When I first came across Louis' photography- I certainly didn't expect it to be the work of a 19 year old from Liverpool. Perhaps it was the foreign element, or the fact that he had so brilliantly captured his subjects in a way I thought only the most experienced photographers knew how. Louis' most recent photoset features his travels to Paris. I caught up with him when he got back.
COZYMAG: Hey Louis! So, we'll start off with an obvious one. When and how did you decide to take up photography?
Louis: I started photography when I was 14 when my parents had bought me a point and shoot for my birthday. My love photography died down until I bought a DSLR for my 18th. I am now 19, therefore for the past year I have just tried to get out as much as I can with my camera and take it wherever I can.
CM: Would you call yourself an artist?
Louis: When you think of an artist, you think of Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso. Yet I think you can consider photography art. You have to pick the best lighting, Your camera is like your paint brush and the world is your canvas. I know it sounds really cheesy but different styles of photography are making photography a respectful form of Art. I like to think that people consider my work a form of art.
CM: Agreed. What’s your favourite thing to photograph?
Louis: People have always been my favourite thing to photograph. People's facial expressions and actions change every second. When you get a great photo of somebody and it works perfectly, it's incredibly satisfying. I love busy cities as well, there is always something happening in a city which is perfect photographic material. Places that have a nice view always make a picture prettier if you capture it perfectly. Italy and Greece are great for scenery shots.
CM: Talk us through your gear. What camera do you use?
Louis: I had been using my Nikon D3200 up until christmas, but I have now upgraded to a D7100. I always use a 50mm lens as I consider them to give a great crisp to photos and they are solid pieces of equipment. I am 6 ft 3 and have the balance of a giraffe, so I need a lens that can take a bashing and which is relatively small. I have a pentax p30 film camera as well which I use sometimes. At university however it is way too expensive shooting film. Every time I get them developed in boots I can hear my credit card weeping in my wallet!
CM: Ouch. Where do you hope to see your craft take you?
Louis: I would love for my work to be featured in somewhere like the Tate or any well-respected gallery. I like to document the life of the French/English/Italian youth and I would like people to look at my photos and understand their cultures through a reliable source but also in an artful manner.
I would also like for my work to be featured in magazines. A lot of my work shows the humble and relaxed side of student life. Every time you switch on the TV, you see freshers just making idiots of themselves by getting too drunk and being diagnosed with chlamydia. I want to show people that we don't all have an STD and are actually doing something productive at university- However I wouldn't be writing this if it wasn't for sites like 'The Basement' who are really helping me with my passion for photography.
CM: Name three things you would love to capture?
Louis: I would really like to go to Iceland, the landscapes there are incredible with their clear lakes and huge hills with clouds hovering around them. I would consider that my dream place to shoot. Also I have always been interested in the India. I would love to capture the culture and their religious festivals. They would be fascinating to photograph with the copious amounts of colour and happy people. Lastly I would love to photograph Africa. There are so many different countries in Africa and cultures. It would be great to meet as many people as I could and document my travels at the same time. King Edward VIII in his time documented the nature across Africa. Although it was popular to shoot animals at the time with a gun, he did it with a camera and I would like to follow in his footsteps.
CM: We love your recent photo-series in Paris. Being there for the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, how did it affect the images you took?
Louis: Thank you, the Charlie Hebdo tragedy had a significant effect on Paris during the weeks I was taking pictures. The atmosphere was very tense in the centre and you could really feel the tension between people. People were a lot more closed when having their picture taken, which was the biggest problem. One man walked into one of my pictures and was very upset about it. I have never encountered this with people before. But also when people walked passed a Charlie Hebdo poster, It really changed the meaning of the photo.
CM: Do you keep up with other photographers in the scene? Name some people who’s work you’re a fan of.
Louis: There are a lot of photographers that I follow who inspire me all the time. I can sit on Flickr for 2 hours straight going through people's photos. Theo Gosselin and Andre Josselin are 2 professionals who I follow constantly. I like older photography too like Vivian Maier and Willy Ronis. These photographers have an 'in the moment' style which I have adopted to my photography and I like to think that it looks good! I am in contact with photographers who are also my friends, like: Marco Traverso, Robin Finetto and Alberto Zellner. They had gotten me back into photography and are extremely encouraging with my work. Droopey Bonez, Kris Jones and other people from 'The Basement' also take really nice pictures.
CM: Is photography the only artistic medium you express yourself in? Have you ever done anything else? Is there anything you’d like to try doing?
Louis: I like learning languages. I can nearly speak three languages and I would definitely consider languages a form of art. Everybody has a unique accent and way of speaking. The way I speak French is a lot different to how I speak English and your personality changes which is fascinating in my opinion. I really enjoy drawing too. I draw on absolutely everything which used to get my into trouble at school when I was younger when I was at a French catholic school. Ooh- and one day I would love to learn the piano! A lot of my family can play very well and I would like to continue that. I think I can only play "bah bah black sheep", so being able to play something better would be satisfying.
CM: What’s your favourite thing about being a photographer?
Louis: It gives me an excuse to travel and visit new places! I meet new people and discover new things. Furthermore, I think it's the fact it's really enjoyable and everybody has some sort of interest in pictures. When somebody messages me who I don't know, congratulating me on my work, it really amazes me. It makes me slightly more interesting too as some consider photography a dying form of art and it's hard to find other people who as keen as I am in taking pictures. Also girls actually are interested in me after looking at my work which shocks me. I used to be a 5/10 but photography has certainly brought me up to a weak 6/10 which is bonus!!
Oh Louis.... You're definitely pushing a 6 for that comment!
To see more of Louis' beautiful work, check out his website here.
& If you know of an artist you think deserves the spotlight, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words by Neela (@Foxyneela)