dream

Does it make sense to create more art?

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A few months ago I went through an existential creator crisis (just like every others couple of months to be honest ;D ) : it didn’t make any sense any more to create pictures. 


You know, there are already so many of them everywhere! Let’s face it, we are flooded with images and other stuff : more pictures are uploaded every day on instagram than ever before, at a point we almost start to regret the age of the scarcity of film photography. Why would I spend 12 hours to create something with my heart and soul for it to disappear almost instantly, lost into this sad ocean of selfies. And if you start comparing yourself and your work with others photographers, it’s over : so many of them already doing such beautiful pictures, it does not make any sense to do some more! It will never be as beautiful, and even if it’s not that bad, it will never set itself apart from the crowd. That’s it, we are doomed to stay in this magma, lost in the middle of millions other people. I should have listen to my parents/husband/sister/friend and get a real job!

I knew it, I will never be Beyoncé, we are all gonna die, the planet is fucked and the pandas are still not having sex DAMNIT!

Ok, it’s time for a bit of mindfulness, let’s get back on track before we get lost into dark sad parts our mind labyrinth

I want to give you my own most powerful reasons to keep going. This is personal, mostly from conversation with good friends, and this pieces of philosophy help me on a daily basis to keep the spark going!

The world desperately needs the dreamers 

I got this one from my beautiful dancer friend human Kevin : He thinks our mission is indeed vital to the society : We are the one able to see and share beauty, we have the power to move people, to make them feel, this is what’s matters the most. As long as we have the artists, the world will not give up. Don’t let anyone treat you inferior because you are just another creator who wants to live his dream. Everyone loves to go to movies, to watch TV shows, to listen to music : this industries are MASSIVE, they hire thousands of people, and they influence people’s life, who can gather around something great and positive. That’s why every dictature have an absolute control over art and creation : they either use it to promote their own values, or censor the creations that does not fit their views. They understand very well that it can influence people’s point of view. Even in our societies, we need the dreamers to give us hope in a world flooded by bad news ans sensationalism. Especially when medias are playing with our fears on a daily basis. 

The mission of the artist

The artist is a messenger : they are a voice of the society we live in. You might want it or not, but you are a part of this world. So even if you don’t consider yourself as a non-political person, you are still a product of the society you are living in. The creator can use his skills to share messages from people that does not have the voice or the power to do so. When I was still a student in graphic design school, a friend of mine was older and he was already a recognized art director in Paris. He mentored me for a bit and I remember a great lesson he taught me : He said to me « as a designer, you have a power to help others : for example, a charity that helps women victim of domestic violence wants to promote the work they are doing. If they do a poster themselves, and put them it the wall in the street, probably no one will read it. But if you create a great poster for them, with a strong message and an impactful visual, some people will see it and be interested in what they have to say. As a designer, you will have to decide what you want for this world, you can use your power to influence people to buy more useless craps, or you can help give a voice to some people who can’t speak ». I realized this day that if I had a power and a responsability that was beyond me and beyond creating just beautiful visuals. 

The creators are the voice of their time

I will go even farther and say that most of what we admire from the past are from creators : the artists have the power to transcend reality but also time. If a prehistoric guy, thousands of years ago asked himself too many questions about why he was doing this weird paintings on the cave wall and watched netflix instead (wait what?) we would not be able to admire them. And even more important, to understand a tiny bit more about the way they were living. Most of the things we value from our past is Art, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture : these creations reflect the beauty of a past time. We won’t remember the accountant, the banker nor the nurse. These jobs are vital to a society for sure, and sometimes, the artist even help them to be remembered in their own way : I love how Verweer saw beauty and poetry in the life of the domestics working in house : we have to remember it was a time when only rich people got to have their portraits painted. He gives us an insight into the 17th century daily life of workers, and showed us the beauty of it. There are as many different ways to see the world as people on this planet, and I think this is incredible to have access to a piece the mind of other artist, living in other societies, and different times than us. It’s like opening a window to a different world that does not exist anymore. 

Vermeer, milkmaid, around 1658-1661

Vermeer, milkmaid, around 1658-1661


Conclusion

I could give you 1000 reasons why creation will always be a part of my life, this is a highly complicated, deep subject and I have so many more ideas on it (for a change!!). But I love these ones because they are beyond my own personal struggles. They help me see a bigger picture, and as someone who get trapped into my mind labyrinth a lot, it really helps me take the necessary distance to understand that my work is indeed valuable in some way. 

And also, what a waste of a life not to walk your own path :) 
I KNOW IT’S NOT THAT EASY
well it’s another story!

Des bisous!

How I became a professional (paid) photographer in 5 steps

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So one day I decided I was done working as a designer and I decided I would finally live my dream and become a full-time photographer. Here is how I did it, and how it can help you do it as well :

I didn’t study photography : I studied graphic design, and everyone reaction is « ooohw but that’s the saaaame! » and I say yep it’s close, I do have a strong visual culture, and it certainly helps. But I had no idea of how to put the rights settings on my camera, I never retouched an image in Photoshop (though I was a superstar at removing getty and shutter stock copyrights logos thank to my many interships in advertising agency -_- ) and above all the HUGE pain in the ass scary part was to learn LIGHT, especially STUDIO LIGHTS

1 - GET CURIOUS

So just before I quit my designer job (this is another story) I was spending half of my time looking at photography blogs. And my constant question was HOW DID THEY DO IT 
Because when I was photographing something, clearly it just did not look like the same, no matter the love I was putting in it. I did not understand what was their secret behind the mood I was loving in their images WHAT WAS THEIR SECRET 

Especially looking at photographs done with studio lights and speed lights, these one gave me such a headache I WANTED TO KNOW HOW IT WAS DONE

I still ask myself this question now when I see something I love, and most of the time I understand right away how it’s done. On the negative side, knowing all the behind the scene, the magic is kinda gone now, everything has a price :) 

so from this obsession I started to look for information
I was tricked by the beauty of the photographs by Joey L : and because he is a chill guy he had a blog and it gave me a good starting point to understand his work and his vision. then I came across the strobist website : so for those who don’t know strobism off camera flash david hobby
speedlights . 

2 - ONLINE RESSOURCES

I did not want to go back to school and understiood I could find everything online to set me up! (remember it was 5/6 years ago, it was not as obvious as it is right now!) 
I would watch some videos in the morning and practice in the afternoon

My favorite ones (at that time but they are all still awesome) I am not sponsored, I just love them :) 
 
- Creative Live for just almost everything
- The Strobist for learning to use off-camera speedlights as awesome studio lights
- Phlearn for Photoshop (but beautiful Photoshop, not kitschy ugly stuff)
- Sue Bryce for Photography and the business aspect of it


3 - MACGYVER STUDIO LIGHTS FOR CHEAP

So I was watching all these videos talking about soft boxes, beauty dish, reflectors. For me it was out of the question to buy something I did not know how to use, I did not even understand why I needed these stuff so I decided to build them from scratch. Basically I had every single modifier on the market as a cardboard version!

Here a few examples :) 

Light modifiers :
- A diffusion panel with plastic plumbing pipes and the cheapest Ikea white curtains as a diffuser
- A soft box with cardboard and a survival blanket glued inside + curtains for diffusion
- Damn it I swear I did not understand why people were using reflectors so much! Same here, cardboard as a base. I had a white side with paper, the other side was survival blanket, and I even made a golden side! 
- A ring light with a stripe of LED lights (cheap LED lights are AWESOME) 
- A snoot? EASY! Cardboard and gaffer tape of course! 

Cardboard reflectors and my beloved homemade softbox <3

Cardboard reflectors and my beloved homemade softbox <3

Backdrops :
- A white wall (that often means moving the furnitures a lot!)
- I painted fabric (that was given to me) to have different colors
- I also used a pair of black sheet (that someone gave to me as well!) and I taped it directly to the wall ahah (not my best idea, don’t do it, OR be ready to paint your wall after :) ) 

I finally bought a Photek soft lighter soft box after 3 years, and I got my proper paper backdrops just a year ago (and a friend gave them to me ahem, though I could not live without them anymore) 

I got my first paid shoots with this and i NEVER EVER EVER had anyone tell me « oh but this is not a real soft box! people don’t know, people don’t care, they all came to me because they loved my photographs looked, not the way my « studio » looked :) 

Photographed in 2014 with my homemade cardboard softbox and black sheets as a background

Photographed in 2014 with my homemade cardboard softbox and black sheets as a background

4 - TRY STUFF AND EXPERIMENT

I had no idea what I wanted to do especially : as you know there are many types of photographers : you can do landscapes, portraits, fashion, culinary, ANYTHING 

Most of the time I reproduced a cool technique I saw some other photographer teaching, and little by little after a few months, I realized I was attracted more and more by the same kind of result. I kinda found my style like this! 


5 - INVOLVE OTHER PEOPLE 

I would team up with a friend some days and we would be very nerdy and try lighting and stuff. Basically it sounded exactly like this : « Hey what do you think it does if I press this button? OoooooH AWESOME! » 
Also I photographed ALL my friends. When I didn’t have any friend available I photographed myself, and that’s the main reason I started to do self portrays. 

And when the friends of my friends saw their pictures on Facebook, they started to contact me and that was it : 

I GOT PAID TO PHOTOGRAPH PEOPLE!  (YAY!