Photographer of Moods, Atmospheres
We want to share a guest post by a 24 year old French photographer, Valentin Astier. Valentin works as a matte-painter in special effects allows him to give a cinematic sensibility to his photos. He defines himself as a photographer of moods, atmospheres. He is looking, above all, to capture a particular feeling through natural or urban landscapes. Regardless of his subject, Valentin is particularly interested in the relationship between man and his environment.
I’ve always been interested by the image. I studied special effects in school. I am currently working as a matte painter. During my studies, we learned the key areas to understand the special effects : photography, art history, drawing, sculpture, cinema and many more. I learned the basics of photography in this school but it was only after I graduated that I started to develop my photographic work. I had an insatiable need to create, which my work didn’t seemed to fulfill. Now, I do photography simply because I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
What fascinates me is the pure image and that’s the essence of my work. I am interested in what the image can tell, make me feel thanks to its composition, its light, its framing, its colors, its textures. My work as a matte-painter in special effects allows me to give a cinematic sensibility to my photos. My goal above all is the beauty of the image and as much as I love taking the pictures I love retouching it. Color grading is an inseparable part of my approach in which I explore new atmospheres that can totally change the feeling of my series.
I do not have any specific projects in mind or favorite subjects. I do not do stories, photojournalism, and I’m not trying to take pictures around a particular concept. My main approach is to explore ideas of composition, to let myself be surprised by what’s around me and draw a mood, an atmosphere that inspires me, and then to bring out something coherent that’s built around a common idea.
Of course some themes are recurrent in my work. I marvel at nature and landscapes it offers. Its vastness intimidates me, its beauty transcends me and the serenity that it can bring out soothes me. But I’m also fascinated by cities, architecture. The contrast between these two worlds that oppose but especially respond to each other captivates me. Implicit or not, I always incorporate the concept of relationship between man and his environment.
I am not in favor of the practice by some photographers to publish an endless number of photos each day. It puts oneself at a disadvantage more than anything else, we lose a lot of quality but above all the intention of the photographer is diluted. I try as much as possible to make a drastic selection of my photos, which will have much more impact on the ambiance felt at the sight of my series.