How has living in your van, a space that allows for a constant change of “home” influenced your work?
In 2017 I lived in my van for 8 months. I thought it would have been possible to work from a far distance but people from the creative industry (advertising, photography etc..) are the most conservative in the end. I guess there is a part of jealousy inside. I felt like they were thinking, “Why is this guy constantly on “holidays” and I am working with the noise of the coffee machine.” As I was moving a lot, fuel was expensive and I needed to come back and make some money. Since then, I decide to spend around 4 months every year inside. The Road is the best for photography, it allows you to turn “in the left” and see sometimes the unseen. It could be one of the most beautiful place in a lost village on a country road near Vatra Dornei in Romania, or a weird one when I found myself in was an unfinished house sharing a strange beer… but also the most dangerous place I had been. I remember entering deeper and deeper into the Lagunilla market of Mexico. Locals told me after that it was extremely dangerous and a miracle that I was still alive.
Overall I have two passions, photography and surf. It’s difficult to pursue both at the same time unless of course you are a surf photographer; it’s too time consuming, you have to be completely devoted to it when you do it.
For your takeover with Anywhere Blvd the portraits and stories you shared are of people that it seems you met while traveling away from tourist destinations, can you elaborate on the places you go to find your subjects.
While you can find a great portrait everywhere, but let’s be honest, gentrified cities are less “photogenic” than others. I don’t even take a camera when I go to Paris, London or NY. One of the aims of photography is to capture something unseen. It’s the difference between traveling and going on holiday. Holiday is to rest, while traveling must be exhausting. After two weeks of travels I am just dead, my head is about to explode with all the new things that I’ve seen. The same applies to my stomach with all the new things that I have tasted etc.. You can’t have this in places made to welcome you. There is no warm welcome when you travel, only surprises. A famous French writer traveler wrote “Tourism is taking people that would feel better in their home in some places that would be better without them”. It resumed this so well.
Tourism is really something that I hate, this is one the bad of the XXI century I think. It kills everything, the rich people coming with their money and taking advantage with it, so poor people adapt to their demands and lost their traditions. Anthony Bourdain was such a loss last year…
Can you share with us what it is that draws you to photographing someone? What are you looking for, how do you know when you find it?
Before speaking about the nature of the series that you are working on, I guess I’m simply attracted to the photogenic situation of the character. It can be his face, his clothes, his attitudes or what he’s doing at this precise moment. I only take one picture of any subject, never more. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
How does shooting film enhance your process?
Film has something that digital will never have, it includes mistakes which I think are very important in photography. Mistakes always teach us a lesson and empirical knowledge will always be the best school, period. The camera and film are tools with their own weaknesses and this is why photography is interesting, I’m never looking for a perfect reproduction of what I am seeing because I love the magic that happens while shooting. An unexpected sunny ray somewhere, an unwanted blurry part… all these things that make analog photography mysterious and captivating and why people buy expensive digital filter and mimic what film naturally has.
You began a magazine called Whereisthecool, what made you start this?
Whereisthecool was a blog 10 years ago that allowed me to archive inspiration stuff through this idea of answering to the title. I guess doing it also in the old way, by printing it on paper was the next step for me. As I was saying for film, nothing will replace this. You can archive digitally all your pictures perfectly, nothing will gives you the same feeling than opening your own photo album. Whereisthecool is just a pretext, a concept to take pictures of people, places, food, architecture, design etc.. that represent the “cool” which is something quite subjective that I try to make as objective as possible.
You mentioned how people can be appear jealous of how your ability to travel in your van, what advice would you give those who want to quit their world to pursue something they love?
I will not give advice, when you need freedom, when you are not made for corporate work atmosphere, you know it inside. Someone who spends their life asking themselves if they would have been happier elsewhere is being untrue.
Being conscious of the golden cage is one thing, escaping it is another. Some people are made for this, some people aren't. They (in their internal core system) feel better in a safe environment, without financial stress etc... Quit Facebook first and see what happens.
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