“When I look at magazines now, I see that the new generation of photographers has no style at all, I guess magazines don’t have art directors anymore,” says photographer Thierry Le Gouès to the Phoblographer in an interview. “In the 90‘s I had the chance to work for Conde Nast group, they send me all over the world to shoot fashion stories. They gave me so much freedom to develop my style; I was shooting a lot in black and white at the time; we had no mood board we had to create our own style.” Shocking as it may seem to some, Thierry speaks from the heart about the work that he’s done over the years — and he has the portfolio to back him up. In fact, a new book of his profiles many of his iconic images.
All images by Thierry Le Gouès. Used with permission. Check out his website. To purchase the book, head over to Powerhouse Books. This interview has been modified slightly for grammatical corrections.
Table of Contents
How Thierry Le Gouès Got into Photography
Thierry got into photography at a very young age. In fact, the story of how he did is a pretty straightforward one. “I first got into photography at the age of 13, I won my first camera at a scooter race,” he tells us. The camera was a Kodak Instamatic. With that the hunger to shoot photos continued to be satiated by him. These days though, he shoots both film and digital. He switches between a Hasselblad 500 series camera when he’s in a studio or on a location. He pairs this with either film or digital backs. But when he shoots digital, he’s using a Canon 5D Mk IV.
He’s used these cameras on various projects of his. When asked about some of his favorite projects, Thierry references some of his books. The book Soul is dedicated to black female models and contains various artistic nudes shot in a studio. He even calls it an iconic book. Another book, Popular, was done when he spent three years in Havana.
Thierry tells us that a lot of his best images happen because of happy accidents.
On His Work
Thierry Le Gouès has shot a bunch of iconic images that you’ve seen over the years. If you grew up in the 90s, you’ll recognize many of his images. The ideas are things that have given way to influencing various other photographers over the years. Part of what makes his work so unique too are the trends that happened in the 90s. There’s a holistic je ne sais quoi about the photos that screams about things like experimentation, shock value, and cross-processing with vivid colors that we’d seen in music videos and images alike.
Of course, a photographer like Thierry Le Gouès that didn’t use mood boards has thoughts about AI imagery. Specifically, he’s not interested in them. “…there is nothing like the creativity or emotion between a model and a photographer that can compete with a computer, the work on lighting, composition, complicity with your model…” he states. He strongly believes that a computer cannot give you happy accidents and surprises that bring a smile to your face. For him, that’s part of the magic of photography.
However, he thinks that AI imagery could be good for eCommerce. But still, photography to him is all about the process of making the great photos he has.