Guillaume Gaudet Interview
Start spreading the news. French photographer Guillaume Gaudet has arrived to New York City to capture all aspects of this multifaceted, ever-changing, legendary metropolis. He shoots commercial events and is an editorial photographer. He enjoys walking the streets of the city that never sleeps, and seizing aspects of every day NYC on the spur of the moment, whatever catches his eye. Guillaume Gaudet shared with us his insight on the art of photography and how he markets himself in the Big Apple.
You are a French photographer based in NYC. Why the Big Apple?
Well, simply because 5 years ago I followed my wife who had been transferred to the NY office of her firm. I was doing public relations in France and quit my job to follow her. Since I didn’t have a job in the US, I would spend a lot of time on the streets of NY taking pictures. The city became a great source of inspiration for me, and still is today.
How did you first become interested in photography?
If I remember well, I started becoming interested in photography when I was in high school. I was in a boarding school and I would, sort of, document our daily life. The pictures weren’t great but they’re good memories of that time. I was maybe the only one doing it. I kept taking pictures in college: portraits, parties or vacations with my buddies. I’ve got a lot of photo albums from that time. When I started working, I was less prolific and would mostly take pictures during my holiday trips. I think I’ve always wanted to become a photographer but I didn’t consider it as a potential career. I wish I had started sooner.
Did you pursue studies in photography? Do you feel having an education in photography is necessary?
I’ve never taken any photography lesson, period. I’ve learned from scratch and spent a lot of time reading magazines, books, and online tutorials. Then, it’s practice. It’d be easy to say that it’s not necessary; HOWEVER, I wish I had studied photography because it would have given me a confidence that I never had. I’m still wondering how photographers sometimes manage to take some pictures or do some edits and I feel very frustrated.
What aspects of the city fascinate you and inspire you to want to capture on camera?
I love the City because it’s a mixture of everything: architecture, food, people, etc. It’s a mix of modern and old, neat and dirty places. I think that it’s gentrifying a bit too much. I miss the rough NY. I would have loved to shoot in the 80’s, 90’s. Neighborhoods like DUMBO or Williamsburg don’t really look the same now compared to when I started taking photos there 5 years ago.
Does the price of the camera matter to you? Does the quality of the equipment translate into better results?
Yes and no. Most important are the lenses. When I started buying expensive lenses, I could tell the difference. Cameras are less important, it depends on what you’re shooting. If you’re taking night pictures, it’s best to have a camera that allows you to shoot at a high ISO without getting too much digital noise, for example. I have a photo on sale at galleries that was taken with a Coolpix…so it works sometimes.
How important to you is the editing process? How long does it usually take for you to edit a photo?
It’s extremely important. I spend often a lot of time on a single picture, trying different edits and see which one is best depending on the type of picture, its mood, etc. However, some pictures don’t need any edit if they’re beautiful as they are.
What do you feel is the best way to promote and publicize your work? Do you feel like being in NYC puts you at an advantage towards this aspect?
That’s still a good question to me. I don’t know what’s best and I don’t feel that being in NYC is an advantage since everything is publicized via social media nowadays. I’ve got a website, a Facebook Page, a blog, a Tumblr Page, a Twitter account. They all have pretty much the same content but it’s just different ways to reach out to as many people as possible.
On your website you have a publications sections. How did you come up with the idea of photography books and displaying them online?
At the beginning, I just wanted to publish for myself a book with a collection of pictures of NY. I found out that Blurb allowed you to create your own book and publish it entirely online. I thought it could be a nice marketing tool and self-published other books with that in mind.
You took amazing shots of NYC post-hurricane Sandy. What projects are you working on now and what can we expect from you in the near future?
I don’t have particular projects in mind right now. I’m a commercial and editorial photographer. I’m working on assignments on a regular basis but I try to keep practicing street photography on the side. Right now, I’m trying to build a portraiture/lifestyle portfolio. I really like to take life scenes/moments on the street of the city but it’s very random to shoot great pictures. My objective is now to create those moments and shoot them.