We commissioned photographer Viktor Vauthier to create a set of images exploring the streets of Paris with our Beoplay H4 headphones. We met with him on the eve of the exhibition to discuss his creative process, artistic origins and how spontaneity is built into his work.
Analogue to digital and back again
“I don’t use modern equipment and new technology. It’s not that I don’t like it…” Viktor Vauthier is sitting in a Paris art gallery, surrounded by hundreds of photographs that he’s taken over the past decade. He’s telling us about the intimate connection he has with his specific creative tool, an analogue stills film camera from the 1990s that he’s used to shoot street life, fashion and culture for over the last decade. Why, in our digital age, go back to old fashioned film? “It comes from being able to freestyle the image, while at the same time not having to do the edit. All of my photos have zero photoshop.” It’s not only about that spontaneity for Viktor, it’s also about the feel, “Everything looks more timeless… you wouldn’t know if it was in the 1970s, the 90s or today.”
How it all begins
On his creative beginnings, Viktor cites skateboarding culture – “If you are a skateboarder, you are such a great artist already… It’s sport, it’s fashion, it’s art” – but the galvanizing moment was finding an old shoebox of 35mm photographs that his father had taken. “They were from the 1960s or 70s… they were like really close to you and in-the-moment… I knew this was something that I wanted to be doing. This could become a way to tell my story and my memories.”
Do the opposite
Viktor’s photographs are so in the moment and intimate, it can be difficult to discern between his personal work and the work he’s done for different fashion houses and brands, such as Off-White, Gucci, Bianca Chandon, Vogue Russia and others. The way he describes his approach is via a story about working with artist and designer Virgil Abloh. “He says that I’m anti-fashion. I’m the opposite of what is supposed to happen. For example, today’s photographers they like digital, with the blue and red light meeting and with a certain texture. I would go opposite of this. He said to me that what he loves is that you never know what will happen.”
Stay in the moment
We ask him how his style of shooting has changed over the years, and though there are visible developments and refinements, he’s more concerned with the present moment, and how that runs through all his work. “All these photos are shot the same way – the same way as the first time my dad gave me his film camera. They are shot spontaneously… Each photo makes me remember something. Each makes me remember a moment.”
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