Q + A – Elodie Chapuis
After a few years modelling, native French photographer Elodie Chapuis reshaped her fashion career from posing in front of the camera to shooting behind it. Currently based in Paris, Elodie splits her time between her two main passions – music and photography . When not contributing to international fashion magazines and designer portfolios, she is shooting live music festival performances and off stage portraits, capturing an intimate collection of images from bands like The Temper Trap, Phoenix and The XX. We caught up with Elodie to learn more about what drives her passion.
DISCOSALT: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your photographic background?
ELODIE CHAPUIS: I am native from the French Alps and I grew up in the suburbs of Paris. These are my roots. I don’t refer to any others particular photographic background because I’m self-taught. However, the study of the surrealist movement was a real revelation to me, particularly through the works of André Gide et Jean Cocteau. All of it still influence me today.
D: How did you make the career shift from fashion model to getting behind the camera? And at what point did you realize that photography is what you wanted to do as a career?
EC: The transition happened quite naturally. I was already evolving in the field of fashion for a while both as model and artistic consultant.
I think the photography at first daunted me, although it clearly seems that it would be through the image that I would get the better expression of myself.
It was just a matter of time. I had to feel the moment was right. I started out taking some test shots for models agency, and I had the chance to be spotted out by brands who ask me to realize their look book & campaign visuals. This spontaneous confidence pushes me to plunge and start it as a career.
D: What is the most important skill for a photographer to have?
EC: Imagination and in a way the ability to share it with a wider audience.
D: What camera and lenses do you typically use? How much equipment do you typically bring to a photo-shoot?
EC: I mainly use my canon 5 D mark II, and regarding lenses, I am quite faithful to prime lenses such as 85 & 135mm. For equipment, it depends..when it is a commissioned work, I bring slightly more equipment. When I do personal work and reporting, I love to feel free, so I am very minimalistic and this is a good thing as I love natural light.
D: What makes a great photograph?
EC: A photograph that provides you a true emotion, even if it last only for a very short time.
D: You capture such incredible images in Black and White. Are you drawn to Black and White over color for an any particular reason?
EC: Thanks. It’s really all very spontaneous. It’s my imagination that tells me color or black & white. For the stage, my eyes very often turn it in black and white as there are too many colors that parasitize the image. In this case, I found in “black and white” some rigour that is important to me.
D: What are some of the challenges of working in Fashion?
EC: In fact, whatever field in which you works, the most beautiful challenge for a photographer will be with himself, I mean to be driven by passion as long as possible.
D: What are some of the challenges working within the music scene?
EC: You don’t plan and prepare the set, you make it yours ! you try create a kind of instantaneous magic with unpredictable elements . I’d say the music scene photography, requires a lot of physical endurance and ability to concentrate. Two abilities that are all equally important sum in fashion!
D: How did [STAGE ME OUT] begin?
EC: Feet in the mud! For my first music festival I chose the Roskilde festival in Denmark and I was not disappointed! The experience was so rewarding. First, it led me to other festivals, and then to meet the opportunity to share this personal work through exhibitions.
D: What projects are you working on now? Any upcoming projects in New York City?
EC: Various ones right now, I usually follow the flow of things as each day brings new project in some way, and I keep them multiple because I don’t want to lock me up in particular a field.
New York City? I will love to ..people often generate projects, who knows? Perhaps you’ll see me there pretty soon!