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Interview: Photographer Mathieu Bounty (France)

Can you tell us a little about you?

My name is Mathieu Bounty, I am 35 years old, and I am a french photographer, half of my time in Paris and half in Lyon (beautiful french city too).

How and when did you get into photography?

I had two births :-) I started first back in 2007. Long story short : I was unemployed and to get a job (and kill time) I wanted to make a calendar of sexy girls named “bounty’s girls calendar”. It did not sell so much but it made me have a first step into this world and I loved it. I did not wanted to take the pictures by myself at first but I had to, so I took my father’s Nikon and it started like that. I quickly met a lot of cool people in Paris, and a agent of mannequins who gave me to work with a lot of cool models. Then I made a pause from 2011 to 2015 and I got back to photography since 2015 because I missed it a lot.

What does photography mean to you?

Images are powerful. Universal. And now we are in a constant image fast world. It’s good and bad at the same time. Most of people can’t tell what is fake or not. So to me photography can be really beautiful, but it has to be taken with a context. And more personally : photography is what set me free. I was not happy in my job before. Photography is full of good people, fun, and happiness for me. It’s all fun!

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

Sure, I was noticed as a “sexy” photographer, but now I try to evolve to a more “arty” fashion and fine-art style. My style is soft, sexy, really sensitive. Once I have been told I have a feminin sensitivity, which I took as a huge compliment.

How your work is different from the others?

Softer and sensitivier. Sexy but never vulgar. Even though I love provocation.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I think Women. Women are an infinite source of inspiration to me. I fell in love with Crazy Horse show when i was 6. (In France at that time, Crazy Horse shows were shown on TV for new year’s eve). I am also inspired by a lot of good photographers. Sometimes I like to try to recreate some of their pictures and techniques. It helps me getting mine. I’d say the two artists inspiring me the most are David LaChapelle and HR Giger.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?

Most of the time, I don’t. I love to improvise (and I do that a lot in my personnal life too). I let models play with the place, situation, they are really free with me. But as I am evolving and changing my style, I am getting to prepare a lot more my pictures than before. For example : in July, I will take pictures of an entire set we are building right now, an entire scenery made by our hands, this is really new for me and I love it.

Studio, on location or both?

I mostly take pictures indoor. I love beautiful places. If it’s in the studio, I like to set themes and scenery. Not just a colored or white background. Being inside is so much comfortable : you set the light exactly the way you want, it does not matter if it’s the day or night outside, if it’s rainy or sunny : you can create whatever you want inside. So mostly indoors and beautiful places.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

I have a lot of good memories but one my best was with Sadie Gray. I went to Barcelona to shoot her with a student (it was a private workshop). The evening of the event, she got to the place for the shooting, I was flying the next day. She told me the place was not good at all to do a photoshooting. I had to find one … 2 hours before the shooting ! Right at the Barcelona’s airport ! I had cancelations, place who said no, not answering, we got lost with my student to the opposite and we were 40min late, Sadie was already on place ! Finally we found a place and it was the best we could ever dream of, with perfect natural light and sun in it, it was a perfect shooting, and Sadie was amazing.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens and would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I am a professional since 2 years. I left my ancient job to do photography 24/7.

Haha good one ^^ I don’t like to do like everybody so here we go : I started in 2007 with my father’s Nikon D80. I bought then a Nikon D40. Someone told me “Canon 40D is better” so I bought one, I did not like it. I came back to Nikon … with a D3100 ! My father gave me his old argentic lenses so I mounted them on the D3100 and the result was amazing. Then I bought a Canon 5D Mark II … in 2017 ! (yeah, late !), I mounted a Sigma 50mm Art on it. I love these lenses. But this camera was so old. I wanted to switch to hybrid camera for a lot of reasons and I hesitated a lot between Sony (Alpha 7 series) and Nikon. After testing a lot them, I finally bought a Nikon Z6 on early 2020 with a 24-70 2.8 S on it and it is perfect. Both for videos and photos. I sometimes mount my canon lenses on it. Yeah, told you, I don’t like to do like everybody else ^^ I think my next camera will be a Z7 so I will have both. Or maybe an Hasselbald. I love their definition.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

Do it. It’s tough out there, photography has changed a lot, everybody think he is a good photographer with a smartphone, and fact is … some are good ! But believe in you, try it, do it. Train your eyes. Look at a lot of photographs. Take at least one workshop with a photographer you like. Go out of your comfort zone. Buy your stuff BEFORE getting started. It does not cost 10.000$ necessarily. Just buy the essential : one camera and one or two lenses. And a laptop to edit anywhere. I started my business WITHOUT having half of my actual material. It was very difficult. But you can rent stuff too. Lots of solutions are possible. Another advice : do not be alone, get with other talents. Grow your network. And think big. Bigger. And never stop learning.

What would you absolutely want to shoot?

mhhh if the question is “who” I would say : Emily Ratajkowski ? :-) Haha. Otherwise, “what”, I don’t know. I mostly want to shoot places I have not been yet. The big swing in the trees in Bali ? Petra ? I think right now … I want to BUILD my own incredible thing I want to shoot, as Le Turk does.

What are your future projects?

Good transition ! I am right now building a set with big candies, you will see the pictures this summer ! I am also starting in the fine art business and selling my prints. And also starting to do advertisement photography.

What are you looking for in the models you work with?

I chose them because they “have something”. And because they are respectful, kind. And fun. I don’t like to work too seriously.

Facebook : facebook.fr/mathieubountyphoto

Website : www.mathieubountyphoto.com

Instagram : instagram.com/mathieubountyphoto (fashion one : instagram.com/mathieurenaudstudio)

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