French photographer Arnaud Montagard's unique way of looking at ordinary places and common spaces will inspire you to see the world from a different angle. He breaks away from the common perspectives we usually see in street and indoor photography. In his work, everything that the light touches will soon be obscured by darkness. He adds poetry and a sense of the ephemeral to everyday sightings through his delicate use of light and shadow.
Hi Arnaud! How are you doing these days as a photographer?
Great, thanks. I love what I am doing, it's great to live from my passion.
When did you first become interested in film photography? What do you love about it?
I started being really interested in film photography only two years ago. I was in need of a change to keep being productive, and it was a new source of motivation to shoot in the streets with a different process. With film photography, I don't react the same way as with digital — I see the streets differently. For me, film means focusing on the moment and not on the camera. The picture is all or nothing — you have no choice but to excel at that moment, and that pushes your creativity.
Let's talk about your photography style. It's a rather unique way to shoot the streets and interiors, playing with space and angles. How did you come up with the style?
Not easy to answer, I guess it came after experiencing different things. I started taking photos when I was 15, I'm 27 now, and I think it takes some time to find your own style. I guess your personal education or background helps too — the more you go to museums, galleries, movie theaters, the more open-minded you will be, and it helps you to create your own style. I have also been inspired by the work of famous painters like Edward Hopper.
Does this style come instinctively to you?
I would say it is instinctive, each time I look at a photo opportunity, I see it like if I was looking at the final picture.
If you could work or collaborate with any photographer, artist or person, dead, alive or fictional, who would it be?
I love painting, so I will probably pick up the master Edward Hopper or Andrew Wyeth. I would love to collaborate with musicians too, it would add a mood to the picture.
Do you consider a certain element in photography to be of utmost priority?
Light. My work is only about that. Light and shadows.
What does a day in the life of Arnaud Montagard look like?
It really depends if I'm doing a commercial work or focusing on my personal work. So let's talk about today and street photography. I walked nine miles this afternoon in East New York trying to find a good photo scene. The light wasn't so good, and I ended up taking just three shots. Sometimes I walk for hours without taking a single picture. Sometimes, I stay more than one hour at the same spot, trying to get the right person at the perfect place, and if it doesn't happen, I take notes and try to come back another day to get another chance.
What do you usually do during your downtime? Any on-going projects or other plans you're keen to work on?
When I'm not in the streets shooting for myself, I focus on finding a new series idea, doing research on different subjects (people or places). I have an ongoing series, especially in Japan, where I need to finish my last photo series. I also have new projects coming soon, so let's keep in touch if you want to see what happens next!