Albayzín (or Albaìcin) is a historic district of Granada declared a World Heritage Site in 1984. A perfect area for an end of summer shooting I did with Nina. I love the district, the small streets, the vibe of the area. Nina is one of the many expats that decided to stop in Granada, she is lovely and she's always wearing a dress! Check her website: http://aworldofdresses.com/
When I met Juliette, we went exploring together the 13th arrondissement of Paris where they live (yay, one of my favorite ones!), we met at the town hall where the civil ceremony would have been, then we walked to the church, then to their place. So we had a lot of time to talk and one of the first thing I asked her was to tell me the story of them as a couple. And it was such sweet and romantic as they are together since they were teenagers. And during the whole wedding day, I could feel their strong love and the complicity that they've built.
I always cry at weddings, whether it is a couple of friends, whether they are clients I've spoken with three/four times in my life.
At Julien and Margot's wedding, I've cried five times. Maybe it was because they are big travelers, like me. Maybe because they are young and with a contagious energy.Maybe because EVERYBODY was deeply involved, friends and family.Maybe because it was a beautiful, emotional wedding.I have been so proud to be able to witness in pictures their love and their special day.
I met Adrien and Anna in 2010, in Romania. After that, we met in France, Serbia, Austria, Hungary and Tunisia. They got married in New Caledonia first and then in Austria, where they live. And it was probably the most multicultural wedding I've ever seen. We spent a beautiful weekend in the Austrian countryside, camping near a lake, with friends from all over the world. The dress code? Traditional clothing and flip flops ♡
In March, Cindy contacted me to spend some days in Granada with us. She also wanted an engagement shooting. And she also wanted to take advantage of the shooting to... announce her fiancé that he's going to be a father! It was a very special moment with this couple and an honor to be a photographic witness.
Elena and Manu are very good friends and, most of all, they have been my really first marriage as a photographer. So I was more than excited when they told me that they were having a baby soon and that they wanted some pictures.
In the middle of the spanish desert, between Zaragoza and Lleida, every summer, for a week, there is a community that builds itself upon Burning Man principles.
I’ve known about Burning Man years ago but never looked deeply into it before 2013. That year I was going to Australia, I was meeting friends there. One of them suggested going to Burning Seed, the regional australian Burning Man.
So, in 2014, we decided to go together to Nowhere. The two burns are following the same principles but are quite differents, while in Australia everything happens in a forest, with tree and shades and a nice weather, the challenging climate of Spain in summer, the dust and the strong wind contribute in creating an ephemeral atmosphere. It's a completely new world that creates and destroy in a week, leaving no trace, as one of the principle: when leaving the site must be exactly as it was before. People are free to be exactly what they dream to be, everything is magic. And you can build your own experience, from deciding to have a week of yoga and meditation, unconditional love and personal development, to have a crazy week of dance, party, no sleep and unconditional love (yes, that's a constant).
So my objective in 2015 was to document this unusual and mystical world through the eye of my camera but a family emergency forced me to leave the festival before the end. That was my 2015 unfinished project:
And here we are, in a month I'll be here again, looking forward to this new experience, ready for the challenge, the laughs, the music, and, of course, the unconditional love.
This year I decided to celebrate Songkran, the Thai festival for the new year. I decided to celebrate it in Chiang Mai. And I decided I wanted to make a documentary photographic project of it. The Songkran festival celebrates the Thai New Year in April and for three days, all the street in Thailand are filled with people, young and old, pouring water on each other in the world biggest water fight.
Googling around, I wasn't able to find some good tips for a photographer so I just tried using my imagination and it went great.
So either you have a goPro or a waterproof camera, and in that case, you don't really have to worry about anything, or you need to protect your camera from the water! Here a list of things to take in mind if you're thinking about photographing Songkran:
You will get wet no matter what. Really, REALLY wet. Water will enter every little space of your bag, if you carry one, and form a nice puddle. Think about being under a waterfall for hours, get the idea?
Buy waterproof bags for carrying money, your telephone, and documents (better have a photocopy), but don't trust them for your camera. In addition, the plastic of the bag in front of your lens will create an ugly blur. So just don't.
Protect your camera. I did the documentary project with a Fujifilm X100, I wrapped it in a plastic bag from 7/11 and a lot of duct tape.If you have a DSLR the best thing is to have a filter on your lens and to use it to block the plastic too, so you don't have to worry if someone aim directly your lens (and believe me, they will! You're the best target when you have a camera in your hand)
You can't easily change the settings of your camera during the day, so better set them before "wrapping" and never touch them during the day. The best is to shoot in aperture priority and set the diaphragm quite closed: as you can't really choose where to focus, better have a large depth of field. Maybe you can wrap your plastic around the viewfinder, leaving it open, and in that case, you have more freedom in focusing, but I preferred not to risk and I covered everything. My camera allows automatic ISO between a range of values and it's a great option but when I checked the photos I've discovered they were more or less all at the same ISO. My range was between 400 and 800, I didn't want the risk of setting it too low and have motion blur neither too high with a lot of noise. Probably 400 is enough during the day but it will be too low for sunset. If you don't have an option for automatic setting, go for the 800 ISO.
As above, if you can't view through the viewfinder (or the screen) you don't really know what you have in your frame. The X100 has a fixed 23mm lens and it's great for street photography as it takes a lot in the frame (and I can crop later). I would probably use a 35mm lens on a DSLR.
You don't have the time to check your photos so take at least 2/3 shots of the same moment. What I've loved was the moment in the evening when I was unwrapping my camera and looking at all the photos of the day for the first time! It was a little bit like the wait for the processing of a roll of film.
Last but not least: enjoy it! I've seen people with their camera and they were so worried about it that they weren't really having fun. The festival goes on for three full days, give it a try for an hour/an afternoon/a day. But if you realize you are too concerned, then better leave it at home and take advantage of the festival. It's a war, it's funny, play the game!