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Interview: Photographer Sébastien Amy – (Switzerland)

Tell me about yourself

I have always been interested in helping others to become aware of their potential and uniqueness. Professional trainer, makeover consultant and photographer are the three activities that feed me, as they are practiced in contact with others and bring them a different, sincere and benevolent look that makes them grow.

I am a person who likes to laugh, about everything and with everyone, which gives my interactions with others a welcome lightness in this crazy world. For me there can be no trust, no well-being without laughter. It is one of my three core values and is closely followed by self-questioning and caring.

Otherwise, I don't like the cold, mosquitoes and .... People who take themselves too seriously :)

How and when did you start photography?

About 12 years ago, a friend asked me to pose for him (as part of his photography studies) At that time, I didn't have much confidence and I still remember how good it felt to receive the photos. I then decided to buy my first SLR and learned how to photograph people on my own. (at the beginning)

I was then lucky enough to be coached by the husband of the dress designer Estelle Rochat, Gabriel, in their studio in Crissier, where I was able to learn my first skills and understand how to use flashlights.

What is your goal in photography?

My goal is very simple, I want to have fun, and I want my clients to have fun. To share special moments with them... It is by mixing photography with a game that we achieve the best results. The clients let themselves go and sometimes forget that I am holding my big camera to capture them.

What does photography mean to you?

It is a way of seeing life, others and sometimes myself. It allows real revelations and sometimes helps to understand the way others look at us. Often therapeutic, photography for me is above all encounters, sharing and laughter... and smiles of satisfaction when the photos are delivered.

How does your work differ from others?

I don't see myself as a pure photographer but rather as an image maker. I use photography and give it effects or an atmosphere that inspires me in relation to the person I had in front of my lens. For me, no photo can be delivered without even a quick step in my faithful creative companion, Photoshop.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

First of all in movies... I love movies and the different atmospheres you can find in them. In fact, I think I have a rather cinematic style in my photos. Who knows, maybe one day I'll have the honour of doing a movie poster?

But I also draw a lot of inspiration from other photographers in my region whom I admire, all of whom have a style and allow me to open up to other ideas, concepts, lighting, retouching, etc. To name a few, Sosthy De Bacchus from Geneva, Anita Lopez from Lausanne, Fred Eltschinger from Fribourg, Giovanni Fassio from the Riviera, Bruno Beuret in the Jura and many others, but the list would be too long.

I also love the work of Marcel Van Luit, Sean Archer's style and Peter Coulson's to name a few of the more famous.

Do you prepare your images in advance?

I sometimes prepare moodboards for my photo projects. When I have time or to validate the client's choices, I submit a moodboard. I don't always do it, because sometimes the idea is clear in my head and I just go for it. I also like to have the freedom to improvise, to use the energy of the moment and to go completely outside the project to find something that will make the difference.

Do you work on your photos and describe your post production work?

Mamma mia, any more readers in here? hehe - This is the biggest part of my job.

Processing the photos, developing on Lightroom and retouching on Photoshop. People often think that photography is easy and quick, you just click on a button and you put a filter on the computer and the photo becomes a masterpiece. Well no, I spend an average of 1 hour retouching each selected picture. The fastest retouching is done in 30 minutes, while the longest took more than 8 hours.

I have an established workflow that I improve from time to time as my technique evolves. But the basis always remains the same.

What is your preference rent or studio?

ON LOCATION of course... I don't even have a studio! I prefer to shoot outside, to use my environment, to find unusual places to highlight my models. I sometimes do some projects in a "studio" (it's actually an uninsulated attic that I use as a cellar and a studio, but we always end up finding something cool to do).

I also travel to clients' homes with my backgrounds and flashes, I find that people are often more comfortable in an environment they know, when they are not used to it.

What places and subjects are you most interested in?

I love shooting in industrial places where nature takes over. I also love water and the different ways we can play with it. I mainly photograph people, but I also have a soft spot for architectural pictures.

What would you most like to photograph?

An exclusive session with a famous person, an international star. Someone’s in?

What is the most important thing you have learned over the years?

That there is no point in comparing yourself to others. We all have a different style, a different way of doing things and a different look. There is no such thing as good and bad, there are just differences that we like or dislike.

What are your future or short-term projects?

A Viking project with my sweetheart that we have been planning for a while, several upcoming projects with creations by the designer, Estelle Rochat and other personal projects that I can't wait to realize between mandates and my main professional activity. Get connected to my different network so you won’t miss a thing!

What do you look for in the models you work with?

I'm looking for people who are open-minded, who want to share a moment of fun and why not regain their self-confidence. No previous experience is required, on the contrary it is often with beginners that we obtain the best results.

Do you have a message for the models?

Are you still hesitating? Go and read the testimonials of my different models to understand that posing in front of my lens is not just a photo shoot, but a life experience that is both enriching and fun! (sorry only available in french for the moment) See you soon!

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