Florent Petitfrere: Journey from a model to a fashion photographer
A picture is worth a thousand words. This probably means more to Florent Petitfrere than most of us. I met this upcoming french photographer a while ago in Hong Kong through a friend’s introduction. It comes to probably most of us to pop the question when firstly meeting Petitfrere, “Were you a model?”. Yet, behind the charming appearance, Petitfrere shows us all his true passion and profession in photography through his own eye of art and experience in life. It was a long way to journey from in-front-of-the-camera to behind-the-camera. A picture, for Petitfrere, is worth definitely more than a thousand words – it is his whole world.
I have always been attracted by the photography universe; I always had a fascination for those peoples who are able to manipulate the ordinary things and creating with them an unique universe. Since I was doing modeling for many years, I had the chance to see the complete shooting process, from the casting to the final printed picture. For many months, I kept thinking if I should get a camera, if I could be talented enough to bring something else that what the other photographers were doing, this was quite a huge challenge and still one. One day I woke up and I knew I had to give it a chance. So I bought my first camera and since then there is no one single day where I'm not thinking photography and how to improve my skill - it's like a real obsession.
2. You started as a fashion model before becoming a photographer. What makes such a change?
Being a model was really helpful. With that experience you understand more the link between the photographer and the model, you also know better how to direct them and get more quickly the result you are looking for.
I obviously like more being behind the camera. To me modeling was a good way to travel a lot and make easy money, nothing else. Being a photographer is an everyday challenge. This is a subtle mix between hard work and pleasure. It looks simple at first, but the more you are getting into it, the more you see all the little elements you have to control to make your pictures better. Basically what I love is that the fact that perfect picture doesn't exist because at the end it's a matter of 'taste and color'. But for some absurd reason, you are still working hard to try to reach the perfection.
4. How do you describe your photography style?
I'm definitely fashion oriented. I try to create pictures with a real composition and mood, trying to bring up something different that what people are use to see but without being a complete marginal. I'm fighting against the mainstream and the easy pictures, even though I know my work will be appreciated by less people. Nowadays for many people, a good picture is a picture showing half naked girls or guys and I thinks that's a shame, but same goes for the mainstream music, movies and etc… so I'm trying to express my opinion through my work.
Well I think because it gives a better understanding of the picture, making it intemperate and un-linked to the everyday reality.
6. Why do you choose to be based in Hong Kong? How do you see this city?
It's my third time in Hong Kong. I had the chance to travel quite a lot, and at some point I realized Hong Kong was the best city I've been to regarding the diversity of things you can do. You work really hard but once you finish, you can be at the beach or the mountain in 20-minute ride. How cool is that ? Without mentioning the great nightlife, the cheep flight to Thailand, Philippines etc.
7. How do you see yourself in ten years?
I have no precise idea and I'm happy with that!
Learn more about Petitfere's photography here
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