Patrick La Roque
I’ve always envied photographers with a very clear sense of who they are and what they do. For some reason, my work has constantly mutated from one year to the next, slightly changing focus every time I’ve tried to pin it down. I’ve come to accept digression as a rule in life. The upside is variety and a chance to explore different areas of photography. But it makes portfolio-building very hard to figure out: which category is most representative? Is it portraiture? Commercial photography? Interiors? Street? Or is it personal, sometimes intimate work—images I’ve also been sharing for years now—that defines who I am? The truth is I don’t know. But perhaps that’s the point: to accept all of it, every subject matter—work or personal—as equally important.
As for singling out favourites: I could choose five or ten or a hundred pictures and it still wouldn’t feel right. So here’s a few I’m proud of, most of them work-related to avoid opening a Pandora’s Box of private moments. Images that simply felt like tentative steps forward.
These two images are from the very first job I shot with the GFX 50S, about a week after I purchased it. I set the camera to RAW+Super Fine and used one of my customized “pushed” version of the ACROS film simulation. I began by placing a single strobe in a small soft box and clearly remember the thrill I felt after a few tests shots, looking at those black and white frames on the LCD. This first image I chose certainly isn’t perfect, but I love its mood, the guitarist’s head tilting back as he exhales cigarette smoke. I admit to having the great Anton Corbijn on my mind at the time…not that I’d dare comparing my results to his work. But sometimes a private reference can conjure up the right frame of thought in the field. We used mirrors on the second picture…still just one light.
From sketch to frame
This is the last image I shot on a 3-day gig for DentsuBos and Lexus Canada. Essentially, I’m happy it came together: this started out as a hand drawn sketch that I pitched as an idea to the project’s art director. The camera was fixed to a tripod, each car positioned according to the proposed layout; we then had someone drive the third car across the frame. Yes, we did a few takes to figure out the proper speed (car AND camera shutter)…but there was still more time spent on preparation then on actual shooting—once everything was set, the capture pretty much became a formality.
A conference room in Stockholm
I was on assignment in Stockholm covering the launch of a new Profoto product, and on our last day we were given a tour of the company’s headquarters. This image was shot during a briefing in a very banal, neon-lit conference room. Dropping the exposure intensified the shadows cast by the modifiers hanging on the wall, transforming audience members into a sort of natural frame and creating a much more interesting—and dramatic—mood. It’s always amazing to me: how we can bend reality and reveal an entirely new layer, just with a few simple decisions in the field. I used “pushed” ACROS again here: which means I was actively seeing this high contrast image in the EVF. No guesswork and much more inspiring.
One last image: it was part of an essay for an ongoing collaborative project called KAGE Collective. I had a very dark, specific ambience in mind for this series. Most of the pictures are fragmented and more or less abstract, but this one takes it further—the movement emphasizing the painterly look I was aiming for. Shot with one strobe, in a bedroom.
Read more on “Personal Best”
Vol.1- Flemming Bo Jensen
Vol.2- Pieter D’Hoop
Vol.3- Santiago Escobar-Jarmillo
Vol.4- Stefan Finger
Vol.5- Xyza Cruz Bacani
Vol.6- Christian Bobst
Vol.7- Tomasz Lazar
Vol.8- Eamonn McCarthy
Vol.9- Faruk Akbaş
Vol.10- Kevin Mullins