Over the years, Film photographer Arnaud Ele takes contemporary film photography to the next level. With a style highly influenced by cinema, Arnaud works in on the professional realm that breaks and subverts industry standards. In a visual world in which digital continues its reign, Arnaud makes his own photographic DNA stand out through analogue means. Read our exclusive interview with this prolific photographer.
Hi Arnaud! How are you doing these days as a photographer?
Amazingly happy and tired! I just finished a 2 days-marathon photo/video with an amazing team for a Parisian shoe brand… keep posted!
When did your interest in film photography start?
I studied film and movie-making in Geneva (Ecole de cinéma de Genève). My love for cinema comes from my childhood. Cinema has had one of the biggest influences on me. When I was a kid, I liked everything that was visual. I spent more time in front of the TV than any other kid around me. I already had a camera as child’s play. You remember, those cameras that got twelve scenes… you click, look through it and you see an photograph. I was fascinated by this object. Maybe I became familiar with the tool at that age.
You currently work as a professional fashion photographer. May you share to us what sets you apart from other fashion photographers?
I would say that what sets me apart is my point of view as a movie-maker. I don’t stick to the fashion photography scope. I believe in situations and therefore depict the emotions that those situations bring to me. The photography style comes out of the context.
We really like the vintage style of your body of work. May we ask why you chose to shoot in film and how it helps in achieving your signature style?
In French, it is called “l’instantané”. Capturing the moment. When you make a photograph, you have it on films and it stays the same. No editing; you don’t have to look at it again and make changes. I also fell in love with film because of the errors that come out of it. You don’t have the whole control of the outcome. It is unexpected.
If you could work or collaborate with any photographer, artist or person, dead, alive or fictional, who would it be?
Guy Bourdin. Luis Buñuel or Alain Resnais.
For you, what's the most important component to consider in a photograph?
Every shoot is an encounter, an action on a specific moment, a scene. I aim to disrupt the poses of the person in front of me, from the natural to the unreal. I push the model to its boundaries to create a move or a series of movement to capture. It is like a geography of the body; let the body create its inner sculpture.
What's the most challenging thing for you as a photographer?
We are in a visual decade. Pictures are part of our everyday life. Scrolling became a habit and images a medium which is everywhere around us. Globalization got an effect on creation. I think that the biggest challenge that we are facing nowadays – and every creative – is the social media influence interfering with the creative process and the photographer’s identity. It is important to keep a distance with the trends. Consuming this huge data with your fingers can sometimes take the photographer DNA away.
Describe to us -- what's a day in the life of Arnaud Ele look like when you're not photographing? What do you usually do during your downtime?
I compose music and spend time with the people I love, you can find my music on SoundCloud.
Lastly, any on-going project, or other plans you're keen to work on?
I was born in Cameroon and left the country when I was six. I would really like to go back to my country in order to shoot a movie there, all in film. Working on my first book, which I want to finish soon! And find sponsors to edit it.