JRP: Please welcome Food Photographer Jean Cazals to James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Jean for sharing time with our readers. Where do you call home?
Jean Cazals: London I guess but being born in Paris, raised in Geneva I feel part of the natives who live outside and regroup in another city. A world citizen!
JRP: How did you get your start in photography? Is there any formal training in your background?
Jean Cazals: I wanted to be a heart surgeon or a photographer at 15! The second choice was more in my line of fire. I then moved to London to study at LCP for a BA., and the rest is history! Basically its my eye which lead the way and my drive and passion that took me to where I am!
JRP: Name a photographer that has impacted your work and why.
Jean Cazals: God! So many and for different reasons! Different times as well! Having gone from Fashion (briefly!) to Portrait (which I still love!) and then Food. Just off the top of my head Bourdin was my reason to take up photography and Annie Leibovitz, Tim Walker at the moment, a genius! Others did follow like Lindbergh, Watson, Penn, Newton, Sieff, Gibson, Avedon, Goude, Mondino, Steichen. Roversi (can make any girl look amazing!), Mc.Cullin (the emotion ), Herb Ritts … there are more. Sometimes it’s just a few shots. The ones I mention here have a life of great work! Painting and art have also a big influence on me. ManRay, Magritte, the surrealist, Dali …
JRP: Do you have a support staff? What areas do they handle?
Jean Cazals: Support: my partner. Staff: I’m a one man band! Control freak they call it! On location an assistant, well-chosen though! Nothing worse than to be with someone geeky or with nothing to say for a week somewhere deserted!
JRP: What photo equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot?
Jean Cazals: A 90mm/2,8 shift, 5D mark2
JRP: What lighting equipment do you favor and why?
Jean Cazals: God’s light! Can’t perfect it. It fits me. It’s always there! Of course I favor overcast days for the continuity, softness, color temperature. Otherwise strobe to get a very crisp light effect and to control mood.
JRP: Could you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?
Jean Cazals: CaptureOne, the best!
JRP: In your opinion what is the biggest misconception regarding food photography?
Jean Cazals: That we are doing tricks to the food!
JRP: With today’s economic conditions how do you keep productive and retain your creative edge?
Jean Cazals: Always look forward, reinvent yourself within your mood, style, and emotion. Follow your thoughts. Sometimes you are not following the current trend but you will set a trend. Integrity is my motto.
JRP: Do you have a memorable shoot you could share with us? What made those images or the shoot special?
Jean Cazals: Again different ones for different reasons! Either the great people I met when I was a portrait photographer. The locations I was lucky enough to go to or simply the situation where I had to shoot! Sometimes hilarious!
JRP: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Jean Cazals: Keep looking everyday at things around you. Your eye is your tool. The rest is just there to record it on paper, well on-screen these days!
JRP: What advice would you like to share with other photographers starting out.
Jean Cazals: What I have just said above. I get a lot of emails from people who want to assist and work with me, learn. I always make a point to answer them and look at their website and tell them my honest opinion. Sometimes good or bad. Truth is the best. Criticism is positive not negative. You can then understand and work to perfect things. Just saying to someone its a nice picture is like eating a meal without salt and pepper! It is either really good or not. In a race there is a winner. First place not second. You never remember the second one!
I would say the main thing is to ENJOY. Don’t do photography in whatever style or subject because it is in fashion. It will be contrived. Just follow your heart. That can be said for so many things. Photography is a form of awareness and communication. Suddenly you see it and it’s right! You make the exposure! The i-d-e-a is the most seductive thing in photography. Looking at the work of other people is very important but then you must forget it and the essence of what you like will reappear through your own eye.
JRP: Thank you Jean for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure.
Jean Cazals: It’s always a pleasure to share thoughts and pose for a moment. Happy shooting!
JRP: To view more of Jean Cazals’ photography please follow these links: