There is an art to being a great photographer. It's about a viewpoint, an opinion. Many people can shoot a photo, but to have a camera, and shoot a photo with an individual style, to give the captured moment a particular look, a recognizable trait, that is an art.
Sundry has a friend we consider such an artist, a photographer with a great style. He's also a childhood friend of Matt's (Matt LeBlan, Founder and Creative Director of Sundry), both having grown up in Aix en Provence in the South of France.
Clement has beautifully shot 3 of our look books so far, and his work has always been stellar.
We thought we'd like to introduce him a little more to you, on the cusp of launching our Fall 15 Look Book, "The Art House", which he shot for us earlier in February.
We were fortunate enough to catch a moment with him in London, and he told us a little more about how he happens to hold a camera in his hands...
How did you come to have a camera in your hands, when did you start to capture moments?
My grand mother was a Painting Framer in France. As a kid we did nothave school on Wednesday and I would spend all day with her. I was observing the process of framing paintings with all those different wooden baguettes coming from all around the world. Unconsciously, I think I became aware of the frame of an image then.
What are your favorite cameras?
My favorite camera will remain the Polaroid 600 SE.
Did you learn it, or was it more intuitive?
Definitely had a visual mind, and then went to school (Art Center / Pasadena), so I would say a combination.
How do you like to work, sets, location, big lighting, natural, any preferences?
I love natural light mixed with a hint of flash. Style grows and evolves but I guess when I first started photography in California the available light was so extraordinary that I used it as much as possible on top of not having money to rent lights. So natural light has a enormous influence in my work. Light is different everyday, anywhere…
What kind of photographer do you consider yourself - fashion, editorial, portrait, interior, still life, etc.?
It’s a difficult answer but it looks like I’m doing more and more high end, lifestyle fashion. For as long as I can I will try to keep a DIVERSITY which is what makes it interesting. My dream has always been to one day photograph the Monaco Grand Prix, the next day do a portrait of Richard Branson, and the day after shoot a fashion editorial or an ad.
Tell us about your art (Clement is working on his own fine photographic art, has already exhibited, and will be exhibiting again soon).
Last year I participated in a group show, in a gallery called Mobilab, in Lausanne and started my first art pieces. I have started to layer images together, anything from 2 images to 8 images. The process is fascinating and suddenly the frame really tells a story. We are now working on a glass box with the images, so instead of seeing one image you will be able to see all the layered images, play with them, and create your own image.
Who are your favorite artists/inspirations?
Charles Fine, Alexey Brodovitch, Carlo Mollino, Richard Prince, Philip Lorca dicorcia, Jeff Burton, Vittorio Storaro. The list is long…
You travel a lot for your work, your clients. Do you like to travel in your own time?
I am single with no kids, so I spend my time either working or going somewhere.
Where do you go for your work?
There are no rules, wherever the job is. Most of the time I work on location from Japan to California or Europe.
What have been your favorite jobs?
My favorite jobs are with clients that understand photography and hire you for who you are and how well you fit the job. I collaborate with Mr.Porter, they really know how to put a team together. They take you to the right place to photograph the right story. I also did a collaboration with Lexus, that took me around the world, it was very special.
Any memories that make you laugh?
I used to assist a lot back in the day. We used to go out on the wrap night and came very close to missing flights (the next morning) with Guinness World Record headaches.
What are your favorite places to go to, why?
California will always be one of my favorite place to go and photograph. California has it all, from the urban graphicness to Nature and light, you can’t beat it!
Where do you still want to go, that you haven’t yet been?
I worked with Ben Saunders, the explorer that crossed Antartica and the North Pole, walking. (Ben Saunders is one of the world’s leading polar explorers, and a record-breaking long-distance skier who has covered more than 6,000km (3,700 miles) on foot in the Polar Regions since 2001). Ben has been so incredibly supportive of an idea of mine which involved travelling around the world. If I can find the financing for the project it will take me 4/5 years of travel around the blue orange [I had to ask Clement what that was: The blue orange was the term described by Astronauts to talk about the earth. L'orange bleu] and come back with a project that will encourage people to unify once for all and stop our craziness!
What do you always pack when you travel?
Always the same, 2 cameras, a computer, good headphones, T shirts, jeans, sneakers, a warm jacket and a good book.
Where were you born, where do you live now?
Born in Aix en Provence, south of France and live in London.
Any childhood stories that you remember well?
I am the youngest of all my cousins so I would do anything to get my older cousins' attention. We used to have a farm house where all the family would gather on the week end. I was not allowed to watch Mad Max but all my cousins were. I would sneak in and watch it. Once the movie was over I painted my fingernails black and pretended I was the crazy villain in Mad Max 1, "l’aigle de la route". Screaming around “I am the eagle of the road…"
Where did you study?
I went to boarding school in France. Afterwards I did part of my film studies in Australia and California.
Any favorite music through college/university?
We used to listen to a lot of Jazz and Reggae before we discovered electronic music and then it was all over…
You live in London now. What are your 3 favorite restaurants?
E&O in Notting hill, fusion food, a blend of small delicious bites. Suskan, a little thai place on the westside to die for! Patty & Bun. After living such a long time in Cali, I am always looking for a good burger and I have to say that Patty & Bun burgers are pretty damn good!
You grew up with Matt?
Matt was and still is like an older brother that I have never had. He was always there when I needed him. We used to go surfing, mountain biking and we will always share our girl adventures.
Many thanks to Clement for taking the time to share this with us... can't wait to see what he works on next!
Look at some of Clement's other work here: