Its sophos9 taking the helm in Januaries guest of the month. This months guest has a very unique style of image processing, its post apocalyptic feel has gained massive following and notoriety. The unique style is a personal favourite of mine so enough of me, lets get straight over to the main event.
Let me introduce January 2011′s special guest, midnight-digital…
1) We have seen lots of your work and that featured in Beauty in Decay. Can you tell us a bit about yourself (occupation etc)
Well I live in the south of France, at 2 hours by drive from Barcelona, on the mediterrean side. Im a semi-pro photographer and I work in a office during the week. I begun photography late 2007.
2) Your artwork is unique and post apocalyptic – where do you get your inspiration from?
My main inspiration come from the cinema and from the 80′s “Heavy Metal” (remember the old magazine) graphic novel style. Movies like early Mad Max, Blade Runner, Aliens, Planet Of The Apes etc (Im a movie / SF / horror geek lol)… But also authors like Druillet, Moebius, Dave Mac Kean… Actually I do not have any photographer icon cause my main influences comes directly from the cinema, the comic books and the rock/Heavy Metal cultural style. In a way, I do photography cause I can’t make movies…
3) What photographic equipment do you use and if you could spend unlimited money, what would be your ideal setup?
I work on a Canon material (Eos 40D with battery grip). Most of the time I use wide angle lenses (the famous Sigma 10-20mm or 8mm Samyang fisheye). I also have a 50mm, 70-200, 17-40mm. I have some Cactus triggered flashes but with time goes by, I prefer working with natural light. My tripod is my best friend lol.
The setup is an important matter, of course, but im not really into this kind of stuff. I think the most important is the imagination and the urge to show and share a scenary, a vision, a moving image, something which tell a story. So If i could spend unlimited money, I think i’d rather use the money to buy accessories, plane ticket to visit a stunning location (Prypiat ?) etc…
The camera is for me just a tool, like a pencil for a painter, nothing more…
4) Can you tell us a bit about your typical photo shoot setup? What do you look for and what props do you use?
You got the location you got the photo… Most of the time Im scouting for locations. Once I’ve found something interesting (and not only urbex sites) then I walk around and try to let flow my imagination and to fit with the mood of the place, catching the soul and inspiration. I always have music with me (ambiant stuff like Robin Guthrie or Dark ambiant/drone Lustmord…), it’s very important for me. Before starting any photos I go back to the site at different time of the day to see the light. Once I have the ideas then im no longer belong to this world, im completly obssessed by the images that I have in mind. I think both way photography and editing during the photoshoot session. It means that I have directly in mind the basics of the processing that I will use later after the photoshoot.
5) What has been your favourite location and why?
My favourite location is a derelict military hospital over here. It’s difficult to explain why. Propably a matter of feeling. I know the location like my own pocket and it’s a very vast place. But I really like every kind of explorations. Everk location has it’s own beauty. I’d like to explore more industrial locations, raw industries etc Unfortunatly the south of France was never really been industrialised.
Abandoned factories are most located in the north. It’s linked to a social history, the south is for agriculture and the north is for factories to make a brief summary… So I dream to visit vast derelicted industrial complex. The closest from my hometown is sit at 2 hours by drive and it’s a huge rusted metal monster.
6) Whats the worst explore you have been on an why?
Not a special one but I hate to drive to a location and waste a day for nothing because the place no longer exist or because it’s already filled by ugly taggs on walls. I hate taggs and vandalism.
7) For people getting into photography, what would tips do you have for producing stunning images?
There’s no magic tricks. The most important is to be inspired. To have the will to show a universe and to be patient. Follow your heart and imagination is more important that running for technical aspect (HDR, Camera, Material, etc).
Always consider the processing as an important matter : most of the recent photographers work with digital equipment and it’s important to consider the digital photography as a “new” photography style and the processing is a full part of this modern age photo. Finally, never get discouraged and have fun.
8 ) Whats your favourite image you have produced and why is it your favourite?
I don’t have a favourite one but if I have to pick up one I would choose “Deep Calls Deep”(http://www.flickr.com/photos/midnight-d … 865176577/). Because I love the mood on the image and also because it was an unxpected image. I was in the middle of nowhere, walking around then I found this sort of hatch in the ground, open up it and discovered a small underground complex lying down the ground.
Actually it appeared to be huge old abandoned water retention tanks. When I opened up the hatch I was completly amazed. That’s the magic of Urban Exploration. I think it’s a childhood feeling, something like the great adventure, when you was a kid riding your bike to explore the world. I think that most of the urban explorers are the last romantics. In a society that has abolished all the adventures, the only adventure left is the urban exploration…
9) Whats next for you and your work?
Well I have many projects. I work a lot with editors, creating book covers. I also have a lot of rock bands request for CD cover and booklets… I’d like to visit England for a week in order to shoot UE locations but I still haven’t clues on how to start the trip.
Such a cool read from a great artisit! Would like to take a minute to say thanks to Chris for the interview, I’m sure 2011 will be a great your for you. Please check out more of Chris’s work on his flickr account and let him know what you think.
Same time next month