Known for his provocative, bold, and colourful style, Saint-Tropez based French photographer Philippe Shangti blends together drug and celebrity culture with elements around fashion, sex, fetishism, pornography and death. Aiming to break down taboos with his avant-garde style, some people describe him as the modern day Guy Bourdin. His controversial work gives you an instant access to Shangti’s self-proclaimed “crazy and disturbing world”, which he never fails to combine with an humorous undertone. With direct reference to some of the world’s best known celebrities, including Michael Jackson, Eva Longoria or Megan Fox, Shangti seeks to shock and stir the viewer’s emotion. Having attracted top contemporary art collectors, celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Tony Parker call themselves owners of his works. In addition to his passion for photography, Shangti also influenced the atmosphere of the restaurant-lounge “Le Quai” in Saint-Tropez, which hosts some of the town’s most renowned evenings.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a limitless delirious contemporary artist who always tries to reach the full potential of his imagination.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
Saint-Tropez is driven by people living a jet set life, continuously inspiring and influencing my work. My photographies are exhibited throughout Saint-Tropez, having attracted all kinds of people from soccer players to international cinema actors for whom I organize photo-shoots upon request. Most of them also come to visit the restaurant l’Opera, where my artwork can be seen and purchased.
How did your photographic career start? What made you want to become a photographer?
I have been shooting photos for years. I started when I was a kid with no particular goal apart from the need to express myself and to seize and capture moments.
What was your favourite project and why?
“No cocaine here” because I was the only one to further this cause. I also initiated the artistic identity of the 2 restaurants Le Quai and L’Opera (décor, shows, music, design….) in Saint-Tropez.
How do you define creativity?
Reflexion and action.
If you had one advice for someone to seek a creative life, what would you tell him?
Live a healthy life to keep a lucid mind. Being creative can also ruin you, so it's important to keep one’s feet on the ground and maintain an open mind.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in? What’s your personal motto?
Push the limits of your performances.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
Last minute photo shoots beyond measure.
What do you know that you wish you knew at 21?
I wish I knew that I would have to challenge myself everyday.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
I couldn't live without being creative. If it wasn't with the camera, I would find another artistic way to express myself.