For more than 20 years Christophe Brionnaud has put in time at a construction company. Because according to him, “It is very difficult to make a living from your art in France.” But despite not being able to make a living off of his photography, he’s making it work for him as an amazing pastime. With some award-winning shots under his belt, Christophe Brionnaud is looking forward to what’s to come, or rather develop for him.
Kendra: When you say you started in 2012, does that mean you started the business or that is when you first picked up photography? Because if that is when you started taking pictures, I am amazed. Your work is beautiful.
Christophe Brionnaud: Before 2012, I knew absolutely nothing about photography. I bought my first DSLR that year. Then for the next four-five years I focused on technique and learning and understanding parameters. I wanted to totally master the creation of a photograph in the most difficult conditions. So I learned by myself by documenting myself, following other photographers to understand the different techniques, and then evolve in my own style.
Kendra: Do you often travel for your photography or do you like to stay local to France as much as you can?
Christophe Brionnaud: At the moment, I am not traveling outside my country to practice photography. If the opportunity presented itself I would not hesitate. Our planet offers us so many beautiful things to photograph!
Kendra: Although the images of wildlife that we rarely see up close are amazing, I must admit that your image of the two snails was my favorite. They are some of my favorite creatures. What made you fall for that one in particular?
Christophe Brionnaud: This photo is very important to me too. It allowed me to win second prize in a photo contest organized in my region with more than 40 photographers. The big winners will remain these two little snails. They offered me this magnificent show that I was able to immortalize!
Kendra: Something I love about your pictures is the lighting. They almost look like paintings. How did you develop that overall style because I feel like I could spot your pictures anywhere now.
Christophe Brionnaud: I like to mix ambient light with added light (flashes, reflectors) which allows me to create beautiful atmospheres. With time I have completely excluded automatic modes. I only work in manual mode, flash included, to be able to keep total control of the image to obtain the desired result. I don’t let my camera create the JPG file itself. So I work in RAW format and I develop the JPG file myself in post-processing to bring my personal touch. With photography being an art, I think there are no rules, it is only the result that counts.
Kendra: France doesn’t just offer nature but great architecture. Besides the usual suspects like the Eiffel Tower, what are some not so well known buildings that you feel deserve more love and attention around France?
Christophe Brionnaud: France offers us very beautiful villages like Collonges la rouge as well as magnificent castles like the castle of Versailles, the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel and many others, cathedrals like Notre-Dame de Paris, bridges like the Pont du Gard, viaducts, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the Nîmes arenas and much more. There are really many beautiful buildings to see in France.
Kendra: What are you doing with your photography in the coming months? Working on anything we should keep an eye out for?
Christophe Brionnaud: I will continue to try to create beautiful photos for the pleasure of the eyes; then offer them for sale. I already do so on different media, paper prints, aluminum, plexiglass, limited editions, calendars. My photos will be visible on my website, Facebook, Instagram, and on the different platforms that exhibit and sell my work.