Interview: Photographer Joss Peix (France) (Winner of the Month)
Can you tell us a little about you?
My name is Joss Peix, I am 48 years old and I am into photography since 28 years. I was born and I always lived in Paris where I work. But my roots are Portugueses, and I always feel as a Portuguese guy because of my parent’s education. I hope I could live there one day. I have different hobbies such as travel, cooking and art in general. Before practising photography I was a painter, then a musician (guitarist) and an amateur theatre actor.
How and when did you get into photography?
I started with photography 28 years ago. I remember that I always had my camera with me, and took portraits of my close family. I had no photography’s techniques when I began, I just did it with my feelings. I suppose now that’s how I have learned to take pictures, doing a lot of portraits only with my feelings. However, before I bought my first silver camera I was already into photography, interesting by the work of the 20th century black and white humanist photographers : Sabine Weiss, Willy Ronis, Robert Doisneau … So, black and white photography was obvious for me when I bought my first silver camera ! I began to take black and white portraits.
After that, there were 3 important steps in my photo evolution :
- The discover of Sebastiao Salgado’s photography work which was an emotional shock that makes me understand that photography is and must continue to be an universal and a timeless emotional message ;
- The change from silver photography to digital photography. At the beginning, I couldn’t stand digital photography, as I was fond of silver photography. But with digital photography I was enabled to take more photos and I learned faster about photography’s techniques ;
- The fashion and model photo that I got into 5 years ago.
During several years, I only took emotional and humanist photos, essentially during my travels, and also as a street reporter. I was fond of authenticity, truth, emotions of non scheduled moments. Taking photos that remain timeless !! Then, 5 years ago, I decided to turn into models and fashion photography. At the beginning, it came as a challenge for me because fashion photography is the totally opposite of street photography : all is prepared and scheduled. But, I found my own way, mixing my humanist photography skills and experience to give to creative fashion photography some personal emotions. Finally, I guess I like fashion photography and I’m now into it, that’s all !
What does photography mean to you?
I believe that photography can be defined in 3 words : emotion, authenticity and temporality ! To be moved by a picture, it must be true. Photography stops a time, a moment, and if this moment moves people, that’s a timeless photo. This is what photography means to me !
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers?
My photography style is the result of the identity I got during all my photography experience’s years. First of all, my style is the feeling : no photography’s techniques, only the feeling to catch this one moment, this one glance, this one emotion I want to transmit. With fashion photography, even if technique is important, I accept to be wrong sometimes if I catch the perfect glance or the perfect fashion attitude. Nowadays, you can change a technical mistake with all the editing photography tools, but you can’t change a wrong moment by a perfect one. Evidently, I always put a high priority on light, but before all I focus on the human aspects. I lead the models to perform with their emotions, their truths, and their own personality !
Where do you get inspiration from ?
I guess that I get my inspiration from the work of my favorite photographers, as a mix of different styles :
- « Temporality » with the work of the 20th century humanist photographers that inspired me a lot ;
- « Emotions » with the work of Sebastiao Salgado that makes me understand that your photography must transmit a message ;
- « Authenticity » with the fashion and non editing work of Peter Lindbergh.
In fashion photography, my favorite photographer is Peter Lindbergh, for his black and white strong and true pictures. But the photographer who has mostly inspired my artistic work, for the way to frame and build a photo, is Jean-Loup Sieff. The way you frame and you built your photos is your own artistic identity.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
Before I got into fashion photography, I never thought in advance what I will do. Just took my camera and went out. With fashion photography, I prepare my photo sessions with the client and the team’s photo session (models, magazine, makeup-artists …) to get some inspirations and ideas about the creating process, the style, the outfits and the background places. But, no more ! During the photo session, I let myself be guided by the moment with the model. The human always takes his place with me. And sometimes, it happens that the photo session is really different from what I thought. This is the way I like to work, listen at each other and let the feelings lead.
Studio, on location or both?
I believe that I mostly prefer to do my photo sessions outside. But I have my own studio in Paris and I am demanded mostly for studio sessions.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I’m not a full-time professional photographer. But now, I consider myself as a paid professional photographer in the fashion photography field. I am available for testing models for model agencies, for model’s books and other works with clothes’ brands. During the last 3 years, I did some 40 publications in more than 15 different fashion magazines with 35 fashion editorials, 5 back covers and 10 front covers. I especially thanks Peter Van Poucke, the Director of MODELLENLAND Magazine, for giving me the great opportunity to feature severals times in his magazine.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I have two memorable sessions for two different reasons :
- The first one was with Karolina Latoszewska, a professional polish model. She was my first agency model and she gave me the confidence to go further, to create as a stylist too and to focus into fashion model field ;
- The second one was my greatest photo session for the 3 years’ anniversary of MODELLENLAND Magazine. Peter Van Poucke contacted me to have me as the official photographer for this event. He ran all the preparation of the team’s photo session, but he gave me his confidence to lead the photo session. The model was Keyoh, a great singer and model from Armenia, living in Belgium. The photos were published in 4 magazine’s issues and did 4 front covers. It was so exciting and it allowed me to be a cover’s magazine published photographer.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
My first digital camera was a Nikon, and since I have always worked with Nikon. My favorite lens are the fixed aperture ones : I work with a 35 mn f1.4, a 50 f1.8 and a 85 mn f1.4 mainly. I also like the X Fujifilm cameras serie, but only for my street photography.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I don’t think I have any piece of advice to give to someone. I only believe that each photographer must do what he wants to do, with his own identity, with honesty and with truth. Each photographer must believe in his work.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I just want to say that MODELLENLAND is an amazing magazine. I had the opportunity to feature in several times and to have some of my greatest editorials and covers with it. Many thanks to you Peter, you not only a photographer mate but also a great friend !