Eric Dufour is a talented photographer living between Denmark and France. His approach to photography can be summed up by the keywords “simplicity” and “abstraction”. His powerful mix of colors and symmetry can make simple architectural elements become piece of art.
by Alessandra Bettoni
Eric Dufour is a talented photographer coming from the Beaujolais region in France, 30 km north of Lyon and living between Denmark and France with his Danish wife and his 2 children. His approach to photography can be summed up by the keywords “simplicity” and “abstraction”.
Eric’s style is a powerful mix of colorful elements and symmetry, his photographs are strikingly simple, according to the cleanest minimalistic approach. Buildings and their simple architectural elements become captivating abstractions of lines and shapes, common elements such as staircases and windows can even become pieces of art.
AVB: Welcome Eric, it’s really a pleasure to have you here. I know you through your social activity in the several groups of photography where you take part with your beautiful shots but we do not know each other personally. How would you describe yourself in a few keywords, And if your friends/relatives should describe you, how would they do it?
ED: First of all I’d like to thank you for this kind opportunity. It’s a pleasure to have this chat. It’s always a difficult question to talk about oneself 🙂
As I think to my work, I would say professional approach with the aim to always do things very well. People say that I am someone quite generous, serious, rigorous like in architecture photography. I am also a person who loves to laugh, meet people, friends and the life in general with a spirit of curiosity for many things.
AVB: How did you initially get interested in Photography and when did you get serious about it? Has your artistic sensitivity influenced your way of living and your personal approach to the everyday life?
ED: I am a self-taught photographer and I turned professional in 2007. I’m working especially in artistic architecture photography. First I would say photography is a lifestyle and an obsession for me.
Photographing occupies a prominent place in my daily life as I’m a professional! I spend a lot of time on shooting, location scouting, working photo editing, exhibitions, social networking like Facebook, instagram, 500px… I always want to travel and discover new buildings. Anyway I try to travel as much as I can! My hunting ground is located primarily in major European cities, especially in Germany, Italy, Denmark and France that I have the opportunity to visit during the year with a taste for modern, colorful and graphic architecture. I also used to go regularly to industrial or commercial zones to find out graphic subjects.
AVB: Where does your passion come from? Is there a specific event/moment which triggered in you the passion for photography? When did it happen?
ED: I had a taste for photography since my childhood, I bought photo magazines to admire the work of photographers and I would not necessarily imagine one day find my photos in different magazines around the world. But my interest in the art of photography began in 2006 with the development of digital photography and my membership in a photo club. When I was younger, I had the opportunity to travel abroad a lot (Asia, the Middle East and Mediterranean countries in particular) and took many pictures, mostly scenes of street life because I like to meet and have contact with people when I travel.
Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world. Arnold Newman
AVB: I think that the above quote is key to approach your work. Do you agree? Can you better explain this concept?
ED: I totally agree! I have an attraction for abstract compositions, architectural details and I like when the viewer is wondering what he is looking at. Pictures of simple things that can evoke emotions and express concepts without unnecessary content appeals to me particularly. My photographic approach can be summarised in the following quote:
The hardest thing in photography is to keep it simple. – Anne Geddes
I had experiences with school classes and where children came to visit my outdoor exhibition! The teacher in a playful way asked the children to guess what they saw in my photos! An initiative that I found very amusing.
AVB: You approach photography through a clean minimalistic eye. From the rationality of architecture to the emotivity of a landscape, your photographs are always combined with a clean, minimalistic approach. Please tell us a little about your style and process.
ED: In my case, I often seek simplicity, with a graphic touch and a minimalist visual impact for the viewer to go straight to the essential. The use of repetition, symmetry, geometric shapes, lines of flight, games, colours, interesting shadows, diagonals are important elements in the success of a shooting. In general I try to be extremely rigorous with the framing to have perfect symmetry.
AVB: Are there some other photographers, past or present, as mentors or having a special influence on your work? What is your main inspiration when you go out for a shooting?
ED: I try to be inspired by all that I see on the internet but I also try to have my own style which is very important in my opinion. My photographic work is often recognisable and identified as very colourful, minimalistic and very graphic! Besides, I consider myself more like a graphic/abstraction photographer rather than being an architecture photographer, I’m still working on this 2 aspects, graphic and colourful photography! Having an instantly recognisable photographic style is important if you want to attract magazines or galleries.
AVB: What are your preferred subjects and how do you chose them? Is it more like letting be inspired by what you see, rather than previously studying and researching the places where you can find your inspiration?
ED: In architecture photography is a necessary step, as for landscape or nature photography. It is even fundamental to benefit from the best light conditions with the seasons, but also to find the best angle, the best distance to avoid distortion of perspectives, even though the optical tilt-shift (rather expensive!) can help in that sense. The field scouting can take a few hours as many days. Go around the building, look for the most beautiful facade, look for a detail on a wall, find unusual angles of extreme perspective will make the difference. In brief make sure to get the best of the building.
The integration of human presence in an urban environment with such a graphic and colourful background and repetitive patterns can be also attractive and interesting. I often tend to think that a photograph with a touch of life is more successful than pure architectural graphics, probably because reportage including humans and social aspects of urban life is more popular. I also try to combine in my work these two elements but always in a minimalistic approach.
AVB: Has your photographic style changed through years and how has it evolved?
ED: I started by photographing landscapes around my home in the Beaujolais region, especially on the banks of the Saône River and also some wildlife photography. Then I headed me naturally in the architectural graphics with minimalist atmospheres for the aesthetic side of things. It was more in line with my tastes and has guided my work since my debut.
Over the past few months, my work has gravitated toward more colourful, graphic subjects. I probably need and want to show a little gaiety in our gloomy world. Modern architecture in cities is becoming bolder, offering beautiful playgrounds to photograph. I also won different photographic prizes in France and Europe that helped me in my career with a well-marked photographic identity. So I work mostly on my strengths even if I would like in the future to work on other themes such as portrait.
AVB: Is there a specific project or work, you particularly love and want to talk about?
ED: I have several projects in progress like facades of car parks that I hope will end up on future exhibitions. I have a particular project in my mind that comes out of my usual photographic universe. I would like to take the national road 7 (about 1000 kms) a famous road in France which goes from Paris to the South of France collecting a reportage and a testimony of the past time and of course focused on architecture but not only.
AVB: That’ s amazing Eric, I think we will hear of you very soon again! We’d really like to thank you for your time and availability but before saying goodbye, can you give some advice to our younger readers willing to approach photography? We can actually perceive in your work and in your words, the passion you put in what you do. What have you learnt from your experience?
ED: Make abstraction of technical terms at the beginning which can scare the beginners and in priority learn to compose your picture, to take care of your framing and also observe many pictures on internet where you can learn a lot!
Specialization in a photographic field is important to control all the parameters and different techniques without mentioning specific material aspects for each category. With intensive practice, I’m sure we can be able to develop our vision for architectural photography in an urban environment that is rich in various buildings and find compositions that come out a bit unconventional with a great visual impact. Do not hesitate to come when it’s possible at different times to try to make the best of the subject that is to be photographed and enhance it following the light of the moment. At least work of course but also motivation and passion are important drivers of progress.
All photographs are by Eric Dufour © All right reserved. Eric Dufour uses Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 50D cameras.
You can find more info and images at the following Author’s links: