I was born in Quebec City (province of Quebec, Canada) from an Irish father and a French-Canadian mother. I live and work in Montreal. I have a degree in sociology and another one in languages and literature. I am a freelance writer/editor (which includes stints as a photo editor) mostly for French-language corporate publications, and a photographer with professional credentials. I already had training and experience, but two years ago, I decided to go back to school full time (while also working) to get an officially-recognized diploma from a very reputable international photo college based in Montréal (College Marsan). It was an interesting, and very intense experience that strengthened what I had been building in terms of photography for quite a while. I got my first camera when I was about 14 years old, which is a long time ago.
What do I like about photography? So many things that it’s hard to choose what to talk about. Actually, the question I will put to myself here is: How do I experience photography? For me, photography is a very personal endeavour. When I decide that it’s picture time, it’s as if my brain automatically switches to a sort of meditative state that shapes the way I look at my surroundings. I like to take long walks and feel what is happening all around. I’m usually not looking for anything in particular. I let subjects jump at me. When something catches my eye, I stop, look at it from different angles and shoot from different perspectives. I may or may not like the result in the end, but what matters the most is that every time, I learn something. Oh, and I never stage outdoors photos. It’s more or less the same process when it comes to indoors photography, except that I will often stage the pic when a subject jumps at me.
What types of photography suit me the most? I like to do close-ups, macro, abstract; and I have a very special connection with wildlife portraits and urban landscapes. (To be clear, I’m talking about my own photography here, not assignments, which can vary in style.) In photo college, I got very high marks in architectural photography, but in real life, I don’t make that type of pics very often. Maybe I should.
Because for me photography is very personal, when someone asks me for comments on their pic, the first thing I do is ask them what’s important for them in it, what made them choose that subject, what story do they want to tell, etc. By verbalizing those things, the person usually ends up telling me themselves what they want to improve in their photo. We can then discuss ways in which it could be done. They learn, and I also learn a lot by listening to their point of view. It’s a win-win situation.
And I’m always fascinated by the way my photos are interpreted when I display them. Because no two people have the same life experience, the way we understand an image will vary greatly. What others see in my photos and what it makes them feel opens so many different universes that I couldn’t have imagined otherwise. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that one of the main reasons why I love photography is that I’ve always been fascinated by the human experience.