Telling Stories & Developing a Personal Style
(light techno music) (camera shutter clicks)
Story. I think stories rule. And they always have ruled. Since the beginning of the days we've been learning through stories. And this hasn't changed. So, being able to pick up a camera nowadays and get a message across through a story that isn't falling in in front of the lens is super powerful. So, how do I integrate stories? So how do I shoot stories? Well, I read a lot. That's why I have this pile of magazines here and here. There's a "wilderness" magazine. This is "Sidetracked" magazine. I think it's super important to read as much as you can about things that happen, things that have happened in the past. Someone's story, like a biography because they are so inspiring for what you can do. And at night, while you're sleeping, all these stories you have collected they're working their way and the next thing you know, you come up with your own story. I think stories are special because that's the way we've been learning for the beginnin...
g of ages. In the past, there was no way to write or photograph or paint. So, people would just tell stories to each other. And I think that's super inspiring. So, being able to do that now, in this day and age with cameras is very interesting. I think that if your photos carry the right message, the right story, you can change behavior. I love stories about human-powered adventures. When people go somewhere with a goal. It doesn't have to be a huge goal, just going somewhere and seeing it, for example. And they do that on their own just with their bodies, I think that's fascinating. When it comes to stories I think our generation, millennials that's called, whatever that means, we're pretty skeptical, because we've grown up in ages where there's been a lot of change and we're pretty skeptical and our bullshit meter is pretty sensitive, so, don't try to BS your people. Just tell them the truth and be real. (laughs) I think that stories are more important than skills, because you can learn skills faster than stories. Like being able to tell a story, is an ancient art and it takes a long time to learn that, 'cause you gotta read a lot of stories. That takes a long time. So for me, I always focus on the story and if the execution is not as good, if I don't have the right camera, or the light is not as good, it doesn't matter because the story is always king. So, let's say I'm trying to find a farmer in the Alps. It's not something you find on the Internet. So I'm going to start asking everybody in the village I am about the right person. And it's all about curiosity, how much we can dig. And I don't usually take no for an answer. I'll just ask until I find the right person. So it's a bit obsessive, but it's a good way to find an interesting story. So just by going and asking anybody on the street, "Hey, who is the most interesting person you know?" That will get you close to very good answers. A good exercise to find stories or inspiration is to walk the same street or the same neighborhood at the same time everyday. I remember Henri Cartier-Bresson, is a famous, old photographer, French photographer, say that nature and life is very cyclical. So, if you're walking around and you see this bird fly in a cool pattern next to this beautiful tree. Well, odds are is he's gonna do it again. So if you just wait, that's gonna happen. Or if you see somebody walk by that street and the light's good, just come back the next day and wait for that to happen. There's a lot of patience but it's all repetition. So I find that very inspiring to just walk the same place everyday for a while, until I start seeing it differently and I get inspired. So let's say that you grew up in a farm in Japan, and you don't like farms, and you wanna make a career out of photography, but you don't know what you like yet. That's totally fine. What I would do is that I would just go somewhere else. I would move out of the farm if I don't like the farm, and I would maybe move to the city if I want to be challenged. I would just move to the most challenging place I can find. Either it's a city, or it's a different country, and then, you're mind will explode of how many options there is. So, finding your story through travel, I think, is very important. It's a very good way. That's how I found most of my cues is hitting the road without a purpose until it's sort of unfold right in front of you. You like, "Wow, I really like doing this." "I want to do it more." So, travel is a good way and just challenging yourself. You don't have to go to the opposite side of the world. You can just go to a different city in your same country, or different place in your same country. That's gonna be a big change already. So, same for adventures. You don't have to go thousands of miles away. Just by taking a trip in your own backyard, you'll learn a lot, I think. One other thing that help me to find what I'm about was reinventing myself in different places. So, I grew up in Spain, then we moved to France when I was 15. So I had to start over. You lose all your friends when you're a teenager, that's not fun. But then you realize how quickly you can make new friends. And then after that I moved to Canada. That's where I met Andrea. So I started over again in Quebec in the East Coast. Then after that we moved to Vancouver all over again. So starting over a fresh. Then we moved to L.A. Starting over again. And every one of these moments will teach you something. And you can find out what you're about. So, change and challenging yourself is key. (light techno music)