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The Questionnaire : Stéphane Granzotto by Carole Schmitz


Stéphane Granzotto: The art of observation.

Photographer as well as professional filmmaker, Stéphane Granzotto is first and foremost an enthusiast. As a photographer, he is particularly interested in the underwater world, a passion that dates back to his childhood.

He took his first photo when he was just 10 years old, but it wasn’t until he was 17 that he seriously considered making a career out of it.

He studied video and photography at Grenoble’s Stendhal University, before taking up scuba diving. Although at first it was only for pleasure, diving soon became a revelation, prompting him to link the two. The resulting images are fascinating. His particularly spectacular images of sperm whales quickly became emblematic, making him famous the world over.

On the film side, he has made over forty documentaries for French and foreign channels. He has also won numerous awards at prestigious festivals (Palme d’argent at the Festival Mondial de l’Image Sous-marine, First Prize at the Diablerets International Mountain Film Festival, Grand Prix at the Belgrade Film Festival, and others…).

As a Canon ambassador, he travels the world in search of ever more magic. He is currently working on two book projects: one on sperm whales, the other on freshwater environments.


Website :
Instagram : stephanegranzotto


Your first photographic breakthrough?
Stéphane Granzotto : A mountain landscape in the Cerces Massif, Haute Alpes, France.

Which man or woman’s image inspired you?
Stéphane Granzotto : There are so many, it’s impossible to name just one.

The image you haven’t made yet that you’d like to make?
Stéphane Granzotto : A Kermode bear spirit.

The one that moved you the most?
Stéphane Granzotto : A portrait of a gorilla in captivity. The look in its eyes…

The one that made you most angry?
Stéphane Granzotto : An 1892 photo taken in Michigan, USA. It shows a man standing atop a veritable mountain of tens of thousands of bison skulls, exterminated by man. This species, which numbered tens of millions of individuals, was reduced to nothing in just a few years, to the point when the bison almost disappeared altogether. All the stupidity and greed of modern man summed up in a single image…

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Stéphane Granzotto : A photo of a sperm whale, taken in the Indian Ocean.

A photographic memory from your childhood?
Stéphane Granzotto : Loading a roll of film into a reflex camera, and taking the first shot. The mechanics of the camera, the sounds. And taking my first photos.

What image are you obsessed with?
Stéphane Granzotto : The one I haven’t made yet.

What was the last photo you took?
Stéphane Granzotto : Orcas, in Norway.

How do you choose your projects?
Stéphane Granzotto : By instinct. Sometimes chance decides for me…

Which photo changed the world?
Stéphane Granzotto : The first photo…

And which photo changed your world?
Stéphane Granzotto : My first (successful…) photo.

What was the last thing you did for the first time?
Stéphane Granzotto : Repair a broken screen.

What’s a successful photo?
Stéphane Granzotto : A photo that evokes emotion, whatever it may be.

What interests you most in an image?
Stéphane Granzotto : Making it…

With no budget limit, what would you dream of acquiring?
Stéphane Granzotto : A Basquiat painting.

What do you think makes a good photographer?
Stéphane Granzotto : Sensitivity

What, if any, is the secret to the perfect image?
Stéphane Granzotto : There is no secret… or in fact, there are so many! light, composition, colors, contrast, subject, sensitivity, ideas, originality, rigor, madness, passion…

Who would you most like to photograph if you had the chance?
Stéphane Granzotto : An Indian chef, Crazy Horse

The photographer by whom you would like or would have liked to have your portrait taken?
Stéphane Granzotto : Sebastião Salgado

An essential photo book?
Stéphane Granzotto : There are so many… Genesis by Salgado? A book by Vincent Munier?

Your childhood camera?
Stéphane Granzotto : A Pentax SLR, analog camera.

The one you use today?
Stéphane Granzotto : Canon R5 and R3.

Your favorite drug?
Stéphane Granzotto : My family.

The best way for you to disconnect?
Stéphane Granzotto : My family, the mountains, the open sea…

What is your relationship with images?
Stéphane Granzotto : I’ve made images my life, in a way, through my work; so it’s a strong, passionate relationship.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Stéphane Granzotto : An eternal beginner.

 Your greatest quality?
Stéphane Granzotto : I don’t know… You’d have to ask those who know me well.

Your latest folly?
Stéphane Granzotto : A new photo backpack. I’ve got plenty. Too many…

An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Stéphane Granzotto : A polar bear.

Your greatest professional extravagance?
Stéphane Granzotto : Diving in a submarine to a depth of over 400 meters.

What’s the difference between photography and art photography?
Stéphane Granzotto : The look, the intention.

The city, country or culture you dream of discovering?
Stéphane Granzotto : There are so many… Patagonia.

The place you never tire of?
Stéphane Granzotto : The mountains, the Alps

Your biggest regret?
Stéphane Granzotto : Not being able to bring my family along on my missions.

In terms of social networks, do you prefer Instagram, Facebook or Tik Tok, and why?
Stéphane Granzotto : Instagram. The photo gallery aspect. The sharing.

Color or B&W?
Stéphane Granzotto : Color, even if I love black and white!

Daylight or artificial light?
Stéphane Granzotto : Daylight.

In your opinion, which is the most photogenic city?
Stéphane Granzotto : New York?

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Stéphane Granzotto : I’d ask him to pose for me.

If I could organize your ideal dinner party, who would be at the table?
Stéphane Granzotto : Everyone I love. And that would be a lot of people…

The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Stéphane Granzotto : A burning forest…

What’s missing in today’s world?
Stéphane Granzotto : The will to put things right, instead of destroying everything for the sake of profit and blind growth.

If you had to start all over again?
Stéphane Granzotto : I’d do it all over again! with even more passion and commitment.

Any final words?
Stéphane Granzotto : one life, live it.

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