Profile of the Month: Paris Photographer Louis Teran in Focus
Louis Teran is a Paris based photographer, filmmaker and musician. Having learned his craft alongside luminary Jean Baptiste Mondino, he’s worked with Vogue Italie, Figaro Madame, Rolling Stone, L’Oreal and Taittinger, among others. But far more intriguing are his own incredibly raw, intimate and compelling portraits (if you’re of a decent age, and feeling brazen, you should check out his series “The Fall," set to grace the walls of an unconfirmed Parisian gallery early next year).
We talked to Louis about his work, his inspirations and his hopes for global salvation.
Let's talk a little about your main independent work, “You and I”, a series of portraits with a wide and varied assembly of characters. Who are the people you photograph? What draws you to them?
The aim behind “You and I” is to glean something of a person’s real essence by visual means. My subjects can be people I meet in the street, strangers on Facebook, friends. The people I am drawn to are the ones whose outward facades crack with the whispers of secrets and memories. Then, at the right moment, it’s all about trying to capture all that life on their faces - if they let me. It’s a trust thing. We work together.
There's something very intimate and exposing about a lot of these shots. How did you get your subjects to open up like that?
You know, I’ve always been curious about people’s private lives: to know what they eat, what’s in their fridge, whom they sleep with, and where; to see the way they organize their own space, to know what their secret habits and rituals are … it fascinates me.
Consciously or unconsciously, my subjects are all the co-authors of the process. Once the camera disappears, an intimacy grows between us: they let me in, they become vulnerable, and from then it’s like being swallowed in kind of a flow of intense energy I can’t explain with words. Their desires and insecurities become mine, and we fuse together in a miraculous alchemy.
But when it doesn’t work, I feel really terrible and responsible.
How has your style changed over the years?
My style got a bit more radical over the last two years. I’m very much influenced by the expressionist movement, especially its painting and cinema. I’ve been trying to recreate the way the people and objects in these paintings and movies take on this incredible relief effect…
I’m still working on it.
Whom have you learnt the most from?
I have learnt the most from Edward Hopper, Francis Bacon, Tamara de Lempicka, Alfred Stieglitz, Wong Kar Wai, Fritz Lang, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Robert Wiene, and many others of course.
Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?
I would love to photograph Natalie Portman as a figure in some Balthus paintings. She has kept something of her childhood, which touches me a lot. Innocence is a theme I’m very much attached to.
Unfortunately Anna Magnani is dead.
You also play guitar in your band Clownage. How does your love of music align with your photography?
I’ve always thought that any form of creation starts from the same primitive point. Art, photography, film, music – they’re born of the same seed, I think. They just grow differently. Music — and playing in a band — has been so hard that sometimes I can’t believe I still give so much energy to it. But it means a lot to me.
Pearl Jam has been the emotional base for a lot of things in my life. I've always seen the band, and lead singer Eddie Vedder especially, as a symbol of emancipation, freedom, strength, sincerity… all the qualities I hold dear. That influences my sensitivity too, of course.
What are your dreams for the future?
I do have one actually. I hope Earth will receive some significant contact, whatever it is, from space. Firstly, because I’m 100% sure we’re not the only intelligent species in this gigantic universe; secondly, because I feel that now, more than ever, human species needs a serious paradigm shift. New ideas and influences from another form of intelligence would enforce that. As it stands we’re causing this planet so much pain.
Check out more of Louis’ work on his MINI Space profile, VampYr, and get registered yourself (if you haven't already) to begin building your own creative portfolio!
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