From Paris to Hollywood
Ever since I was a teenager I dreamed of being an artist, an actor, a director or just being involved in making movies.
As a teenager I remember seeing Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and this totally changed my life. Not so much by the quality of movie, which I loved (I went to see it three times in the theater the first week of its release), but by the impact it created around me. Everyone at school was only talking about the movie, and I realized that a movie could have a huge impact on culture and society at large.
This dream kind of faded away as I grew up. I became a father early in life, and I got a job coding. But sitting at a desk was not a life for me, although I loved computers. I then got into sales for the travel industry, first selling sightseeing tours in Paris and later on working for my brother’s company selling websites to hotels.
In 2004 at the age 34 years old, I had four kids to take care of and lots of financial responsibilities. I was doing ok, but I started being obsessed again about working in movies. I decided to go back to acting class and to create some short movies to tackle the world of entertainment. Back then there was no DSLR that could shoot movies. To get anything decent you had to rent very expensive cameras that did not even have nice bokeh or depth of field and did not look like cinema at all.
All my efforts came out to nothing; my shorts were horrible and not finished, and the acting classes were not doing well. I felt like I would never make it.
As I was about to give up, I went on vacation with a whole bunch of friends in Guadeloupe. I had a small Sony point and shoot camera and started for the first time in my life to shoot digital photos. They were just snapshots of our holiday.
One night we were a little bored, nothing good on tv. One of my friends present, Kelvin Pimont asked me if I wanted to see what Photoshop could do. I had heard about the software but never saw it in action. Kelvin was a young designer who was a master Jedi at the software.
He starts showing how to select the sky and make it super dramatic, how to erase all the tourist around a portrait we had taken together and I couldn’t believe how powerful and how ‘easy’ the software seemed to be.
That day I had a major epiphany that would change my life forever.
Until I could figure out how to make movies, I could at least create art with photography and make my photo sublime with the help of this magical Photoshop software!
When we came back home, I went into the biggest technical library in Paris (Eyrolles) and looked for all the books I could find on Photography and Photoshop. After buying a large number of really hard to understand books, I found a Photoshop book by Scott Kelby. Finally something I could understand.
I then started a project that went on for 5 years, taking dramatic photos of Paris after work in the most dramatic light possible. I would then watch tutorials on post processing and using Photoshop, and then later on Lightroom, I was able to make the photos even more dramatic!
This was a blast and my life made sense again. When I became 38 in 2008, I started doing interior design photography as I did a photo shoot in a hotel in Paris (in HDR) with the Seven Hotel. The hotel belonged to a hotel celebrity by the name of Philippe Vaurs.
Philippe was blown away by the photos. At the time there was very little retouching in interior design photography and most photographer were shooting on film. I added some subtle light effects in Lightroom that seemed to hit home ☺
He started promoting my work to many hotel managers/owners and I started getting lots of job inquiries. So much that a few months later, I resigned from my VP of Sales duty to being a full time photographer. (more…)