Sylvie Coupérie : Nature at its heart.
Marseillaise by birth and at heart, Sylvie Coupérie has lived for more than 30 years in the Paris region, more precisely in the heart of the Fontainebleau forest in Barbizon, the painter’s Village! Mother of two grown boys, she created her equestrian data company in 1998 and successfully sold it in 2016 to devote herself solely to art.
She began by drawing and painting, before turning her attention to her real budding passion: wildlife photography.
She first discovered Africa and its large animals. and was instantly struck by the “Africanovirus”, which never left her. But what she loves most of all is tracking down all these incredible animals on her own. Tracking and understanding their habits allows her to approach them without them detecting her presence.
Today, she spends her time wandering the world in search of beautiful “Nature” shots that will enable her to make people aware of the beauty that surrounds us. Each expedition brings an intense emotion that Sylvie constantly strives to renew.
By photographing animals that are so precious to our planet, she tirelessly contributes to identify this fragile and precarious beauty. We should not forget, the future of humanity depends on the respect we show it.
Patient and persevering, this nature lover seeks to put feeling into her work and lives only for those intense, privileged moments she hopes to convey in her images.
Instagram : sylviecouperieeiffel
Your first photographic trigger?
Sylvie Coupérie : I’ve always loved photographing with all kinds of small cameras, but my first contact with a real SLR and the desire to take beautiful photos dates back to March 2018. I loved drawing and it was a friend who introduced me to the world of Wildlife Photography, and another friend, himself a photographer, who helped me perfect my technique.
The man or woman in the picture who inspires you?
Sylvie Coupérie : I’ve long loved the world of Peter Beard, who blends drawing and photography. And I recently discovered Solly Levy on Instagram, whose world I adore.
What image would you like to have realized?
Sylvie Coupérie : An image that struck me during my first visit to Montier en Der in 2017, when I hadn’t yet taken up photography … A wide angle picture of an elephant by Kiriakos Kaziras, printed on a gigantic canvas and exhibited in a street in Montier … Since then, I’ve been discovering them every day on Instagram!
© Kiriakos Kaziras
Which one moved you the most?
Sylvie Coupérie : The photos of elephants, where you can see the newborn being protected by the whole herd.
The one that made you angry?
Sylvie Coupérie : All the wildlife photos where the animal is attracted in a way that is dangerous for it (ie the fabulous photos of kingfisher half underwater) … I recently learned how they were made and it disgusts me!
A key image in your personal pantheon?
Sylvie Coupérie : My “Culs de Zèbres” on a black background … I can go back to Africa 100 times, but I’ll never again have the opportunity to photograph this group of 3 endangered Grévy’s zebras placed in “formation” with their tails moving in harmony.
A photographic memory from your childhood?
Sylvie Coupérie : I traveled a lot as a child, and my mom loved to take photos, so I have a lot of them …. Let’s say an extraordinary encounter with the giant trees of Sequoia Park in California.
© Sylvie Coupérie
In your opinion, what are the qualities needed to be a good photographer?
Sylvie Coupérie : For wildlife photography: patience and perseverance.
What, if any, is the secret to the perfect image?
Sylvie Coupérie : A thirst for learning, patience, perseverance and … luck!
Who would you like to photograph?
Sylvie Coupérie : I don’t really like photographing humans, it makes me uncomfortable …
Which photographer would you like to have your portrait taken by?
Sylvie Coupérie : I hate having my picture taken, let alone posing for one.
An essential photo book?
Sylvie Coupérie : No must-haves… I like all books with beautiful wildlife photos.
What was your childhood camera?
Sylvie Coupérie : I started with disposables and then much later I got an Olympus “Bridge” that I loved … I gave it to 2 little 10-year-old twins who dreamed of taking wildlife photos when I switched to reflex.
Which one do you use today?
Sylvie Coupérie : A Canon R3
Your favorite drug?
Sylvie Coupérie : The long, solitary search followed by a face-to-face encounter with a free, wild animal.
What’s the best way for you to switch off?
Sylvie Coupérie : To isolate myself in nature and wait for a beautiful encounter with a wild animal without it detecting my presence.
What is your personal relationship with images?
Sylvie Coupérie : I’m a contemplative person ….I can spend hours looking at photos or paintings … In nature, I can stay for hours in the same place and imagine the image I could draw from it … this must come from my family, as my parents (and grandparents) literally dragged us to many museums when I was a child … at the time I didn’t appreciate it too much, but today I thank them for making me aware of all art forms.
Your greatest quality?
Sylvie Coupérie : Perseverance … until I get what I want, I don’t give up … “Never Give Up” is an expression that’s been used for a long time. Never Give Up” is an expression that describes me well.
What was your latest folly?
Sylvie Coupérie : Last spring, I spent a month searching for deer in rapeseed fields for days on end! I had some unforgettable encounters, full of emotion!
A picture to illustrate a new banknote?
Sylvie Coupérie : Why not a stag? For me, it’s the most majestic wild mammal in France.
What job would you rather not have?
Sylvie Couperie: Film actress
What if you hadn’t become a photographer?
Sylvie Coupérie : I would do something to save the wilderness.
Your greatest professional extravagance?
Sylvie Coupérie : I’m not extravagant at all
What do you see as the bridges between photography and art photography?
Sylvie Coupérie : When you take wildlife photos, at the outset, you’re a long way from art photography … you’re more into observation photography … the wild animal is already very complicated to find, and then you have to meet it in a beautiful place with good light, and the animal has to naturally give you the attitude you’re looking for … which is to say that all these parameters are complicated to bring together … If, from time to time, you manage to bring all these criteria together, what will transform a beautiful wildlife observation photo into an art photo is either the originality of the settings at the time of shooting (angle, speed, shutter), or the post-processing you give it
What city, country or culture do you dream of discovering?
Sylvie Coupérie : Anything I don’t know yet… I’m curious by nature.
The place you never tire of?
Sylvie Coupérie : Nature …
Your biggest regret?
Sylvie Coupérie : Being a coward (of bad human encounters) … If I were less of a coward, I’d venture out into nature on my own more often.
In terms of social networks, do you prefer Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Snapchat, and why?
Sylvie Coupérie : Like everyone of my generation, I started with Facebook, but I’ve been turning to Instagram for the past 2 years … It’s allowed me to discover a lot of wonderful images by photographers I didn’t know before.
What have digital technology and smartphones taken away from or brought to photography?
Sylvie Coupérie : Today’s smartphones enable everyone to take magnificent photos of sufficient quality to post on networks, and I think that’s great … it can be a first step towards becoming a photographer and perfecting your skills.
I started photography with digital and thanks to it, I was able to progress rapidly, because you didn’t have to wait for the “print” to know if you’d made a successful photo, and above all, you can take hundreds of photos without processing them, so you certainly dare to click more than in the days of film … and therefore, you progress more quickly.
Color or B&W?
Sylvie Coupérie : I don’t have a preference.
Daylight or artificial light?
Sylvie Coupérie : For wildlife photography, it’s always natural light.
Do you prefer film or digital?
Sylvie Coupérie : Digital … that’s all I know.
Which town do you think is the most photogenic?
Sylvie Coupérie : Every town or village has its own charm, you just have to open your eyes and know how to bring it out with photography.
If God exists, when you get to heaven, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Sylvie Coupérie : No selfies! … I’ll try to take a photo without him knowing so that he would look as natural as possible.
If I could organize your ideal dinner, who would be at the table?
Sylvie Coupérie : Vincent Munier
Which image represents the current state of the world for you?
Sylvie Coupérie : I have an annoying tendency not to look at images that disturb me, and the current state of the world disturbs me.
What’s missing in today’s world?
Sylvie Coupérie : A global and general awareness of the state of our planet.
If you had to start all over again?
Sylvie Coupérie : I’d do it all over again. I love my life, even if it’s not always perfect.
Any last words? Or one last image?
Sylvie Coupérie : I’d really like today’s young people to become aware of the importance of preserving nature. Today, our most precious heritage is the Earth itself. Let’s not forget that the Earth is not bequeathed to us by our parents, but loaned to us by our children.
On September 17, exhibition for Heritage Day in Barbizon, Salle Laure Henri.
Then, from October 26 to 29 and November 2 to 5, exhibition at 41 rue Grande, in BARBIZON.
She has also published 2022, a Carnet de Voyage on the Leopard. Profits from this work go to the Wildlife Angel association, which fights poaching in Africa (www.wilang.org).