I’ve been a fan of Renoux on DeviantArt for a long time: His style of strongly emotive nude photography always appealed to me strongly. Playful, and with levels of nudity ranging from regular portraits to borderline pornography, he manages to capture the essence of the human body in a way that is quite unlike any other photographer I have come across.
I had a chat with Pascal Renoux, to find out what drives him…
Depending on your work, this article might not be safe for work.
The notion of emotive nudes itself is something you rarely find: You often get people expressing emotions in photography, and nude photography are a tuppence a dozen all over the internet. The combination is rare, and people who can pull it off well are even further between.
Pascal Renoux is 45 years old, and started to take photographs in is late teens. The interesting twist? There is a 15-year hiatus in his work, where he worked primarily with painting and drawing. About 4 years ago he re-visited photography again, and has since started producing an impressive catalog of mind-bendingly good photographs.
When you see his photos, you’d be forgiven to think he is a professional photographer, but the equipment he uses would dictate otherwise. “Actually”, he admits, “I only have a Sony DSC-R1 and a light reflector”. Granted, as far as non-SLR cameras go, the R1 is one of the best choices on the market, but it is inspirational to see that Pascal creates his artwork with technology which is financially available to all digital photographers.
“I’ve been working with photography professionally since the beginning of 2007″, Pascal says, and explains that financially, it hasn’t been a dance on roses. Photography “is rather complicated, but filled with enthusiasm.”
“Above all, I am interested in portrait photography”, Pascal explains. In fact, he makes the important distinction that al his people-photography are portraits. “The face is the most important element of a photograph – doubly so for nude photos”.
In portraiture, one of the most important elements is to connect well with the model. “A lot of preparation goes into a shoot”, Pascal says, “I often e-mail back and forth with the model before a session, and we collaborate on the type of images we take. In particular, I am interested to hear from my models about the photographs they would like to see, and what they want to get out of a photography session.”
Despite preparation, it is never easy to tell how well you connect with a model. “I don’t know why or how, but there is always some form of bond between the model and myself”, Pascal muses. “After all, there is a complicity between us, and we have a common goal: to make the best photographs possible. To do so, I always seek out a tranquil environment to take photos in, it helps relaxing the model, and creates a friendly atmosphere. Then we take it from there”.
The ambition for his nude portraits is always the same. “My goal is to make images that are dynamic and have a capability of moving you. I find the human body to be beautiful, and I have discovered that nudes have a potential to express strong emotions that range well beyond the sensual aspect that is most common for this type of photography”.
“I do use a studio to take my photos”, Pascal says, “but I only use natural light, usually in the morning. I do use reflectors to guide the light where I want it to go, but flashes and artificial lights? None of that”.
Personally, I take a lot of inspiration from Pascal’s work – so where does he go for his? “I am fond of many photographers, and at some time or another, they all inspire me. Particular favourites are Mona Kuhn, Sally Mann, Sarah Moon, Toni Catany, Jock Sturges or Keith Carter”, he says, and hints that if you want to find out more about these photographers, you should tap up his photo blog on artphotoblog.net.
All photos © Pascal Renoux. This interview was conducted in French, which isn’t a language I’m particularly fluent in, so I’ve taken some minor liberties in its translation.
Do you enjoy a smattering of random photography links? Well, squire, I welcome thee to join me on Twitter - Follow @Photocritic