In Focus with Grégory Vigier
Gregory discovered his love of photography early on and has never let it go. The 42-year-old Normandy native has managed to make photography his profession and has been capturing urban environments and outdoor sports for 20 years. One year ago, he joined the Meero community. Here is his story.
“When I was 16 or 17, I took a portrait of my grandmother and something just clicked.”
Photography had a strong presence in his house growing up. Cameras were strewn here and there and he learned to use them early on. He was always the dedicated family photographer and one day everything came together: “When I was 16 or 17, I took a portrait of my grandmother and something just clicked. I decided to go to a specialized photography high school in Paris. With my diploma in hand, I returned to my hometown and continued my studies in Photography.” At 22 years old, he left Normandy for a second time. "As someone who loves the outdoors, I quickly realized that the lab was not for me. So I decided to go and spend the winter working in the mountains, but also to have my own life experience."
One thing led to another and while on the mountain he met a ski and snowboard enthusiast, who very quickly became his best friend and one of his principal models. "This meeting led me to take outdoor sports photos. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to make a living from it, unless the model is well-known and recognized. This is a good illustration of the networking problem for photographers."
For the next 10 years, he spent his time traveling and working seasonally in the mountains. “During my first trip to New York, I focused on urban atmospheres. This allowed me to develop my technique and specialize in city photography while keeping a particular interest in extreme sports."
© Grégory Vigier
"Because I couldn't continue to make a living from my passion, I had to return to the job I was doing in the winter resort."
"Even in the days of film, it was very complicated to make a living from photography, again because of the importance of networking." For Gregory, this was a major problem for photographers. Tired of his somewhat precarious life, he decided to settle in Paris as a freelancer in 2010. "When I arrived in Paris, I spent most of my time picking up the phone and doing sales. And then I got lucky: I got a contract thanks to a picture I posted on Instagram of the Beaugrenelle shopping center."
© Grégory Vigier
In addition to this big contract, Gregory was busy with a series of small projects: from packshots to portraits, and even weddings. Throughout this, he continued to develop his artistic sensibilities and showcase his achievements. "The problem with exhibitions is that you pay for just about everything. I also had another problem: physical galleries partner with virtual galleries. So it's a bit like a dog biting its tail. If you're not part of the virtual, you can't get into the physical, which makes it very complicated to expose your work."
As contracts became scarce, Gregory decided to take a break from photography. "Since I couldn't continue to make a living from my passion, I had to take up the job I was doing in the winter resorts, namely selling outdoor sports equipment. And then you guys came along."
© Grégory Vigier
“I was able to restart my career as a photographer thanks to Meero arriving on the scene”
That’s when Gregory began his adventure with Meero.
"In early 2018, I applied after seeing a Facebook post that mentioned the need for photographers. I was then contacted in April and tested to see if I met the expectations and specifications, which I did.” Gregory had the opportunity to do culinary, automotive and lifestyle shoots. But his activity with Meero did not prevent him from trying out the competition:
”What I found is that other companies do not offer the same simplicity. They require endless exchanges, there are not many shoots available and they do not geolocate the photographer's position.”
Proximity is an essential element for Gregory, who does not want to shoot more than 30 minutes away from home. As a permanent employee in a major sports brand, Meero's assignments represent a supplementary activity for him:
"I do 20 to 30 shoots per month, mainly in real estate. Meero is an important tool for me. Although I am in the business world, the only thing I can't sell is myself. The prospection done by the platform is a blessing. Sometimes customers ask for my business card to avoid going through the platform and I refuse since I could never be as competitive as you. If I had to manage everything by myself, my prices would have to go up by 30%."
As for automated photo editing using AI technology developed by Meero, Gregory does not feel deprived of his work:
"For these types of projects, I don't mind not doing the editing myself, especially since the final work is very good. And then, retouching is still a separate profession entirely.”
Having started in the era of film, when editing was not an issue, Gregory admits that he "missed a window of opportunity" and did not develop his post-production skills sufficiently.
© Grégory Vigier