Valentin Perrin is a 26 years-old photographer based in Paris. Working around fashion photography he creates mysterious stories of androgynous creatures in extravagant and avant-garde outfits.
“I need to work with people I trust and who trust me. Most of my models are also my friends, and for most of them, being a model isn’t something they aspire to. In fact, they don’t even ask what the shoot is going to be like beforehand. So it’s always a surprising and funny moment to see them climbing up a ladder in the middle of a field, or walking around the streets of Paris with passersby staring at these outrageous outfits and makeup. I’m lucky enough to have them give their all for the photoshoot and be extremely professional”. For more check out the interview below and visit his website www.valentinperrin.wix.com.
How and why did you start photography?
I studied fashion and couture for four years but that left me with the need to create an imagery around the clothes I was working with.
Did you learn or study anything else before and why did you choose photography?
I was working in the costume department of an Opera but photography took over completely, as I felt it was a more immediate way of creating a vision.
What is it that you enjoy most when taking pictures?
To see what I have imagined coming to life in front of me. Beyond the technicality of the shoot itself, seeing the models move around in that universe is the most enjoyable part.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
Childhood. Experiencing the conflict of reality and the world of dreams, and creating an in-between, just like James Matthew Barry created a ‘Neverland’ in his novel Peter Pan.
Whom do you look up to?
I don’t have anyone I look up to in particular as far as photography is concerned. Inspiration comes from anything I experience: a lighting, an outfit, a landscape, a face… it’s an organic, almost visceral process. I do, however, enjoy the works of Joel Peter Witkin, Brassai, and others…
What was your favourite project and why?
My favorite projects are usually the photoshoots which take place outside of a studio, when there is a whole universe that surrounds the model.
How do you define creativity?
By not defining it. It’s the expression of a freedom which I think should be absolute.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Don’t limit yourself in any way. There’s beauty and dream anywhere in the world, it doesn’t take much to acknowledge it and make it come to life.
What is your biggest struggle during your career as a photographer?
I do most of the costumes and setting myself, so the biggest struggle has been to find ways to physically create what I have in mind, finding the right elements and locations for the shoot.
Tell us something about your most awkward moment during a photo shoot?
I once was thrown out of the Louvre gardens for using smoke fountains. A purple fog had indeed invaded all the surroundings and an army of guards asked us to leave, so that I unfortunately could never take the picture.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in? What’s your personal motto?
‘But, said Alice, if the world has absolutely no sense, who’s stopping us from inventing one?’ Lewis Carroll
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the age of 21?
There’s no hardship that you can’t conquer, it is possible to be happy and at peace with yourself if you really want to.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
I dont think so. My life is built around what I do, so the people I get to meet and my routines are usually compatible with it.