This serie will contain interviews with a few of my favourite photographers. I asked each of them some questions about how they work, their thoughts on filmphotography and where they get their inspiration from.
In this first edition I wanted to share the answers of photographer and cinematographer, Lucas Troadec (London). In my opinion an artist with a huge amount of talent for photography. His photos are very cinematic, the light is beautiful and even though his pictures look like planned stills from a movie, they still have that documental realism in it. It feels real.
I reached out to him on Instagram asking if he could answer these questions I had for him. Ofcourse he would join he said, and I didn’t have to wait long for the answers either because only one day after he wrote me back with some very inspirational answers which you can find here below. I promise, this is not only going to motivate you real good, the way Lucas talks about inspiration nowadays really made me think twice about it as well.
When did you start in photography?
So I started photography as a conscious art form in college about three years ago. I say conscious because I’d been playing around with cameras since I was a kid. I think I just never saw myself as a photographer until then. It’s when I bought my first 35mm film camera that I both re-discovered and fell in love with photography. I started out shooting street photography with an old om10. I loved that feeling of roaming the streets and exploring urban areas looking for subjects to shoot. I loved looking for the ‘cinematic’ in everyday life. About a year ago I changed my approach to photography (which had been very passive in a way) and started doing more portraiture. I started putting the subject where I wanted them to be. I started thinking about location more carefully; about light, about the time of the day, about style also, and what the model wears and how they interact with the space. That has forced me to have a more mindful approach, to do research, to look for inspiration in classic and up and coming photographers. In a way I went from: “I like the feeling of having a camera in my hands waiting for an opportunity and trying to capture fleeting moments” to “let’s create those opportunities for myself.”
Why is photography important for you?
It’s hard to describe and a bit cliche (I have been thinking a lot about this lately), but I think it comes down to recreating moments or feelings that are gone in an effort to process them and keep them alive. I drew a lot as a kid but always felt frustrated with the end product. With photography, I feel this urge that becomes unbearable when I don’t shoot. It’s a mix of regret, yearn, and sensation of loss. I’m a very nostalgic person, and I think shooting photography gives me a way to re-explore specific moments of my life (whether they were real or fantasized) to keep those emotions bearable.
“In a way I’m happy to not get paid through my photography. I get to keep full control over what I create and that’s something easy to lose when your passion becomes your job.”
Is it your (full-time) job?
No, I actually get most of my gigs as a filmmaker, though the odd paid photoshoot also happens. I see one as the extension of the other, but in a way I’m happy to not get paid through my photography. I get to keep full control over what I create and that’s something easy to lose when your passion becomes your job.
What would you advice people that are trying to make it their job?
As for filmmaking, I would say don’t be afraid to do unpaid shoots, or even put the money yourself into those projects. It’s hard when you’re hassling for money (rent in London is not cheap haha) but the more you create and get content out there, the more likely you are to have other people notice your skills and see the value in those. That’s in terms of photography as a career. I wouldn’t necessarily say the same about photography as Art. Some projects will take months, if not years to develop into something coherent. Despite what Instagram makes you think, it’s OK not to post every week. It’s even OK not to post every month and it’s OK to take your time to make sense of what you need to express.
Do you choose film over digital?
100%. It sounds conceited but I think my experience of film photography is just too different from photography with a digital camera. It’s organic. It’s physical. And it’s limited. I actually never made the transition to digital (I grew up using disposable cameras in the 90’s and 2000’s and never managed to feel satisfied shooting with digital cameras).
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I really struggled with this at first, and I think the learning curve is still very long. I would say my original source of inspiration was movies. Then when I started shooting more consciously, I found a lot of stuff on Instagram. The thing with Instagram is, so many people post the same shit it’s hard not to get your creativity hampered by this overflow of visual information. It’s not that it’s not good, it’s that people will re-create and copy the same photographs and moods over and over again. Subjects become commodified for like value and people start losing their own voice. If you look at William Eggleston’s work in the 70s, you’ll realize the vast majority of what you see on Instagram today is just a reprojection of that. I’m hard on this but that’s because I fall victim to it also. I’ll see a gas station and be like oh that would be a dope shot at night on cinestill 800T. How many more gas stations on Cinestill at night do we need in the world? So now I look at classic photographers, painters, and films, and try to steer away from the obvious photographic shots. Inspiration is good, but we need to be alert and conscious about it.
“Inspiration is good, but we need to be alert and conscious about it.”
What is a project you are planning to do in the near future?
I can’t tell you too much haha but I’ve been brainstorming some documentary type projects. I’m off to Oxford next year to study Migration Studies to do just that. I’m always struggling to find a photographic subject, as in a person to put in front of my camera. I care deeply about social justice, and I really think visual stories about the Other (those that belong to different communities than us, think differently, act differently, live differently) can really bridge differences among individuals. I’d love to depict people through different visual stories touching on themes like intimacy and loss. I’m basically just looking for an excuse to shoot!
What is a project that would be nr. 1 on your wishlist?
I moved to London five months ago and have been moving nomadically like this for years now. I think I just really want to meet more people that are OK with being photographed. It’s not one project per say, but rather just shooting more of what I want.
Do you think great photos depends on a great camera? And which camera is your fav. to shoot with?
Hm no, but I do think knowing gear is essential. You can shoot on a polaroid camera if that’s what you want, as long as it fits your creative ideas. I don’t care about the ‘best’ cameras, it’s all about knowing how to best utilize what’s out there to fit your vision. Know about filters, different lenses, ways to light scenes, flashes, reflection methods etc. and you’ll be able use that gear effectively. I love my OM2 because it’s sexy looking haha (and it never failed on me).
Do you have zines or prints people can buy
No but I am starting to think about it. As I mentioned before some projects may take months to develop into something you’re happy with. At first you may not even see a connection. I’m taking my time and allowing myself to discover some kind of coherence through my work. Maybe that’ll happen when I’m 40, I don’t know!
Where can we reach you?
Despite what I said earlier, it’s still Instagram! @troadeclucas and I respond to every inquiry 🙂