DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Can you remember when you first held a video camera?
I think I was in college. My grand father gave me his super8 (film camera)
What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?
My grand father on the beach filming the family with this camera.
Can you tell me an iconic director or DOP whose work you got very fascinated
by? — What did you feel when looking at their films?
I’m a very big fan of Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No country for old men, Sicario…) That is not very original cause he’s a master. The way he’s framing is quite unique. I think he’s the best for knowing where to put his camera.
I want to also mention Rina Yang, an English female cinematographer. She keeps creating new environments always giving the impression that her creation has no limit.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
No , I don’t think it’s a myth. I think it’s real even if things are changing fortunately.
Specially the way we look at women, dictating by men’s eyes since years…
What was your first film shoot?
I think that was an Editorial for Dior.
What do you love most about being a cinematographer?
I love to put my eye in the viewfinder, and have interactions with models, the way they look into the camera, the way they move from shadows to light, so the way I move…It’s a bit like a dance… a pure moment of spontaneity and freedom. I also really like to use technics for an artistic purpose. In my view, the cinematographer’s work requires to mix both. You are at the intersection between technical work and artistic matter.
What do you most hate about being a cinematographer?
I travel a lot and I have a family. So it’s not always simple to conciliate both. It requires a lot of organisation and to run often! However, a good balance is possible and it is even quite crucial for me. In a certain way, both nourish each other.
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about // who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
I am sorry but I cannot answer to this question. In my view, a professional career is an addition of events that you are not always aware of. I like to think that certain insignificant events in appearance can prove decisive. That’s why it is difficult for me to isolate a specific event or work.
Statistics show that only 1 in 10 of the big money jobs i.e. womenswear-, beauty and perfume campaigns are shot by women. Is there just no qualified female fashion image makers out there?
Of course not. Fashion industry as other industries was governed by men essentially. Facing this situation, a lot of women were scared to play the game. And those who used to play it were thinking that they had to act like men to be considered. I think things are changing, I hope this tendency will go on. But it takes times to trust ourselves. And it takes (too much) time for people to change their minds about it….
One says it takes 10’000 hours to become a master of a craft, how long in hours/days/years did it take you to make a living?
I started as an assistant and I was very lucky cause my boss used to send me the small jobs he didn’t want to do. That’s how I started…so it was quite quick for me, about 6 months
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?
I’m a big fan of Annemarieke Van Drimmelen. She’s very nice and sweet and so talented… Her work is so sensitive and special! She’s an inspiration for me. Also is Cass Bird in a different way. She’s such a strong woman and so talented too. I was lucky enough to work with her several times to know how generous she is with models and how she spend so much energy in her work.
Who is your female fashion designer icon and who is your the one to watch?
Rei Kawakubo is one of the most inspiring and powerful female fashion designer of the last fifty years, she ’s a real artist. And she is one of the first to look female bodies
in a different way, like pieces of art.
What do say about the charge that all fashion imagery is predominantly sexist?
I think a big part of fashion imagery was built on men desire. Fashion pieces were made for women to please men’s eyes. Now things have changed. Women are much more powerful, and ready to jump in, but it looks like everybody does not think the same. Maybe somme people are not ready for it. That’s a shame.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect fashion image making?
For sure. It already affects it. There are more and more female photographers and female cinematographers, directors etc…
When I look at your work, I really like your video for Sandro and the Vogue one with Cass Bird. What is yours?
I would like to quote another work, but to be honest it is the one that I prefer. There’s something « out of time » in it that I love.
What was your relation to beauty/fashion prior to working in this industry? Has it changed?
I had an ambiguous link with fashion. I was not specifically attracted by fashion before working in this industry. I just saw it as an art. As we say, I was not a real fashion victim. However, I have to admit that things have changed little bit. Working in this industry, meeting people such as creators, artists, etc…make me feeling more and more attracted by this environment.
What makes you feel comfortable on set?
To work with my crew!
How important is your team?
This is one of the most important thing for me. As a cinematographer you can’t really do things by yourself cause the equipment is heavier than in photography . My team is my hands, my feet. I can trust them blindly which is very important. It allows me to concentrate on my relationship with directors
What qualities do you value in a client?
The ability to express their feelings and thoughts clearly. It saves time;)
What qualities do you value in an agent?
The ability to listen to me. And trust of course.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were ever given and what advice would you have wished for earlier on in your career?
Be prepared to find some obstacles on your way but keep trusting the process: as long as you work, you learn, and as long as you learn, you make progress, and at the end you grow up and improve yourself. We always mentioned famous people once they’re successful but we never referred to all the obstacles and difficulties they had to overcome. This time is crucial. It is quite rare to succeed immediately.
What is your next big project or goal for your career?
Well, I made my first feature film last year with. It was a great experience with the French director Cedric Klapisch. I’m ready for a second one;)
Is there anything in particular you'd like to accomplish?
Of course meeting more directors, making more pictures and being still here in 20 years;)
And one more thing that I keep secret!