Interview: Photographer Fabrice Meuwissen (France)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
Hello, thanks for the interview first :) , my name is Fabrice Meuwissen, and I m living in south west of France, in Toulouse. And basically I m NOT a photographer, I was entrepreneur in digital ( and I m still active with a company of my own doing some tools and software which could be use by photographers - )
I m graduated from Stanford in California , in Strategic marketing management, I like the neuromarketing and how the image can impact a decision when we buy a product or service. My pictures and work can show sometimes there is a real purpose to show something in the pictures to serve the brand, product, or work of an artist ( hairdresser, makeup artist )
How and when did you get into photography?
I was doing photos as anyone, but I remember a very special day that I got a revelation with 2 friends in a park in Paris, the only girl posed on her back on the grass and the photo was different… better than usual, it was my first one, even with a pocket digital camera. Of course, the picture looks very unprofessional now, but the funny fact is this model has turned now as a really good wedding photographer in sydney but we are still friends :) you can check her work at http://www.girlinthewhitedress.com. I have continued to do some pictures as a leisure, when I was travelling but not a lot of humans as models, in 2011 I sold my company and got more free time, then in 2012 I broke up with a long relationship and I was so free to shoot women ( as my partner was too jealous to let me do any picture ) , then since 2012 it’s my full time activity.
What does photography mean to you?
I would say it’s a challenge, a challenge to deal with a lot of factors, whatever if is the light, schedule to mount a team, location, human mood and management, and deal with a concept with the team ( makeup artist, hair dresser, stylist ), it’s a lot of compromise when it’s TFP work , and sometime you need to be a real asshole as you need to serve the request of a customers and only one voice should be used ( customer or artistic director person who really lead the shoot ). When I m alone with a single person, the work is different it’s about the challenge ( for me ) to make the best picture of the person, something different, something the person will like as the best picture she had, to allow herself to love herself and keep a trace of the experience we have shared.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
That’s probably one of my biggest issue, of course most of my pictures use people and so I could be defined as a portrait photographer. I feel I m not consistent in the style, as I do both studio or outdoor, hair, makeup, beauty, lifestyle, lingerie.. I like to do as much style possible, to learn more skills and gain in experience.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Women ! I forget about it, but my mother recently reminds me I was collecting supermodels calendar in the 90s ( Elle MacPherson, Cindy Crawford, Christie Turlington, Monika Belluci ( before she turned to actress ) , Claudia Schiffers ) , some tv shows were speaking only about them, and I was dreaming at this time I could make such nice scene with gorgeous woman, it was long time ago, now for sure my interest is much more technical too, I try to use a theme, create stories, but sometime you can’t, you just need to do something with what you have and so inspiration is coming from everywhere and everything you have experienced.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Yes and no, depends on the shoot, and it’s a very good question as I don’t have the opportunity to show some case where I was really thinking in advance what I would like, no need to be good to draw, just need to show the shape and general direction. I m joining to the interview a sketch and the result, these one were pretty close, I tend to do it with special project to save time when I know in advance what I have in mind. But most of the time, I don’t prepare too much on paper. Just in my head !
Studio, on location or both?
Definitevely both, on a quantity point of view, I do more studio as it is not sensible to weather, and also no need to look for location. But I do like location shoots where it doesn’t turn to nightmare ( crowd, rain, sun ).
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I don’t feel I m a professional but in the same time I have a lot of experience, and I do charge for my shoots, but I m feeling so young compared to the best photographer I follow. Time will tell !
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Well, I have done so many shoots, depending if you mention a good one or a shoot of nightmare.
I will rather mention a extreme shoot I did in 2014 in USA, in a location called, salvation mountain, used by several brands because it’s unique and colorfull. It’s a location 3h from San Diego, at the limit of the mexican frontier, it was a very hot day, something like 43°C , the 2 models were with blue eyes, unable to open eyes, no accomodation, no enough bottles of water. We arrived too early in the afternoon and so we have to wait before the natural light could be better. Because I m not so used to travel and do such shoots, I remember this one ( I included a sample of pic produced this day : salvation mountain MQ2A4281.jpeg )
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I try to not follow too much name, and not too “famous” photographer, otherwise it is just depress me as I think I will never reach this level of photographer, but I have been lucky to meet or be inspirated by the work of Emily Soto, Amanda Diaz, Emanuel Ferrari, Formento+Formento, Le Turk, Stefan Bourson, Sean Archer, Lenaic Sanz, Salim Berrada, Martial Lenoir, that’s some names of people I met or participate to their workshop, some inspiration of . After I have a big inspiration folder , where I put and sort pictures I see from my timeline on facebook , 500px, or with pinterest.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Canon 5D mark III for now, and I have a lot of lens. My favorite in studio is 100mm macro ( because of high end closeup and beauty shoot ), 70-200 2.8 IS for portrait in general and fashion. And when it’s outdoor, I would say the 35mm 1.4 art from Sigma. If I can only take one. I would say the 50mm 1.4 from Canon is the most versatile to bring in my bag.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Oh no, I will not advise anyone on this topic, just have fun in what you do, but I find it’s difficult to make it as a living and keep your pleasure to do it in the same time. For example, weddings are maybe profitable and some people are still ready to pay for it, but it’s stressful and when you count the time you spend on it, it’s not that profitable on my point of view. Fashion and models aren’t kind of pictures people are ready to pay either, even magazines don’t pay anyway. So you need to be verrrry good at what you do, or how you sell your services, and to have a real style nobody else in your geographic market can make for cheaper. I have nevertheless a little technical tip for outdoor shoot, I always wear white shirt, as I will be the reflector :)
What do you think of our new magazine?
I discovered recently but I like the interview part, whatever it’s from models, artist, or photographer, I just hope it will be more organized in the future with suggestion of moodboard and theme for future issues.
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