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Interview: Photographer Yves Kortum (Luxemburg)

Can you tell us a little about you?

Born during ‘l’année érotique’ in 1969 in Luxemburg, I grown up there but after my studies I spend my time between Luxemburg and Paris. I am a photographer, but also an Art director, a Coach in my own academy, and I teach Photography in higher education in Luxemburg right now.

How and when did you get into photography?

It was when I was 17, my father had a darkroom and a little photo studio in the cave so I took one of my fathers cameras and started also. It was when I changed school my French teacher was proposing an option next to law and economics classes and that was photography. So I came closer to it. I started to bring all good looking friends to the studio and since then never stopped doing photos.

What does photography mean to you?

I live photography and I breathe it all day through, actually everything my eyes see, I see it through a frame.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

Difficult to say it from itself, but people tell me it’s a dramatic kind of fashion-nude photography with a touch of Helmut Newton and a breath of Richard Avedon.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I think actually from everywhere I take it. Everyday life situations, looking how people behave while driving, while sitting on a Terrasse, I am like Marco Valdo in the novel Italo Calvino, I adventure myself into the urban world, historical, classical or modern always hunting the light that caresses the stones, metal or glas of the buildings, and the skin of my Models. Then again from Musicals, Movies, Theaters. The most important source of my inspiration is the ‘Film Noir’ this epical movies in B&W from the 1940’s til the 1960’s. I love ‘clichés’ and I add some exaggerated femininity, lots of drama. I love in my photos the strong self-confident Women, with a lot of sex-appeal and rock’n’Roll attitude, but it happens that I show them sensual or weak.

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

Yes absolutely, I prepare my shoot with moodboards, I choose the theme and the location, I define my team, I let them propose me makeup, hair or styling but then again we decide together. I make a plan to calculate time. But then we all know that during a shoot new inspiration comes, other ideas are tested and then the most important thing that crosses a shoot is the ‘Hazard’ That one makes the shoot perfect.

Studio, on location or both?

I kind of like both but I love to shoot in hard sunlight.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I am a full time professional photographer for more than 3 decades now.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

When you work on the field for more than 30 years, it’s hard to choose because there are too many. Maybe my first ELLE cover in 1995, or my first shoot for L’Oréal Professional in 2014. There was also a shoot in the legendary. Moulin Rouge. Well I could name many more.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

Actually I was working with Nikon from my beginning but when it came to the time of digital Photography I switched to Canon. But I prefer working with Leica or Hasselblad. My favorite lens is a 35mm.

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

Be humble and accept critics from those that can teach you something even if you continue doing it your way. Absorb everything even if in your creative head it doesn’t work out, the day will come that you see they were not completely wrong, it was just another road to take. Learn the light and how it works weather the natural and existing light, available light or studio light. It’s the A and O of photography.

What do you think of our new magazine?

I love the fact that you mix for each one series of photos and interview. Most magazines don’t interview anymore.

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