Can you introduce yourself briefly?
I’m 42, married, father of two young boys. Lover of and participant in outdoor sporting activities. I am a lawyer, educator of adolescents in difficulty and author-photographer. Rather quiet, which is in my opinion an asset for a photographer.
What were the milestones in your learning photography?
I started photography at the age of 10 with a small camera which was lent to me. At 14, I worked to buy my first film SLR and 50mm lens. I met a pro who ran a photography club. He taught me the rigors of framing and processing photos in a lab, it was very educational. Film requires a specific exposure based on the result that you want to get on the paper, and I have kept in digital photography the habits I acquired with film. At 18, I started to exhibit (dance and concerts). I did quite a few years of education and photography followed me in my travels and my sporting activity turned towards outdoor sports (climbing, mountain biking, …). I was slow to go digital, the rendering does not suit me. In 2010, I had the opportunity to purchase a pro full frame camera and the feeling came back. I had some publications and Serge Corre, boss of the Agency Andia Photo contacted me to join their team. This made me decide to change status and in 2014, I turned pro. However, I have kept my job as an educator, that allows me to focus on my projects and commissions that match my vision of photography.
When did you get interested in paragliding photography and especially aerobatic paragliding?
For 4 years, I have regularly taken images with top level base jumper friends, many of whom also practice paragliding and speed riding. Early 2014, I was contacted to take images in Iran. The project was to make images in exceptional spots throughout the country. I needed to train and I asked Vincent Descols (wingsuiter) if he knew any pilots interested in the project. He put me in touch with Martin Schricke and with him I discovered the world of acro.
Who are the photographers that inspire you?
These are not necessarily sports photographers, but their view brings me a lot in my graphical approach to extreme sports images, I’m thinking of Sebastiao Salgado for his humanistic approach to photography, Robert Capa for his proximity to his subject, I am trying in my approach to be as close as possible to the subject, even in extreme and engaged sports.
What equipment do you use?
I use pro full frame digital cameras (24×36) and lenses ranging from ultra wide angle to 300mm.
Do you have a memory of a shoot that you would like to share with us?
During a shoot, Eliot or Martin were doing infinite tumbles, and during one of them my tandem pilot wanted to keep me close to them by engaging sharp turns. I was not expecting it and so fast; I was soon having difficulty in concentrating on shooting.
Have you specific tips or advice for taking pictures of aerobatic paragliding?
This is not unique to aerobatics, but I only work in daylight and I never use external flash (except when shooting night images, like I did with a team of BMX racers where I needed the subject to be lit while retaining the night-time atmosphere). The flash of light freezes the scene. I prefer to wait for the right light or accurately measure exposure. Next, you have to be focused on the movements of the pilot, seeking to capture the highlights of his performance while giving the reader some clue for him to feel, through the image, the action that unfolds before him. It’s not always easy when one is hooked under a tandem paraglider and you don’t control the changes of direction.
Finally, it is important to understand the point of the sport and get interested in the pilots as individuals to be able to capture the spirit of each activity.
You’re a photographer primarily of outdoor activities. Can you tell us of the special relationship that you have with these activities?
I have always practiced outdoor sports activities (mountain bike raids, climbing, mountaineering) and I admire seeing how the limits are pushed back at the highest level. I have the chance to link my sports to my passion for photography.
What are your plans or ideas for 2016?
The big project for this year would be to succeed in mixing photography, base jumping and paragliding. The session is on track and it remains to find common dates for all participants. We expected to do it two years ago, but the day before, one of our friends had an accident.
The final word
Thank you for this shared moment together and I wish you all the best for the 2016 Acro World Cup.
Internet links, website or specific gallery:
It is possible to see or to follow some of my projects on my personal website: www.philippeperie.com and Aerobatic paragliding portfolio
and my link to www.facebook.com/philippeperiephotographies
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Contact: Flore Magnier contact(at)wpac-annecy-2016.com