Chitchat: Stéphane Bouillet

interview

Your Full Name
Stéphane Bouillet

Tell us about you.
I’m a french photographer. I’m also a graphic designer, illustrator and webdesigner… Everything that include images :)

avatar-stephane-bouilletWhat are the most important things to you about being a photographer?  Is it the pay, feelings of self-worth, etc.?
Maybe I don’t have choice…?
Sometimes I try say something with words, but usually I’m stopped by  the poor quality of my own language. So here is the deal: “A picture is better than a thousand words”. Photography (and furthermore images in general, like illustrations…) is one of the best expression way I can use to tell something.

Usually, I make pictures, and after months (or even years !), and hundred pictures of a serie, I start to understand what I wanted to say, so I’m ready to use words to explain the serie, and give some keys to understand for observers.

Where are you located?
Oloron Sainte Marie in the South-est of France, near the moutains of Pyrénées, but I’ve been without a real address during about 10 years (actually, it’s still the case).

What efforts have you made at “networking” to advance your career?
First of all, you need to be yourself in your work, both your personal work and your “food work”. This is a condition for your work to be appreciated as “good” work. Without interesting pictures, no need to make networking !

After that, I’ve made my own website with links to various sharing platforms (Flickr, DeviantArt,  Artlimited, Facebook, Twitter….), and the most important: take our time, but try to be constant in your posts. No need to put an image/day if it’s just a shit.

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Where do you get inspirations from?
Everywhere… Just open yours eyes ;)

But seriously, a lot on internet (so much that it causes sometimes a problem of time…), books/magazine (media library), but I try also to find the inspiration inside my own gut or heart, or more important for the wast(m)e pictures, in the places I visit: there is a strong feeling of abandon, loneliness in these old industrial factories.
I don’t try to be always fashionable (I’m still using silver camera like Blad & Leica).

Do you promote/ sell/ showcase your work? If so, how?
All is on my own website (which changes constantly), but don’t forget that all this is only wind, virtual wind. So you always need to tell “Hey ! I’m alive and here is my work”, but not only on the web, also in the “real world” made of flesh and bone.

Virtual world shall be used only to push your communication, for example in other countries or other places you cannot go. Actually, the first thing to do is to be in touch with local actors, in your own town and region… before you become famous ^^

Where do you see your profession going in the next five to ten years?
I don’t really make plans… I’ve tried so much through Buddhism to live “here and now” (this can need several lifes to achieve ^^) that I plan now day by day. Of course I have some blurred projects but the brutal death of my mother learned me the “seize the day” because you never know  when you will return to dust. I think, severals years after, that I’ve put some abandon feelings in the Wast(m)e serie.

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What types of assignment/ project are you attracted the most? Why so?
What is interesting is to give your personal point of view on a subject. This can be done by the choice of black and white or color, or the choice of the camera itself (like lomography, stenope…).

So that you can treat any project, but personally,  I’m interested by any project dealing with ecology, social and humanism issues, as a kind of hand to help people I’ve taken in pictures, or the watcher, who can tell himself “What’s the fuck ! How lucky I am ! I don’t have so many problems, actually…”. That why my studio is named ReMedAct: you can look at people (REgarde in french), MEDitate on their situation, and ACT for you or for people around you…

Who do you consider to be your professional role model? Why do you consider this person to be so special?
There is not only one model, as our style is often due to the addition of severals other styles we like, but some great photographer like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastiao SALGADO have all my consideration (photojournalism, first one for his decisive moment and composition, second one for his involving in humanism and environment), as well as Cindy SHERMANN and specially Francesca WOODMAN (self-portrait), who committed suicide at 22 year old. Francesca has made an amazing and mature work, given her young age.

As for traditional illustration, my masters are Gris GRIMLY and Tony SANDOVAL: dark world and funny/satiric drawings.

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Please explain the worst work experience you had in the past five years?
The worst experiences can become the more interesting ones, such as problems with the camera which result in superposition of views. But I don’t have really bad experiences… If you take care of your cameras and always try not to be in dangerous situations (photojournalism). Maybe this day in the dumping ground in Calcutta, when a man (I don’t speak Hindi) tried to take me the last 220 roll I’ve just removed from my Hasselblad… But it was forbidden to take pictures over there… so…

It’s the same with numeric things: be aware that you could lose everything just by a wrong “mouse click”, and you will finish with professional system and hard drive disk in Raid.

What do you think about the Internet and how it is affecting our lifestyle?
Internet is both the best and the worst: on one hand you have the huge library the world has never known, but on the other hand, everything is free and can be copied, stay virtual, take a lot of time… Everything is faster, but superficial. It’s the same for numeric things: faster and faster, so much that sometimes the quality is not here: so much content are only rubbish… but this is a point of view. Without internet, maybe I would never known the fantastic work of Francesca Woodman, and you my work ^^.

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Where do you see the industry going?
In the wall ^^.
Seriously I think we will slow down… everything. One day maybe the copper will be so expensive that all electronic stuff will need to be recycled, and/or made in maize biologic plastic instead of petrochemical one… Who knows ? Seize the day…

Into the bargain, with all these evolutive cell phones, everybody “is” a photographer… good or bad in not my business, but we see that sometimes the rapidity of information is most important than the quality of images… so that first page of (certain) magazines are plenty of pixels, and I personally prefer silver grain to pixels. Speed will kill us, so… take your time to do what you really want to do. That’s why I’m not living in Paris or in a big city… even if babylones are interesting places for photographers.

What are you doing to stay on top of these changes and how do you keep your work fresh?
I take time… but right, more for my personal work than for “food work”. And I do not follow all these changes.

Name 3 of your favorite (art/ fashion) books/ magazines.
Photo, GraffitiArt (recently discovered), Polka (photojournalism)

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What type of incentive programs have you found to work best?
Just take a look to the work of my masters, of the concurrence (local and international). This is a kind of competition: tell yourself “next time, seeing my new work, my master will fall down” ^^

In what kind of a work environment do you do your best work?
It depends on the work: taking pictures in an abandoned plant is not the same at all than making retouch of daily pictures that you must put inline for the day after an event. So it can be calm (trip hop) and voluptuousness, or techno and lemon-press speed. But generally, I need emotion and desire to work well: nothing is worst than working on a stupid boring project without feelings. But sometimes, we have to.

Name 3 softwares (or tools) that you use the most, and tell us the function of each them.
• Photoshop: fine retouch picture, especially the color one (after a scan: I can do a entire silver picture, but has never done color paper print in total dark)… but I really prefer playing with light in a real darkroom.
• Lightroom: fast retouch of a large number of pictures (for the blog, events… not personal work)
• Firefox: to find new stimulating pictures, and because it’s a good software for geek (I also do webdesign)
• (for the tools: Canon G10/blog + Leica/report + Hasselblad/portrait-personnal work)

If you have online portfolio, what is the URL?
www.stephanebouillet.com

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