Well this blog is not about the movie with Gene Hackman. It is about friends that I made in France and what awesome possibilities they have brought in my life. Once again I can see how important other people are for your career. You never know what kind of possibilities come your way when you make new friends.
One year ago I went to France to receive WPC (Photography World Cup) bronze medal in Montpellier, France. I didn’t really know anyone there, but decided to go to meet other photographers and members of GNPP (Photography association of French professional photographers) as soon as I got there. Everyone in the get-together talked only French so I felt bit out of place, but I tried to start conversations with random people just in case I would find somebody that would understand me. Before coming to France I had talked with few French photographers over facebook, so I asked around trying to find them. My main contact was Sophie Bourgeix who was organising the event but she was a bit late so I ended up talking with other Sophie, Sophie Protat, also a photographer and part of the Inspire & Vous Ignite event I was invited to give a talk in. Luckily both Sophie and another amazing photographer Sylvie Lezier were kind enough to talk English with me and something just clicked; we became really good friends and spent a lot of time together during the weekend. I think we knew already then that it wouldn’t be the last time we meet. During the weekend I met also so many new people like the awesome talented Joao Carlos who was in Montpellier to have a small workshop and also as a guest talker in the conference.
After the sad goodbyes we kept in touch quite often with Sophie. We talked about meeting again somewhere in France and after I came back to Finland from Wales (where I was living at the time) we started talking about possibilities to organize a workshop in France. Finally after few months of planning I was on my way to Toulon, France for my first international workshop! The workshop was held in a beautiful Hotel Restaurant Domaine du Lac, perfect venue for the Workshop and Steampunk -themed models. What can I say: Two days in French countryside with 12 amazing photographers + models + Sophie as my translator. I think the video shows best the great experience we all had. Special thanks goes also to the Models May Lune O’Callaghan, Dorianne Liilith Kelevra and the stylist/hair/makeup artist Audrey Isabelle Robbino.
The feedback after the workshop has been really good. I think my process of creating ideas for images, style of lighting people with flashes and filters, post-processing techniques and marketing/networking ideas are somewhat different from what the other workshops in the area have to offer. France has a lot of tradition in portrait photography, but usually their style is really clean and simple whereas I bring different elements in the process. Pre-visualization, planning, moodboards, concepts, ideas, photoshoots in studio/location, creating interesting light into images using simple gear, and of course the post-processing, bringing ideas into reality. Luckily it looks like I will have the opportunity to go back to France to have similar workshops already during this year.
The greatest achievement for me was to see that I have managed to push people out from their comfort zone, starting to create their own art with their new skills and loving what they do. They might never do these kind of images for their clients, but maybe for themselves, and it definitely opens up a new approach to study. However, the most important thing for me are all the new friends I now have in France: it feels like I have a new family over there, and I can’t wait to go back again.
Gear used during the workshop:
– Elinchrom Quadra And Ranger RX Flashes + EL HS skyport + modifiers
– Canon 5D Mk 3 & lenses
– Macbook Pro & Wacom tablet
Making of pictures by: Priscillag Gissot, Thibault Chappe , Marie-claire Perez, Sophie Protat & Ulrick Theaud