An aesthetic approach to street photography with Guillaume Flandre

May 26, 2020 by Monica Linzmeier

© Guillaume Flandre

Many of us have had to cancel travel plans the past few months, but that doesn’t stop us from imagining what we will do as soon as travel opens back up. Many of us are inspired by beautiful travel photography, so while we wait indoors for now, let’s get to know some of the people who inspire us. 

33-year-old London-based Guillaume Flandre has been exploring the medium of photography for the past ten years and is not slowing down anytime soon. Today we’re getting to know more about Guillaume, his work method, and the importance of failure in work. 

This is part of a series of Photographer of the Week articles, to check out more visit this article about Juanma Jsme or about Sarah Arnould

Finding his passion in the Big Apple

His passion for photography began during his student years in New York. Like many who have come before him, he discovered how perfect the streets of New York are for street and travel photographers. Ten years later, he continues to concentrate on these two types of photography and his style has become defined by those poignant moments you come across when you’re always on the lookout for something different, both in bustling city centers and beautiful natural landscapes. He defines his style as eclectic and graphic, and he tries to bring an aesthetic approach to street and travel photography.

“I have always loved beautiful images, and photography really started to interest me when I met people who were passionate about it and who were able to share that passion with me.

At first, it was really curiosity: "how is it possible to get such a beautiful picture from this camera?"

Guillaume Flandre New York Photography

© Guillaume Flandre

Preparing for a shoot and everything that can go wrong

Street and travel photography are Guillaume’s bread and butter, and he approaches them in a similar fashion: he takes his camera and he goes out to see what he can find.  

“I don't mind waiting a long time in the same place in order to capture the image I have in mind. But at the same time, I am restless and I love to scan my surroundings with my eyes to be on the lookout for those magical moments that only happen once.”

And some of those moments have really defined his career.

When he started travel photography, his goal was to appear in National Geographic. Since then, he’s been published several times on their online site in the Italian and Chinese paper version, and to this day it’s one of his greatest successes. 

He has had his share of failures in travel photography as well, however. 

“During a shooting in Peru, I came to the magnificent hanging salt shakers. A dream landscape... Only to realize that my battery was dead and that I hadn’t brought an extra battery because I wanted to travel light.”

Luckily he found someone with a camera of the same brand and was able to borrow their battery for a few minutes while he captured some pictures, and the day was saved. 

Commercial shoots, on the other hand, work a little differently… The projects Guillaume works on are typically thought out weeks in advance and include several people from set designers to producers and everything in between, with everyone working towards the same goal.  

Thinking back to the most complicated shoot he’s done to date, he recalls a particular client who had to validate each shot. 

“We were shooting in winter and the photos had to be “summery.” It wasn't easy but we did it!” 

One of his biggest failures came from a commercial shoot: he accidentally formatted an SD card that had photos from a shoot abroad for a commercial camera test. These images were supposed to be used to promote the camera. One of the scariest moments of his career, but he was able to get some images back. 

Guillaume Flandre New York Photography

© Guillaume Flandre

Learning from experience

You can either view failures as good or bad things, depending on how you look at it. Guillaume knows the importance of learning from his failures and looking at them as a lesson. 

“In photography and art in general, failure is part of the creative process. In order to achieve a result you can be proud of, you have to go through hundreds of failed attempts. It's something you have to do.”

For those wanting to learn from his experience, he insists on staying open-minded and being ready to change everything if something goes wrong on a shoot. By being ready for the worst with back up batteries, memory cards, lens cleaners, and other logistical concerns, you can avoid a disaster down the road. 

Aside from the logistic side of things, his advice is to persevere. 

“It takes years to get comfortable shooting and mastering the camera. The key is practice! Another piece of advice is to be smart and make sure you’re ready: don't go into photography full time until you have a network and a well-stocked portfolio.”

Guillaume Flandre Landscape Photography

© Guillaume Flandre

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