“I seriously feel naked without my camera.” – Vanessa Dubois
Today you can’t scroll five minutes without seeing a photo that has been through the filter Olympics. Of course, people doing that are typically your friends and family looking to make their life seem more than picture-perfect, and not professionals like Vanessa Dubois of Xpozd Photography. See, Vanessa believes in letting the natural elements of the people she shoots shine brighter than the fancy filters tech has led us to believe we need. We talked about that, the wonders of digital, and her time shooting some of the best drag queens out there.
Kendra: Photography has been a passion of yours for what seems to be your entire life. Was there ever a moment though that you may have been steered in another direction?
Vanessa Dubois: To be honest, I have been questioning people and situations in my life but never my passion for photography. I am involved in a lot of things and photography seems to be the most consistent subject in my life. I can always find an excuse to capture moments. Photography has become my comfort zone, my safety blanket. I like to experience life through my lens.
Kendra: When you made the switch from film to digital a decade or so ago, what was something you initially missed about developing film and what is one thing you found perfect about digital?
Vanessa Dubois: I never developed my own film so I never got to miss that part. Switching to digital allowed me to grow stronger as a photographer. I guess I have always had an eye to capture my subject but as a self-taught photographer switching from film to digital has been an amazing way for me to keep improving my skills.
Kendra: From nightlife to events to drag, your shots capture a variety. Where’d you start and do you feel you’ll continue to add to what you shoot?
Vanessa Dubois: I have always been more than willing to shoot anything that people want me to shoot. I photograph weddings, family photoshoots, headshots, corporate events, and pets. When I started on my path with photography I was only shooting dolphins in the wild and people at events. I thought it was just a hobby and nothing more until friends and family started telling me I had a good eye for it.
My skills have developed over the years and what I feel now that makes my art stand out is my life event photography. Capturing performing artists or any sort of events where memories are being created at that specific moment and being able to freeze time and making sure people can relive these moments through my photos is what makes my art special. My next step is to elevate my photography and my art by adding video making and editing.
Kendra: What I love about your style is that you celebrate not only interesting people but natural beauty. In a day and age where filters are the norm, what are your thoughts on people constantly relying on those and hiding who they are in photos?
Vanessa Dubois: I rarely use filters. I only lightly edit some of my photos but most of them are straight out of my camera as I believe in real and natural beauty. To be honest, anyone can edit/photoshop/filter photos and make a stunning image. My photos are beautiful not because of filters but because of the subjects I capture. Their emotions are raw, their stories are real and that is what makes them interesting and bold. Life is not perfect, photography and the content shouldn’t be either. I try to capture moments when you are YOU, vulnerable and real.
Kendra: Swinging back to the interesting people, you shoot a lot of Drag Queens. Which, love! Who do you feel in your local Drag Scene is doing next-level things in terms of looks and aesthetic – from a photography standpoint?
Vanessa Dubois: Hands down I have one queen and one king that I love to capture. Kickxy Vixen Styles and Landon Cider. Their art, their personalities, their thinking outside of the box, their visions, their aesthetic and their beauty inside and out make them stars in my eyes. And I couldn’t be more honored to call them friends.
Kendra: As we head deeper into 2019, what do you have going on with your photography?
Vanessa Dubois: Well, 2019 has been a tough year so far personally while dealing with my dad’s passing. He was my first inspiration to become a photographer. But photography has been my savior. Werk…werk…werk..you better werk as Rupaul would say! I can’t complain. I have been making amazing connections. I hope it leads to more professional growth opportunities and fun and happy memories. I hope to travel further and hope to collaborate with even more beautiful people.