Photography: Yann Faucher

November 30 2014

Yann Faucher is the kind of uncompromising, unyielding artist that seems to come along less and less frequently. He left a promising career in the sciences for the uncertain path of a photographer, and jumped ship on a lark for London with no contacts and minimal possessions. He works hard to support his photography, mostly earning money elsewhere in order to avoid making photo work he doesn’t feel passionately about. He uses hardy, well-worn equipment, steadfastly insisting that quality of imagery has little to do with a photographer’s kit—an assertion more than legitimised by the quality of his own work. He experiments, tests and pushes, even claiming to have hacked an alternative film scanning technique that out-resolves a drum scanner.

Of his work, It’s Nice That’s Maisie Skidmore said earlier this year:

Yann Faucher’s website is full of polished, carefully constructed images for fashion editorials – crisp, clean and multi-layered, they ooze the kind of feeling he is known for and commissioned to create. And it’s very beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but over on his Tumblr the overriding aesthetic is one of rawness, and somehow that’s far more exciting. 

Kudos, also, to Yann for being the only It’s Nice That headline post we can think of that was deemed NSFW. He collaborates with a long list of high-cred indies such as SSAW and Wonderland, and most recently shot Adrian Shaugnessy and Tony Brook at Spin‘s London studio for the current issue of Human Being Journal. Last week, we wrote Yann to say hello and he was nice enough to share some work and a little banter.

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How do you take your coffee?
Always black, no sugar, no milk.

What’s your favourite sandwich?
I am versatile, but it has to have some cheese in it.

What’s your Sunday ritual?
Coffee and groaning.

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You’re from Brittany, where the famous sea salt comes from. How did you end up in East London? 

After multiple romantic failures, I ended up in London with nothing but 2 backpacks and no contacts.

What was your earliest experience with photography? 

My dad’s Pentax ME Super. Developing and printing black and white film with my cousin in a former swine slaughterhouse. 

What’s in your camera bag?

Batteries.

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Even some of the most prominent film photographers have been moving to digital more and more lately. Why do you still use film? 

I like that time in between events you have to wait, it’s all about that timing. Using film is a slower process that makes you think and leaves you some time to romanticise and mature ideas. I’m not against digital images but it doesn’t necessarily match my temperament. It takes time to make beautiful things and I want to compose this way.

Tell us about your trips across America. 

I don’t know why I always want to go back there. I mostly drive and spend a bit of time hanging out with people. It has a lot to do with my instinctive curiosity… as well as these naive ideas of freedom and space you encounter everywhere when you are in America. 

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Your models are so relaxed, at ease. They do things for you that a lot of people might have a hard time doing in from of a camera. How do you get them to open up like that? 

I am a simple guy and I don’t try too hard with people… i am careful but also aware of who is in front of me. I am genuinely curious and learn from my subjects and listen at the same time. We are just talking about having someone’s pictures taken… everyone takes pictures nowadays—there’s no big deal in that. 

What makes for a beautiful photo? 

The amount of possible answers are crazy. I guess you probably have to enjoy the moment you are making them… when it comes to make portraiture, I always like being with the people as I make the portraits—there’s obviously always something intimate there. 

You could photograph anyone, dead or alive. Who would it be? 

I would have to say Cesaria Evora… 

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