Where are you from and how did you get into street photography?
I’m born and raised in France, but I really got into photography when I started living abroad. At that time I was documenting trips, parties and anything that seemed of interest to me. Then I realized wandering on the streets, taking shots and hopefully getting a couple of decent photographs was making me happy. Today, wherever I go, I always carry a camera with me.
How would you describe your street photography style? What do you hope to transmit with your images?
First, there has to be people in the frame. It gives scale, soul, everything to the image. Second : spontaneity. It’s the essence of street photography, at least the way I see it. A good shot has to capture a scene that would have happened without the presence of the photographer. So discretion is the key.
Are there any street photographers in particular that you draw inspiration from?
I won’t be very original with this one, but I’ll go with Vivian Maier, both her style, and her story – the way she’s been discovered and so on – are incredible. I would also say Martin Parr’s extensive work is very inspirational to me. Finally, I also admire the work of Mikhail Dashevsky, a soviet photographer.
Where is your favorite place to take photographs and why?
Any busy place will do, really. The more people, the more chance of interaction, of something interesting happening. I like stations for instance, or even the inside of the metro. It’s a bit different, but I also like weddings – relaxed, happy, dressed up people make potentially nice pictures.
You have a lot of photos of people interacting with their cell phones. Why are you drawn to this kind of scene? And how do you take an everyday scene like that and make it interesting in a photo?
Telephones are both a curse and a blessing. A curse because while looking at your phone you’re cut from the outside world and not receptive to what can happen around you. This is also a blessing, a chance to get closer to the subject, as the person is most of the time completely absorbed by its device. Whether we like it or not, telephones are part of our lives and sometimes, with a bit of luck, there is a chance to capture an interesting expression, emotion or gesture.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in street photography and how have you overcome them?
I guess it has to be the guts to point your camera towards a stranger you have no idea what his reaction will be. But that’s also the thrill of it. I use a fixed lens camera, so I have no choice, if I want a decent shot, I have to get close to my subject. Maybe that’s what helped me to overcome this apprehension. Anyway, with a smile or a gesture of goodwill you most of the time get away with it! Of course, it happens that a person comes to you and asks not to be photographed and that’s their choice. Then no problem, I just delete the picture and wish this person a good day.
What is your most memorable moment or photo from street photography?
Scrolling back into my older pictures makes me think of the period of time, the moment, the atmosphere of when I took them and brings the memories that go with it. With my work as a journalist, I have the chance to go on very interesting trips. For instance to Mali, or Afghanistan recently, that made quite strong and memorable photographs.
What has street photography taught you?
Photography is a matter of attitude. If you have the right one, people will let you get your shot. Photography taught me patience and humility. Thanks to photography I’m never bored : if I miss my train and have to wait, if I have an hour off in the city, I just grab my camera and there I go!
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Antoine and see more of his work, be sure to visit his Flickr photostream. This photographer was selected from our Flickr group (Street Photography Magazine), where we regularly choose photographers’ work to be published in our magazine.
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