All images by Laurence Bouchard. Used with permission.
“I like the idea of building up a body of work that’ll exist when I don’t,” says street photographer Laurence Bouchard. And he will certainly be leaving behind a strong body of work. His street photography caught our eye because it’s clean and well-executed. Is it fine art? Is it raw and edgy? Or is it all of the above? Let’s take a look.
Editors Note: All opinions shared in this article are of the photographer and are not representative of The Phoblographer’s views.
Phoblographer: Hey! Tell us about you and how you first got into photography?
Laurence Bouchard: I’m from Bath in the UK and have been living in Tokyo for about 10 years now. I really got into photography when I moved to Tokyo in 2009 and got an iPhone. I joined Instagram and started to realize how good the iPhone camera was. I started following Mimo Khair, Michael Kistler and Brendan Ó Sé and was inspired by the photos they were posting just with their iPhones (back then there was this view that Instagram should be just for mobile photography). Also, being in a new country was very inspirational. Then in 2016, I was approached by Apple to represent Tokyo for their iPhone 7 campaign. That was a lot of fun, and through that, I met more photographers who had a big influence on me. I then invested in a Sony a7rii as I wanted to be able to shoot at night more.
Phoblographer: What does street photography offer that makes you enjoy it so much?
Laurence Bouchard: For me, street photography gave me something that I used to get from futsal (5 a side football). In futsal, like other sports, you are really in the moment and there is something kind of meditative about that. It’s the same with street photography – being in the moment. So in some ways, it’s akin to a sport.
Phoblographer: What does street photography teach you about life and the world we live in?
Laurence Bouchard: It teaches me to observe – particularly light and people. It teaches me to be patient and to get used to disappointment. The number of times I’ve gone somewhere to take photos but the weather wasn’t right etc. It also teaches me to take advantage of a good situation when it arises and to think outside the box and try new things, and I can apply that to life—question everything.
And you can also apply that to what’s happening right now with the useless PCR tests driving forward this plandemic that is engulfing the world. And psychopaths like Bill Gates openly speaking about depopulation via vaccines on Ted Talks and now he’s pushing for the whole planet to be vaccinated with experimental, untested vaccines. The world is in a crazy space right now.
Phoblographer: I know you shoot with mirrorless and smartphone. What’s your setup and how do you decide which camera you want to use?
Laurence Bouchard: I shoot a lot more with the Sony these days, although I still like to take a few iPhone shots and compare them later. Sometimes I’ll get home and prefer the iPhone shots. In the daytime, I like to shoot with the Sony and the 16-35mm. At night I only shoot with the Sony and I use primes like the 24mm, 55mm and 85mm.
Phoblographer: On your Instagram, I only see black and white photography. Yet on your Facebook, I see splashes of color. Why is that?
Laurence Bouchard: Well, I noticed on Instagram that there wasn’t so much growth when I posted color photos, so I decided to make a separate color account for that. Maybe it is due to the algorithm. It’s clear that if you deviate from a photography narrative on Instagram, it’s not rewarded, which is frustrating. Other platforms seem to be more accepting of variation. Followers on Flickr seem to be a lot more open to variation.
Phoblographer: Allowing you to critique yourself, what improvements would you like to make?
Laurence Bouchard: Mainly technical improvements. I hate manuals, but I know there are a lot of functions my camera has that might make shooting easier. Also, I would like to shoot different subjects more often.
Phoblographer: You also run workshops. What can a photographer expect if they sign up for one?
Laurence Bouchard: The workshop is called ‘Urban Geometry’ and here is a snippet from the homepage:
“Locating ideal subjects for such a specific style of street photography is half the battle. You’ll be taken to ideal spots for creating high-contrast monochrome images and coached on the ideal settings for creating the iconic effect. Feedback on composition, framing, and timing will also help you produce photographs that capture decisive moments in the streets.”
Also, here’s a link in case any readers find themselves in Tokyo in the future.
Phoblographer: In terms of current, active street photographers, whose work do you admire right now?
Laurence Bouchard: I really like the work of Christophe Jacrot and Vlad (storysofar). And there are so many others – too many to list here.
Phoblographer: What are your current goals with photography?
Laurence Bouchard: Current goals are to get my website finished. Also, try to file away the ever-expanding archive – that’s something I’d really like to get on top of! And that’s not even taking into account the amount of photos on my phone.
Phoblographer: And what are your long term goals?
Laurence Bouchard: Well, I’ve been approached about putting a book together and that’s something I’m really interested in doing.
You can enjoy more work by Laurence by visiting his Instagram.