Talking about Clément Louis' photography means talking about dark elegance with touches of punk decadence. Maybe that is the reason why Rick Owens picked him to portray his catwalk. However, with Clément Louis it's not just about the photography artist, but also about the fine artist whose paintings take us to the dark side of the people he portrays - all thanks to the mixture between cold colors and the usage of red for lips and eyes. It seems like this 24-year-old Parisian has no doubts so far regarding his identity and what he wants to express through his work. We talked with him in order to figure out how and why so much drama and darkness in his work.
I'm Clément Louis, I'm a self-taught artist and have been based in Paris for 5 years now. I'm a fashion photographer and a painter.
I started drawing and painting as a child. I discovered many photographers when I was sixteen, so I decided to get myself a reflex camera in order to further improve my ideas in photography. I then started a blog to share my pictures and sketches and later, once I moved to Paris and realized I could keep on exploring fashion photography a lot more, I ran to the shows and took pictures of everyone. It was then when Rick Owens asked me to take pictures of his shows. I believe that was the start of my photographic work.
It's a mix of a variety of influences and inspirations. I don't know if I'm able to make a statement about my style yet, but I do know what I like. I would describe it as very strange aesthetic, somehow dark, poetic and dramatic. I love the idea of elegant drama.
My job for Rick Owens was simple — I had to go to the show and take pictures for their website. I am so glad for having worked for him, I really like him as a person and of course his work, which is amazing.
The most memorable are still the ones I have done for my personal work. It feels so good to be free and do whatever you want with whoever you want — just having your camera and shooting. The most challenging are the fashion editorials, because it's more difficult to work with more people —the stylist, the make-up artist, etc. — and you have the pressure of the result. Everyone works on it, even the model, and you are the one meant to show it the way it was. If you do something wrong it's sad and stressful.
I don't have any preferences. My personal work of course gives me more freedom as an artist than a fashion shoot. Photography in the fashion industry is difficult. You need to be very famous to impose your ideas and to get to do whatever you want.
I don't have one, they all give me satisfaction in different ways.
Oh, yes, lots of people! I would love to shoot Isabelle Huppert, which is a French actress who is very inspiring to me, I think she is amazing. And also Tilda Swinton. I love them both and it would be a dream to take pictures of them together someday.
Paris is quite a good place to live in. I love its colors and the music that's played everyday; I love the night in Paris, the light of the streets and the noise of the city.
I would say that I am mostly inspired by an artistic wave, Expressionism. But just to name a few artists, I would say Egon Schiele, Paolo Roversi, Sally Mann, Desiree Dolron, Jean François Lepage... the list is endless!
Sure, first as a painter myself, and second, because of the relevance of so many artists throughout history. I think painting is my main inspiration.
More pictures, more paintings, maybe an exhibition. I don't know what will the future bring, but I still have faith in my luck and in my work, so... keep in touch!