Travel as ultimate freedom…Aurélien Buttin

Edited by Odeta Catana, photography editor

Flickr Aurélien Buttin

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Could you please tell us a little more about yourself? Where do you live?

I’m a French photographer of 28 years old. Now, photography is just my free time occupation until I finish my studies in geography. After this I would like do photography all days long. I live in Amiens, in the north of France. It’s a city between Paris and Belgium. It’s a great city, not too big and not too small either, and with a good location. By car you are at less than 5 hours of London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and the sea. I always lived here but I try to travel as often as possible for change my mind and taking pictures. I consider the travel like the ultimate freedom, it’s learning to live.

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How did you start taking pictures? Usually there is always the old story of the boy who finds his grandfather’s camera, did that happen to you as well or not?

Not exactly. I remember, when I was a child, my mother used to buy me a disposable camera every months for take photos of everything I want, and that was awesome. After this she stopped, I don’t know why, I think that I had other teenager priorities and there is three years ago, after ten years, I started photography again and it was during a travel around eastern Europe. I had the camera in my hands and I just realized that I want to shoot everything! So no, I never found a camera in my grandfather’s house, I’m not even sure that there has been one down his house! Just my mother knew that I liked it; she knew it more than me. For my part, I know it since few years, I rediscovered myself, and now I cannot be separated from my camera anymore. Photography is like stop the time and catch it, capture a unique moment and freeze it forever.  I mean, this is really attractive, the memories go, not the photos.

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Where does your inspiration comes from?

I don’t know, it depends of my mood. One thing is certain; I don’t like to spend too much time in the photo’s websites or magazines. I prefer go out and watching around by myself and try to imagine what can be a photography. About the inspiration, it’s my friends, their life, their style, their own particularity. I mean, the world is an inspiration, everybody is an inspiration. When I meet somebody I imagine a photo with this person and I have to find the place, the adequate environment for freeze it. And when I find a nice place I immediately think of a person in particular, or if I don’t have this person I need to find it. Every person, every place is a photo, more or less interesting of course. If you look with your child’s eyes, the life is a photo. I’m sure that everybody can take a good photo of everything.

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In a portrait, what is important for you?

What is important in a portrait this is not the portrait itself. It’s every element around the portrait. A portrait close up is beautiful, but I’m not interested. I like when there is something more around the subject like a landscape, furniture, an unusual place or when people do something, but not just a raw face. For example, I cannot imagine me make a shooting in a studio, it makes beautiful photos but there is not enough content. The expression on the face of the subject, if there is one, is important, and the scenery helps us to understand it.

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What kind of relationship do you have with your subject when you shoot?

It depends. The peoples that I shoot are not all the time my friends, sometimes yes, and sometimes they’re just people in the street that I never saw before and that I’ll never see anymore.

I prefer meet the person first for discuss about nothing in particular, just talking to get comfortable. And after this, taking photos is easier, the shoot is by itself. It’s more relaxed. For the others I just shoot those in the street without asking permission, it’s important for have people naturally in their middle. And when some of them see me, they are most of the time curious, like me in fact, and they pose. I’m too much shy for going spontaneously to the people, so sometimes it’s a good thing.

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Do you think it’s important to follow a school to learn how to shoot?

No. Never let anyone tell you what you have to do. Photography is not a science, it’s a feeling. The teachers always guide you on their way and it’s not good for the creativity. I learned by my own and I’m proud of this. But of course have a degree in a good photo school is always better for find a job.

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What’s the photo you want to take and you never did?

All the pictures that I stupidly missed… You know, when you go out without your camera because you are tired, lazy without motivation, or just because you say to yourself “I’ve already been there, there is nothing interesting, and it’s useless to bring the camera…” it’s often in this case that you miss something good…

For example, there two months ago I was in Indonesia, and at the end of the garden there was a military airport where I could go, I mean, unofficially, but it was ok. Just five minutes’ walk through the garden, no gates, and I passed from the grass to the runway. So, I wanted to take a photo of my girlfriend just after the plane took off you know, kneeling on the runway, looking the big plane rising in the sky. But every day I said “let’s do this tomorrow!”, and I never did…

Or the last month, in Albania, at 7 am I went buy cigarettes at 500 meters from my place and I thought that I don’t need my camera for this. On the way, at the corner of the street, I saw two old men discuss, one of them with Kalashnikov over the shoulder. I speed straight to my place, I run back with the camera, they were gone… Tough life…

So this is a sample of the photo I want to take and I never did.

 

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What’s your photo-mission?

It’s a hard question. I think that I haven’t a real “photo mission”, I just shoot and I’ll see what happen. So if I must answer I’ll say, be happy.

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