One common theme one may notice in the reflective work of photographer Frédéric Agius is escapism. Based in Southern France, he uses pastoral, open-sky landscapes to paint surreal scenery of provincial life. Agius likes to stain his portraits using various double-exposure techniques, bringing out almost mythic and nymph-like creatures thanks to the superimposition of natural elements against his models' faces.
Hi Frédéric, welcome to the magazine — your analogue shots are breathtaking! May you tell us when you started shooting film?
Hi, thank you very much… ! I started using film photography just over four years ago.
You mostly shoot in a surrealistic manner using a play of colour and multiple exposures. May you tell us more how film helps your aesthetic compared to digital?
Film photography is for me the most exciting means of expression if I have to compare with the digital process. You have to wait before to see the result and that's very exciting! When you take photographs on film you must be able to take into account that you can't master the whole creative process. I am in love with light leaks or effects caused by mistakes during the film process (most of the time I do it at home) and they are an integral part of what I want to include in photographs, it's an added value.
Sometimes I use expired rolls or do experiments by soaking it on different sorts of film soups. It's so motivating... Then, if I have to compare digital and film multiple exposures: on the digital process, I can't find the same synergy between different parts of the composition I wanted to superimpose. On film you don't have to produce two photos to create a new image on a double exposure, you have to mix elements. Maybe it's possible to do this in editing time, but I don't have that skill Finally I just want to say that using film photography is a personal choice. I like to create over the moment, not in post-production and I'm in love with old film cameras.
Multiple exposures is a classic analogue technique that can easily get messy. May you tell us your own secret to making beautiful and harmonious multiple exposure shots?
Funnily, for me, my works are frequently they are not harmonious! My shots are usually Overexposed or not the way I wanted. I have to try over and over again to obtain the picture I have in mind. But this mentally built scheme helps to create automatisms: when I see something cool I even find myself looking for some objects, plants or people that I could within a photo. It's funny!
For a photographer like you, what is the most important element in photography?
I work on shapes and colours at the same time when I take a picture of a landscape. I search to work on an aesthetic that is conducive to my creative thinking. When I'm about to take pictures of someone, I try to make photographic compositions without micromanaging the model. I try to capture the moment: for example when his eyes lead to imagine what is about beyond the frame of the photograph. As if that was the whole reality which should have changed. I would like to be able to give that impression to people who look at my photography.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I draw inspiration from experiences I have in life. If I can express feelings with photographs, I will always do it. I think I'm inspired by movies and films I saw, too. I'm a huge film lover Traveling and meeting new people also help.
What are your favourite places to photograph?
No, not really but I live in the south of France and there are worse places to take pictures. I'm pretty happy here.
What's Frédéric Agius up to when he's not with his camera?
I practice sports. watch movies (a lot), spend my time with friends. But very often I have my camera with me.
Any on-going projects, or other plans you're keen to work on?
I am working on an underwater project right now. In love with the sea, with the water effect on light, shapes, and colours. For a future one, I want to work soon together with a painter friend of mine.