INTERVIEW – Nicolas Evariste

Posted on April 16, 2012

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Firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions

What inspired you to practice the medium of photography?

 I started photography in 2006. I was quickly attracted by black and white, duotone and square format.
I’m self-taught, I have not received a photography education. But, graphic designer by trade, the practice of photography came naturally enough, in continuity with my graphic design works. It also allowed me to evolve in this area, offering me an additional tool for my creative process.

For me, photography is a good medium of creation. It allows to capture moments but also to create stories. We don’t necessarily show reality with a photo … out of context it can have different meanings, different interpretations. Photography also allows me to escape and unwind. Finding yourself alone with the ocean, under heavy clouds threatening … is a good anti-stress for me !

Just to confirm, the animals within the ‘Dark Zoo’ series are real, correct?
If so, what conditions did you photograph them in and how did you get them?

Yes, there’re real. The pictures of this series were all taken in zoos in France.

I chose the zoo because of lack of resources (material and financial) and so by convenience. This allowed me to develop a concept around that. The imperfections of the precast or reconstituted environment that we found in zoos has led me to disregard the background and all focus on the subject. In this way I got a minimalist and graphical series.

It’s been four years since I started Dark Zoo however the series doesn’t contain a lot of pictures. During these four years I have taken nearly 1,200 photos and in the end, very few are presented in my series. This is because it’s not always possible to have a black background on the photos. The animal must be front of a dark background to have a black background working contrasts in post production. I had no privilege during my visits to various zoos and I never tried to have. I was there in visitor (I’m not entered into the enclosure), which sometimes makes the shot very difficult.
In addition, I try to capture a look or an interesting position and the impossibility to “manipulate” the animals adds further complexity to the thing.

How do you come about new ideas and projects for yourself?

For Dark Zoo, I had the idea of this series during a walk in Saint-Malo, Brittany (France). As I walked, I took a picture of a seagull in profile. This photo was taken on the spot, completely by chance, without any thought before. The animal was placed in front of the sea and the water was very dark. In post production, I played with the contrasts and the sea turned into a beautiful black background, very deep. Then I had the idea to use the same concept but with other animals.

Nature is a recurring theme in most of my series. I would say it’s the main theme and it’s my first source of inspiration. Since I was little I’ve the chance to live in the countryside, to meet beautiful landscapes and a nature still untouched… it would be a shame to not enjoy of this opportunity and not share it with the others. So, the flower photography is come naturally. Nature is an endless source of inspiration!

What tips would you have for finding clients to work with and getting your portfolio recognised? I can see from your website you’ve been successful in getting your work recognised and published.

For me, photography is more a passion than my job and I don’t really consider myself as a “professional photographer” to the extent that I don’t make commissioned works. I only take the photos that I want and I sell some prints and do exhibitions.

Of course, sometimes I take pictures for customers, but it’s for graphic design projects (photos for ordered websites or leaflets for example). Who knows … maybe it will evolve later, but for now I’m happy like this … I make pictures without constraints and without pressure.

I don’t really try to develop my photography activity. Although this year I will open an office for my graphic design job and I will take the opportunity to exhibit my pictures. It will serve as my office and at the same time as a small art gallery. I make no plans regarding photos … I really don’t want to have to rack my brain, I live from day to day, just to have fun with photography

For the publications, these are the magazines that coming towards me. I post my photos on different websites (facebook, Google +, DeviantArt, Art Limited), so my works are more or less visible on the internet.

Any last words or tips for a university student such as myself?

 I’ve got 3 personal rules :

1 – «Quality is more important than quantity». You must be very patient ! To have a satisfying result, it’s sometimes necessary to do and redo the photo.

2 – Take pictures for fun and not put pressure … don’t make photo by obligations !

3 – Forget the rules 😉

(Of course it’s not applicable when you take photos in a professional context !)

–           Interview hosted by Tom Coghill, Administrator of ‘Cogtography’

© 2012 T.Coghill Photography All Rights Reserved

I found Nicolas Evariste’s work very inspiring black and white photography. The empowering tonal range he has captured between the different textures and patterns of the animals is not far different from looking for the formal elements within a standard landscape. Black and White photography is something I would like to expiriment more within digitally as I have already extensively practiced it using film photography and Nicolas is one of my top inspirations for the area.

I strongly recommend a look at his work, to do so, click here!:

http://www.nicolas-evariste.fr/dark-zoo-us.php

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Posted in: Interviews