Who or what have been your greatest influences in your life in regard to creativity?
Thank you for this opportunity, Richard! I am happy to be here.
I have had three wonderful influences. The first two are life and the world around me. I always learn lessons from just paying attention to little details.
My third greatest influence is Khalil Gibran. I discovered this artist almost two decades ago and I consider his entire body of work (books and sketches) as my personal bible. I have not encountered another author who can paint pictures with words in such a powerful way!
What do you love most about what you do? What do you dislike about it?
The ability to document what I see and experience through pen and camera. What is there to dislike about that? ;-)
What are your greatest artistic challenges and how do you overcome them?
English is not my mother tongue. I also am an immigrant (I was born and raised in France, but have lived in Canada for 14 years). So I have to step out of my comfort zone every single day. As such, I have gotten used to challenges in many areas. Art is no exception. I don’t really pay attention to them anymore.
What do you believe are the key elements in creating a good photograph?
To me, a good photo does three things at the same time:
1) It tells a story
2) It speaks to your emotions
3) It teaches you something about life.
Check out the photograph “Human Love” by Nazir Ekhlass for an excellent example of what I mean.
A 100 years ago, photography was mostly practiced by those with enough money to buy a camera. In a world where most people have a camera in their pocket and where photographic equipment, software, etc., is easily accessible, how can a photographer 'stand out from the crowd’?
You won’t stand out from the crowd if you just copy what others do. Instead, take the time to figure out what your unique style is. And then present it to the world in a way that forces people to stop in their tracks.
Your photos don’t need to be over-processed or highlight complex concepts to win awards and praises. Aim for simplicity, inspiration and upliftment. And most importantly, have fun!
You've also published books of poetry. What is it you prefer about writing writing poetry over prose?
I am an avid reader of nonfiction literature, but I do not enjoy writing prose. Poetry is more free-flowing. It leaves much more to the imagination.
With that said, I haven’t penned a poem in a long time. Photography is my art form of choice now.
You've combined your poetry with your photography in a book. Are there any other art forms you'd like to pursue?
So far, I have only released one book mixing my poetry and images. However, my next photography book will feature haiku. This poetic form is the perfect partner.
Aside from poetry and photography, I have dabbled in theatre, short stories, novels, and spoken word. At this point in my career, I am not really interested in pursuing something new. Maybe I’ll change my mind in a few years, who knows? ;-)
Do you have any quotes or a motto that you live your life by or think about often?
Yes, I have two:
'Treat others the way you would like to be treated.'
'Let your actions speak louder than your words. '
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. The book gave me a new lease on life when I was in my early 20s.