François Ollivier’s Collection of Night Self-Portraits is a Mood Study

All images by François Ollivier. Used with Creative Commons permission.

We’re familiar with color studies and pattern experiments, but how often do we see mood studies? We think a collection of self-portraits shot at night by François Ollivier is precisely that: an assemblage of moods that he used either as a guide for his series, or as a way for him to immerse into the scenes he creates. If you’re thinking of doing a self-portrait project, this set could very well inspire you.

Last time we checked out the portfolio of Quebec-based Ollivier, we had a great time tagging along his “weird” travel photos. Further back, we also saw his exploration into memory and the details that it sometimes fails to recreate and remind us of. This time, we’re can look at his Self-portraits at night as a straightforward body of work which he took between 2014 to 2017. Or, we can also take notice of the different moods conveyed in each photo.

There’s a cinematic touch with an obvious emphasis on colors, light, shapes, and patterns. It’s in the location, in the way the scenes were lit, and in the variety of poses he did. Each photo is like a capsule visual story telling us of Ollivier’s adventures, from the most mundane walks in lonely spaces around town, to the most intriguing and picturesque locations outside the city. All these show us the power of setting the mood.

A quick prowl around his Behance portfolio reveals that these self-portraits fit into bigger visual narratives, and therefore more specific moods. There’s C’est la nuit, for example, which looks like a fun and laid-back night photo walk around the city. Journey, journée, meanwhile, gives off a mood of adventure — which is fitting as the series is actually a chronicle of “souvenirs, beauties, lights and moments” from a road trip from France to Portugal through Spain.

Check out François Ollivier’s website and Behance portfolio to see the rest of his projects.