Sebastian Erras is a photographer based in Paris, passionate about architecture and design. He is also the man behind the very original and popular Instagram account named "parisianfloors", to which more than 167,000 people follow worldwide. The principle of his account is simple, the young photographer captures the most beautiful floors of Paris (and some other cities). The funky photographs only show the artist's feet, often adorned with beautiful city shoes and the floors of the places he frequents.
Erras brings you through a journey of different settings and different atmospheres that offers a parade of photos on this Instagram account. The surfaces on which he walks in the halls and corridors of Paris are dressed in abstract or realistic mosaics, with kitsch or art deco motifs, and in many other styles. The plans are often symmetrical, colorful and are a real invitation to stroll through the architectural monuments. A vibrant and rich tribute to the beautiful city of Paris.
The ingenious German photographer agreed to answer our questions in an interview:
When did your passion for floor perspective photography come about?
The idea of photographing the floors came after a trip to Marrakech, where I visited the Bahia Palace. There I found some beautiful mosaic floors and while walking through the monument I started taking some pictures of these mosaic floors and included my feet as a reference that it is actually a floor. I work a lot in Paris, where I shot Interiors, and when I came back to Paris I started noticing all these different colorful tiles and mosaic floors in hallways, restaurants, galleries, and cafes. So I started to do the same there and that’s when the idea of the whole Instagram project “Parisian floors” started in May 2015. Since then I have traveled the world to discover all these beautiful floors.
What techniques do you use in order to get final the picture?
My technique is pretty basic. I’ll try to get the best image possible on location. Making sure I have enough light, which either means finding a good spot without hotspots and shadows or adding a flashlight to illuminate dark hallways better. I try to make sure that the image is leveled as best as possible while I take the image, so I don’t lose to much space after cropping and leveling in Lightroom. I prefer to use natural light as much as possible and probably one of the most important aspects is to face the light source to avoid any shadows from your body on the floor. Once the image is taken, I level and crop it in Lightroom. Adjust the white balance and remove any disturbing parts, like gum, leaves or cigarettes from the floor. After that, the image gets resized, labeled and uploaded to my cloud storage.
What brand camera do you use? What Lenses?
I use a Canon 6DII with a 16-35/4 wide-angle lens for all my shots. Sometimes I might add an off-camera Speedlight for extra light in dark and difficult lighting situations.
Do you have a favorite image-editing program?
I do all my work on Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I use 90% of the time lightroom for the edits, as I shot all the images in RAW, and I’ll only go into Photoshop if I’ll have to fix things or clean up some stuff.
How do you go about finding your locations?
In the beginning, it was fairly easy to find floors as they are everywhere to be found. However now after 3 years, it gets a little tougher. Now I have to invest a lot more time to find new floors. Usually, I start with neighborhoods/streets that I haven’t been to yet. Then I’ll try to either go in the mornings or late afternoons as the chance to find an open door during that time is higher. In the mornings you might meet a lovely doorman that lets you enter the building and in the afternoons when kids come back from school it makes it easier, too.
Checking out restaurants or cafés is also always a good starting point if you want to find a floor. Luckily I have a large following now, so from time to time people send me images of floors they have in their building or tag me in images of floors they found. So that helps too.
What city did you find most inspiring to photograph? Why?
I prefer exploring new cities. I love it coming to a new city without really knowing what to expect and what to look for. It opens up your vision and you might explore something totally new. For my floors series, Cuba was the most inspiring. The amount of floors that can be found there is just outstanding.
Do you style a particular pair of shoes based on the floor you will be photographing?
Yes, the idea is to mix and match the shoes with the floors as best as possible. Every time I’ll go for a hunt for floors I’ll try to bring at least 1-2 spare pair of shoes.
Bonus question: Do you often run into poles and people, from always being on the lookout for interesting floors?
Hahaha, luckily that hasn’t happened yet, but occasionally people recognize by my shoes, which is quite funny.