Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
My name is Clément Decoster, I'm 25 and I live in Lille, in the north of France. I have been in the photography for 5 years. I have studied art, printing
and graphic communication.
I am a big fan of soccer, and I also like skateboard since I used to skate when I was a teenager. I'm also quite a geek, (but who isn't nowadays?)
I am a huge Star Wars fan! And finally, I'm really into cinema, TV shows, video games and sports.
How and when did you get into photography?
I first began photography as a simple hobby in 2010. I used my dad's camera to take pictures of my friends during parties. Since I am not a real partyanimal, taking pictures of my friends while they were partying was really cool and I really enjoyed that! Then for a year, it became my student job, I took pictures at night in bars and night clubs of my region after school and on weekends. I had a lot of good comments about the quality of my photos, so it made me want to further in the use I had of my camera (a Nikon D90 with a18-120mm). It was really basic equipment. So I started to do Urbex, a lot of Urbex. I even have a Facebook page dedicated to it! Then I started to do portraits with some friends, we were strolling and I took pictures of them in the urbex spots I knew. In 2012, I put clubbing aside and I began to shoot with models, I changed my equipment and I bought a Nikon 7100 and a 50mm. Sometimes I had to skip class to shoot with my models, at first agencies' newfaces, then I began to work with fashion designers (young, just like me), but also brands, for whom I realized catalogues, and lookbooks. I bought my first studio kit in April 2012, it is from Elinchrom. I am currently working in my parents' garage which is big enough to be used as a studio.
When I graduated, I followed the procedure to be self-employed, it has been 3 years now and everything is going super fine today! I wasn't expecting that! I am well equipped in my little garage: I have several Colorama backgrounds, also several lightboxes, a full-frame Nikon D610 camera, a 24-70 F/2.8, a 50mm F/1.8 and a 10.5mm F/2.8 fisheye lens. I am working a lot with young fashion designers, new brands, and many students from fashion deisgn schools (especially ESMOD in Roubaix). Now I can make a living from my job as a photographer, at first it was difficult to make a name for myself and have a good reputation as a professional.
What does photography mean to you?
There is a definition of photography that resumes perfectly what it means to me : Freeze a moment and keep it! I really love the idea of looking at my pictures in few years my friends or the models, I think it would be fun to look at what we’ve
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I’ve always like to have fun, I’m still a kid in a way. We can see that in my photos: I really prefer when it’s fun, natural, fresh. I also love black and white of course! I can even tell you that I’m working on an editorial with Lego Star Wars.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
To be honest, it is a young Belgian photographer, not much older than me. His work always impressed me. His name is Servan Illyn. Even before I started photography, I was interested by his work, which inspired me a lot! http://www.servanilyne.com/
Where do you get inspiration from?
Internet is a great inspiration, thanks to the photographers and their very own work. Then there is also cinema, music (through video clips), video games and pop culture. I’m really inspired by all of that and I mixed these elements with my very personal style. I really appreciate what Hedi Slimane and Peter Lindbergh do concerning fashion. And when it comes to something more in the instant (something fresher and funnier, which is more my thing) I’m a huge fan of Terry Richardson, Matthew Comer and Emmanuel Ferrari! The last two are barely older than me, but more
experienced than me, of course!
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Not necessarily: when I have an idea, I try to explain it to the model and we pool. It is essentially in the moment. For instance, sometimes it happens that I prepare a fashion shooting but we end up with really good, fun pictures completely different from what we had planned to do!
Studio, on location or both?
Easy : where I live it is always raining. For the moment, it’s often in my studio. I have kind of a curse: when I decide to shoot outside, it begins to rain… Bad karma…
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I would say I am a semi-pro! Is it ok to say that? I am a self-taught photographer and it is my job. I don’t think I could say I am a pro sicne I didn’t studied for it and I have no diploma.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
It was my photo-series Disney Mania which I realized in collaboration with the students from ESMOD of Roubaix. I’ve sent you one of the photos: it
was a totally quirky, we choose models without any criterion and some had no experience at all. We took Disney characters cardboard masks and we had fun! (The photo I’ve sent you is one of the pictures I’ve sold
the most!) We can see the models raising their middle fingers, we are provoking, it’s really second degree! Otherwise, I work a lot with young fashion designers for a year now, and everytime we shoot a lookbook, I’m amazed!
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I hope my colleagues are not going to hate me after I said that but… I am team Nikon! Since the first camera I Had was a Nikon D90, I continued with that brand. It may be a bit more expensive, but as long as it makes beautiful photos, isn’t it the essential? ;)
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I would say that it is really important to enjoy what she/he does, and when she/he proposes a quality work, it is important to ask to be paid! All work deserves payment.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I didn’t know the former magazine, I only discovered you recently. I am following your activity: it is really clean and you put on photographers, you propose editorials… that’s cool! And thank you very much for your interest!
Modellen: Tatjana Lauwers & Sarah Tommeleyn
Model: Julie & Annewil (Uniko Models)
Model: Ceca (Trend Models)
Photo: Selma Gurbuz