciting afterwards. Sometimes for an important project I don’t feel like taking a risk of working with the people that I don’t know, therefore I call people that I trust.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh? How do you stay inspired? I love to visit different art exhibitions, for example Art Basel in Miami, local museums and art exhibitions, and whatever I am exposed to artistically, also while travelling. I keep on studying my artistic vision and I get inspired by the other artistic works such as sculpture, painting, art installations and of course photography. Sometimes it can also be the work of other photographers (famous and rather not) that can artistically inspire me to create something new using my own interpretation of that borrowed idea.
Can you describe to us your creative process behind the photographs? Do you plan each photo out or are they created more organically? I can think about concept for years. And then, step-by-step I realize them and they come to reality. I can get inspired by one picture and it becomes a big editorial project afterwards.
Is there something you always ask yourself/think just before you press the shutter button? And… What is going through your mind when you’re behind the camera?It is too late to think about the concept just before you press the shutter button. I think about my interaction with a model and try to predict the best moment to capture. I try to visualize the picture ahead of my camera.
What from your point of view makes the shoot successful? Successful point of view is the work of the photographer’s vision.
What is typically in your camera bag and what is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera? I change the objects that are in my bag depending on each photo shoot. However, I always have my camera, lenses, cleaning tools, chewing gum, video light, batteries, charger, flashes… I love to use my video light to create a natural backlighting and photograph objects out of my studio.
To your opinion, what role image editing programs play in today’s photography? What are advantages and disadvantages of using it? Photoshop invented nothing. They just took existed in analog photography tool and made them digital. So today you spend 2h what 2 days before the Photoshop was invented. For sure, it is much more easer but photographers start to forget the real photography. They say: we will fix it in postproduction. It is a big mistake. Are you photographer or photoshopper?
What is the key to getting the best out of someone? How important is your relationship with your models to the creative process? For me the mutual respect and connection is crucial. Without it, when the model “doesn’t take you seriously ” you can never achieve the great self expression.
What does beauty mean to you as a photographer? Do you have any preferences in the models you shoot? I love high fashion model looks. But the most important element of beauty for any model is their personal charisma.
What projects are you working on next, and what are your goals for the future? It is a very long list J and perhaps I would love to work with some popular musicians I love to listen like Tom York (Radiohead), Metallica, AC/DC, U2, Rolling Stones; Some iconic models like Natalia Vodianova. Some actors like Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Robert de Niro, Edward Norton, Mickael J Fox… Because these are the people that I am always inspired by, their characters and charisma that affect people around the world, and I personally adore their work.
What role does social media play in your photography business? To interact with my followers and to post some original and interesting images. And to be able to expose them as fast as I can to my latest projects.
What has been your most memorable moment in your career so far? To shoot Rihanna in Paris along with some other well-known personas, and to assist Terry Richardson for his Vogue photo shot.
Do you have any tips for those looking for advice from recognized photographers? Learn everyday and try to see the world differently from the others.
What do you enjoy most to photograph? Editorials for magazines.
What do you do on your down time? I try to have some quality time with my wife and my son.
Tell one fact about yourself that readers may find surprising. I don’t want to expose any surprises about myself, I am an open book to my readers and there are absolutely no secrets from the world that I am hiding 😉