A year ago, I left the cold late February of my beloved Montreal to depart on a great adventure – I knew I had to be in LA in early March and Tokyo in mid May, but in between was wide open. My friend Adrian invited me to Bali, where he was staying for the Winter, and so I decided to fill the time gap by investing in a 10 weeks photo trip through South-east Asia. It started in Bali, then I hopped to Java, had a short stop in Kuala Lumpur, then spent some time in Vietnam, South Korea and landed in Tokyo. There are no words to convey how brilliant, eye opening, heart lightening and overall wonderful this experience has been. Oh and of course productive. Through my several encounters, many discovery trips and lucky finds, I came back home with close to 15000 images and clips to edit, or, in other words, add to my already heavy back catalog of images to submit. It’s now been 9 months since my return and I’ve managed to retouch and submit 820 images of this journey – which is about two fifth of what should be the final number of available photographs.
So time to present a few of these amazing series. Here’s one. While I stayed in Bali, we would enjoy the great food that Uni cooked for us and one day, wanting to know the source of these delights, she took us to the Seririt food market. In the smoldering heat and humidity, we discovered heaps of colorful food ingredients, various items of clothing and more than one luminously happy faces. Uni introduced us to many of the vendors who allowed us to take their photos while working. The food looked so fresh and good, vibrant colors, gorgeous spices and fruits. I don’t know exactly what it is with Asian food markets, but it makes the return to our cold, huge – dead in a way- supermarkets particularly difficult. Here’s a sample of these images. You can view this series either by itself on Photoshelter (with links to purchase on Istock) or amidst my other Indonesian images directly on Istock.
These are all unreleased, so only available for editorial use.
Part three of my New York City images shot last Fall during a Getty Images event. For the first time I collaborated on this shoot with my friend and colleague Martine Doucet as well as the always talented and inspiring Lise Gagné and her creative powerhouse of a partner Louis Leblanc (rebelz). In the weeks preceding the event, after deciding to go, we facebooked back and forth, casting models and pitching ideas. Quebec power! It was nice to work with such great people… and then the models! One of the great advantages of going to a place like New-York City is the availability of such great talent. Dozens of applicants sent us their portfolios of which five were selected. They were energetic, professional, open and authentic, and helped turned a rainy, overcast, cold Autumn morning into some radiant photographs.
I shot the whole thing with my 200mm lens out of respect for my colleagues who were using other focal lengths. Obviously when you shoot in groups like this the same scenes it is important to try and get very different images as much as possible to not undercut each other. Different angles, colors, approaches and of course unique point of view and sensibilities. So in my case, I went for character and bright colors, with lots of close-up trying to show relationships. The atmosphere of the city is present, but mostly in colorful blurred backgrounds. And boy did I push the colors to their limits. It makes for a rather chaotic result overall, but one with the bright optimism that I saw with in so many of the young people I met there. It is after all the place where all the dreams are possible…
Ok so first: I’m still very much active and hard at work uploading new work every day. Much less on this blog, I must admit, but amidst the numerous changes on the Istock website, and in my personal life, I have decided to focus on uploading and less on marketing. But here’s a new resolution: every Thursday I will update both my Photoshelter mirror site with new series and this blog to talk a bit about them.
This Spring, I made a long trip that filled me with tons of extraordinary moments, meaningful encounters, good times, spiritual awakenings and overall fantastic-way-beyond-anything-I-ever-imagined awesomeness. (and about 16k files of great materiel to edit of course). Book-ended by two Getty Images-sponsored Istockalypses (Los Angeles in early March and Tokyo in mid May), this adventure took me on a quick road trip through Central California, then on to a month in Indonesia (mostly in the Bali area but also briefly in Yogyakarta), then Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Halong bay (Vietnam), Seoul, a small Zen temple in Central Korea, Busan and Tokyo. So all of these will be on my slate for release in the next 4 months.
So without further ado, the first collection are images from the City of Tokyo. You can view the images pertaining to the city (mostly tourism) on my Photoshelter site (with links to purchases licenses on Istock, as always) or directly on Istock. The latter lightbox also includes the images shot with models, while the Photoshelter site is divided thematically, with model images in their own collection.
So Tokyo was the last stop of my 3 months trip. I did start to feel a sense of fatigue by then, but I still held on and visited this fantastic city, shooting streets, inspiring architecture, backgrounds and of course some great people. I was so full of immense gratitude by then – I guess that would be the thematic emotion of this whole adventure. Gratitude to be there, to live this and to be part of this amazing world in these fascinating times.
My guesthouse was in the Shinjuku area, so expect many images from there, and also from Asakusa, Odeiba and Shibuya as well as short detours to some of the city’s landmark buildings. Here are a few favorites:
Last Fall, I took part in my 4th official Istockalypse after Berlin, London and Hong Kong. This one took place in Istanbul, where I spent two weeks in late October. Upon coming back, amidst the stress of relocating, finding a place to live, move all my stuff and rediscover my inner strength, I pushed over 250 images of this event, more than I ever did on the previous ones. I participated in 2 walkabout shoots organized by Getty Images, 2 pitch shoots also sponsored by Getty Images, and 3 side shoots. I also photographed the city whenever I could, in all its historic grandeur: mosques, markets, commercial streets and skylines of piled up apartment buildings. So, yes, lots of images… And I have tons more to go through.
Here are three galleries I put together today on Photoshelter. As usual, links to buy the images on IStock are provided on each image’s page in bright orange. Go ahead and splurge.
Took me a few years, but I finally achieved the gold canister. I guess I’m doing fine… many people are reporting dropping sales, but mine are relatively stable – and hopefully will start growing again soon. Anyhow, huge thanks to all of you who support and use my work, and to all of my fellow photogs, ADs, my teachers (and students) at Marsan College of photography, everyone who posed and acted for me for one or many shoots, sometimes in the strangest conditions, and to the wonderful people at Istock and Getty Images whom I’ve met all over the world these past few years and who have taught me so much. I feel very lucky to be able to do this line of work which I love, so thanks also to Benoît without whom I would certainly not be where I am today. And here’s to many more years of making better and better photographs (and videos – watch out for this new 2015 line of production!).
Here’s one of the stock images that pushed me over that milestone today. It was shot at the City Beautiful 4 event last year in Orlando, organized by the wonderful Evelyn Peyton, and features the most amazing 6 year old girl I’ve ever worked with. Great talent and a lovely personality. Winning combo!
A reminder of where you can buy / download / license my photographs:
Last September, I made a quick trip to London, UK and had the pleasure of working with four young models/actors for a whole day (and of seeing Kate Bush live -couldn’t help mentioning it). I had spotted some great locations in my previous trip there in 2013 for the London Istockalypse, and so I went back with these awesome young people to expand on some concepts that had been successful and try new one. I hand selected them from dozens of submissions and I’m very happy with the results.
I’m barely starting on editing this shoot, and it will likely go on until next Summer as I’ve thousands of images to choose from and I’m currently editing about 10 shoots at once, madly trying to clear my backlog for next Spring which will be full of new material. Still, the first few shots are available now and I’ve put them together in this lightbox:
Do favorite the lightbox it if this subject is of interest to you. Images will be added on and off all year. Some of the venues will include images shot in Chalk Farm, Camden Lock, a food market, Primrose Hill, Camden, a bus ride, Westminster, shots around the Thames and South bank.
Here’s an image from the first location in Chalk Farm:
Over the years, all over the world, the stock photographer who travels in group events will sometimes hear others whisper to each other in a somewhat hushed guilty fashion: “When in doubt, just throw in a tablet.” It took me a while to get on that train, but yes, often they do sell. And let’s face it, tablets and mobile phones are everywhere. So in the Summer of 2012, I got my own tablet just for a shoot idea. I didn’t feel the need for one and frankly thought these things were just a fad. Even today I’m not so sure that they’ll be around for much longer. Trust that industry to come up with something new every two years.
A few weeks ago, I decided to make a few new galleries on IStock featuring my work around certain subjects. Over the years I have uploaded hundreds of images featuring people using phones and tablets in a wide array of different setting and situations. Here is the link the lightbox:
And, of course, here are a few personal favorites from this collection:
This was shot while my friends Lorraine and Adrian joined me for the 2013 London Istockalypse. At this event, we were introduced to the paparazzi style of shooting: the same scene is shot by 20 other photographers at the same time. This format doesn’t really agree with my rather soft voice and frequent use of long lenses. To the organizers’ credit, they refined this type of shoot later on by limiting the number of photographers shooting at once to a handful, which made them great fun, and more profitable, the next year in Hong Kong and Istanbul. But back in London that year, on the way to the afternoon shoot, we just started photographing each other in transit, which was exciting as it filled a need of transit images in my portfolio and had known some success with a similarly themed shot I had set up in Montreal in 2012. So here is Lorraine with Adrian’s tablet on a bus. I got very lucky with the light and the scene – it’s so tricky to get everything together for a nice shot when things are moving and you never can tell what the background will be like… but it worked here and became my best selling image from this event. We never found the afternoon group shoot and spent an awesome day visiting the Shoreditch area instead.
This one was shot during the City Beautiful 4 event in Orlando, Florida in early 2014. Thanks to the great work of my friend Evelyn, we had access to a resort, tons of festive props and great models of all ages and ethnicity. On this particular segment, I worked with a seven fantastic African American models pretending to be a three generations family. After working for a while around the gifts and Christmas tree, I sat down the “mother” with two of the kids to interact with my fabulously dead tablet (it stopped working barely a year after I got it). They did a wonderful job of pretending it was in working condition. Love the acting here.
A brand new image from the Istanbul Istockalypse shot last Fall. So sometimes the weather goes all wrong. This was part of a pitch shoot sponsored by Getty Images, arranged by Lorraine, where we were to shoot beautiful models having a great time on a yacht cruising the Bosphorus with the amazing sights of the city as a background. Of course, for most of the day we were shooting, the weather was freezing, it was raining hard and the wind was frightening. Amidst some seasick photographers and models, I took this suited heartthrob aside, put a life vest on him and turned the shoot concept around, feeling something might be done around a manager trying to save his sinking business. Here he is trying to shout directions into his phone and pointing to a solution. Kudos to Demir who was cold and soaked, and still acted convincingly. And well yes, I was cold and soaked too and so was my camera, the lens covered in water as you can see in this shot. So real! Thanks Canon for making weather resistant body and lenses!
During the Summer of 2013, my friend Martine Doucet and I produced a shoot in the area near Sutton, Quebec, where I lived at the time, featuring two teenaged girls. The first scene was around a high school, and, as she was shooting, I looked around for suitable locations. I found a stairways and immediately remembered how me and my friends used to sort of hide in stairways to play games, gossip and talk of personal subjects. So I sat the girls down and ask them to incorporate the phone into this. They did a spot on job and I love the gleeful tension in this one. “Quick! have a look at this!”
And a last one, on the funny side. What would a decent young American woman do if she were faced with a friendly alien? Well, of course, act like the kids in E.T., dress her up in her clothes and show her how to use a tablet. Isn’t that obvious? This was shot during the Summer 2013 Montana Aliens Stampede event, where we were faced with surprise after surprise and the challenges that come with having to come up with salable stories with out-of-the box situations, and no real preparation. Talk about thinking fast! I also shot the opposite exchange where the alien shows the cowgirl how to create energy out of thin air.