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The Questionnaire : Sébastien Vincent by Carole Schmitz


Sébastien Vincent: To seize the moment.

For Sébastien Vincent, there is a fundamental, unsubterfuged nature in every human being and every animal. By removing anything that might distract attention from the essential, he seeks to reveal it.

After graduating from the Gobelins school of visual arts, he took his first steps in the press. He produces portraits for the national and international press, and works with companies such as Sony Music, Universal, EMI, Decca, Blue Note, Roland Garros, carte blanche PSG, Disney / Marvel, W9, Renault… etc.

For the past 10 years, he has also been working on the rewilding of the world.

Countless celebrities have paraded before his lens. Each time, he manages to capture in a fleeting moment the personality and emotion emanating from his subjects, whether famous or not. For him, it is with the eye that this quest for truth can be accomplished. The eye cannot lie: it recounts the very essence of being, with a slight discrepancy from reality, without betraying it, with the aim of serving the imaginary.


Instagram: sebastien_vincent_


Your first photographic trigger?
Sébastien Vincent : The portraits in Richard Avedon’s “In the American West”.

The man or woman who inspires you?
Sébastien Vincent : I love Kourtney Roy’s rewriting of the everyday and Gregory Crewdson’s cinematic breadth.

What image would you like to have made?
Sébastien Vincent : Pieter Hugo’s portrait of two young South African children with blond hair, one wearing the other. It speaks of this new generation born after the genocide in Rwanda and apartheid. The almost life-size print is striking and powerful.

Photo Pieter Hugo

Which one moved you the most?
Sébastien Vincent : The deep, worried look in Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother”.

Photo Dorothea Lange

Which made you angry?
Sébastien Vincent : For a long time, I couldn’t understand Hilla and Bernd Bescher’s inventory of industrial buildings.

Photos Hilla & Bernd Bescher

The one you regret not having done?
Sébastien Vincent : I often think back to a series that couldn’t be done with the Paris Opera dancers. I would have loved to have followed their rehearsals and watched them at work.

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Sébastien Vincent : The deer in the elevator. It’s one of the first images in the “Animal Kingsland” series. It’s also the one that gave me the strength to carry out my personal work. There are the embryos of my recent research, cinematographic images, melancholy and a certain discrepancy with reality.

A photographic memory from your childhood?
Sébastien Vincent : The right to take the family photo with a Polaroid.

What image do you have of yourself?
Sébastien Vincent : Photographers, like shoemakers, are often the worst shod. I don’t take many photos of myself.

With no budget limit, what would be the work of art you’d most like to acquire?
Sébastien Vincent : Probably a large print from Gregory Crewdson’s “Beneath the Roses” series.

In your opinion, what quality is needed to be a good photographer?
Sébastien Vincent : You have to be generous, you have to give a lot to get something back, you have to be patient and persevering. You probably need to have something to repair to have the courage to embark on long-term projects.

What, if any, is the secret to the perfect image?
Sébastien Vincent : Accepting that perfection has nothing to do with the success of a photo. You have to feel the forces that run through the frame, in order to transcribe your experience into images.

Who would you like to photograph?
Sébastien Vincent : Hunther Schafer or Chloe Sevigny, for their many facets and the pleasure they derive from being photographed.

An essential photo book?
Sébastien Vincent : “Du métier à l’œuvre” by Jean François Chevrier on Robert Doisneau. Far from the Parisian clichés that made him famous, the text explores Doisneau’s work, which is far more complex than it seems. It’s an interesting reflection on a career, the choices and doubts that accompany it.

Your childhood camera?
Sébastien Vincent : My father’s Kodak Retina, which I used to borrow on the sly. I was fascinated by this window on the world.

The one you use today?
Sébastien Vincent : I alternate between a Sony A7RIV and a Fuji GFX100S medium format depending on the series. I recently did some polaroids again, and I loved the feel of this type of film.

What’s your favorite drug?
Sébastien Vincent : Champagne.

What’s the best way for you to switch off?
Sébastien Vincent : Playing with my dog Lucette.

What’s your relationship with images?
Sébastien Vincent : They are life partner, always there in the corner of your mind. It’s also a link with the world and the possibility of great personal experiences.

Your greatest quality?
Sébastien Vincent : Patience. I know how to wait without getting bored or losing concentration, which is a big part of being a photographer.

Your latest folly?
Sébastien Vincent : Spending 15 days in the cold and rain in Iceland for a personal series.

An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Sébastien Vincent : A dog or a cat to soften our world a bit.

If you hadn’t become a photographer?
Sébastien Vincent : I would have been very unhappy.

Your greatest professional extravagance?
Sébastien Vincent : Always taking my dog along on photo shoots. She causes chaos, but because she’s so cute, nobody complains.

What do you see as the bridges between photography and design?
Sébastien Vincent : A taste for excellence and detail.

Which city, country or culture do you dream of discovering?
Sébastien Vincent : I’ve long been drawn to Mongolia. All I have to do now is learn to ride a horse and experience it like a native.

The place you never tire of?
Sébastien Vincent : The Cannes Film Festival and its photo marathon.

Your biggest regret?
Sébastien Vincent : Putting aside my personal research for a while.

In terms of social networks, do you prefer Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Tweeter, and why?
Sébastien Vincent : Instagram, for its obvious link with photography, and Tik Tok for its addictive side.

Color or B&W?
Sébastien Vincent : I love the complexity and richness of color variations. Yet I’m always happy to take a portrait in black and white.

Daylight or artificial light?
Sébastien Vincent : I mix the two without question.

In your opinion, which is the most photogenic city?
Sébastien Vincent : Without a doubt, New York. It’s always so surprising and a great place to recharge your creative energy.

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Sébastien Vincent : A selfie, otherwise nobody would believe me.

If I could organize your ideal dinner party, who would sit at the table?
Sébastien Vincent : All cool people and no slackers, no matter how talented.

Which image do you think represents the current state of the world?
Sébastien Vincent : The images of the forest fires in Canada and the demonstrations for women’s rights. A great threat and a great hope.

What’s missing in today’s world?
Sébastien Vincent : Listening. It doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a way of putting oneself in the other person’s shoes and seeing the world from another point of view.

If you had to start all over again?
Sébastien Vincent : I’d choose photography again. It’s a rich, accessible and constantly evolving medium.

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