Interview with French Street Photographer Cedric Roux

(Translation from French to English by Nicholas Goodden)

Cedric, you are a French Street Photographer, tell us a little about you:

I am 32, a French street photographer but with a strong American influence. Indeed I only started shooting 2 years ago but during the last 12 years have filled my mind with photos from American photographers such as Markus Hartel (with whom I was lucky enough to spend 3h with in NYC the week I decided to get into street photography), William Klein, Garry Winogrand, Vivan Mayer, Brian Soko, Helen Levitt, Saul Leiter.

I get my inspiration from looking at people around me in the streets as well as the architecture that draws our cities.

Passionate about artists, I also work with comedians, musicians, singers, dancers, staged or outdoors (album covers or portfolios) and recently had a feature in “Bassiste Magazine” a French music mag.

Bordeaux - The Man.jpg

I see you shoot in all sorts of locations, Paris, New York, London... Which is your favourite?

It's true these are 3 cities that inspire me hugely and I am actually in London in June. Bordeaux is another city I enjoy for street photography as well as Marseille. But saying that, as long as there’s people, and an urban environment, I’m then in my element and my eyes become scanners trying to observe every single person around me, their actions in that moment and all potential photographs around (wall posters, colour patterns...).

I retain a particular affinity for New York as it’s this city and its people which made me want to get into street photography, so much so I have self-published a book about it “Meet The New Yorkers”.

It’s available here until the end of July: http://www.bibliocratie.com/produit/meet-new-yorkers/ 

Most photos I sell are the New York ones although Paris and London ones do have their share of “success”.

Les parisiens.jpg

What's the most important reason you shoot street work?

I think it’s my love and interest in others which got me into it. Behind my lens I capture snippets of life, spontaneously. I listen to my instinct: a colour, a sensation, a detail. I try to extract the extraordinary out of the ordinary. I like to open a dialogue between two universes and with simplicity, capture uncertainty in a lost look or direct eye contact.

I have always loved observing people and walking in the streets of big cities. Since a young age I was aware of what was going on before my very eyes and it’s therefore naturally that I was drawn to this style of photography.

Despite the fact I find my colleague’s landscape photos very pretty, this type of photography doesn’t bring a similar feeling as shooting in the street does.

I like being on the lookout for a situation which mixes subject and environment like the photo below "natural hair".

Marseille - natural hair.jpg

What are your thoughts on post-processing? I know it's a wide subject. I personally have nothing against it, yet I find myself doing less and less of it. How about you?

Post-processing is a wide subject indeed. Personally I work on Lightroom but haven’t yet mastered all its functions. In any case I don’t spend more than 4-5 minute per street photo since it’s about capturing a moment, usually shot in urgency with the defaults it implies (sometimes not straight, badly framed or a bit blurry…)

It is true that for a commission from an artist, I’ll spend more time on post-processing to meet their expectations.

London - Wrong way.jpg

Social Media in photography: Good...bad...don't care?

I am of course an advocate of social media. Personally they have allowed me to get my work seen. These networks bring us visibility that wouldn’t exist otherwise. It however requires time to master it all. When you start to gain exposure, you start asking yourself thousands of questions: Am I posting too much? At the right time of the day?... and the difficulty is in finding the right line of conduct and sticking to it.

NY - final old fella.jpg

Do you ever shoot on film? 

No, I shoot digital. I used to take casual holiday snaps on film cameras as a teenager.

NYC - Shadow & light, tai chi & music.jpg
Paris - Real Photobooth .jpg

Ever got in trouble shooting in the street? 

I’m lucky that so far I’ve never had issues. Firstly, because few people catch me doing it. I must have had a look of disapproval 3 times in 2 years.

I do however often get people looking curiously at my lens probably asking themselves if I am shooting them or not. But I guess they eventually guess I wouldn’t and just hold my camera this way, it’s that kind of behaviour that allows me to get shots with the best expressions.

My technique implies certain facial expressions. When I find an interesting subject, I look at them straight in the eyes, which in turn makes them stare at me and forget the camera I usually hold at hip level. 

Paris - Believe.jpg

Finally, what would be your advice to someone wanting to get into photography?

Be curious, open to others as well as the environment that surrounds you. Repeated colours, people with a striking style, etc... All that can cross your field of vision.

And don't be worried about looking crazy when you walk with someone, indeed my friends always comment on my eyes analysing any situation or person that cross my path..

 

Thanks very much Cedric!


Find Cedric Roux through his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CEDRICROUXPHOTOGRAPHER or his website (less updates though) http://cedricroux.wix.com/photos.

Also follow him on Twitter!