Jean-Paul Soujol

Jean-Paul Soujol

MIFA 2021 Winner, Fine Art (Non-Professional) – “The Aesthetic of the Movement

Jean-Paul Soujol has been practicing photography for 11 years. In a constant search for creativity and inspiration, he evolved technically and artistically: he went from the small sensor (APS-C) to the full frame and in present to the medium format, an increasingly demanding feat in terms of both technique and creativity. He started with landscape photography and moved towards minimalism through long exposure, the square format and now towards abstraction with a plastician approach. Experience has shown him that it is necessary to think of the image in the composition, to have the most successful image possible before post-processing.

Q: Do you remember the first time you held a camera?

My first camera was given to me by my parents, I must have been 10 years old. The passion for photography came much later, when I was around 50 years old.

Q: Tell us a bit more about your winning project and what inspired you to do it?

I like to work on the color contrast between blue and black and I am looking for beaches made from volcanic rocks. While I was making the adjustments, a buoy positioned itself in front of me. I wanted to stage it while looking for the movement of the surf of the sea. This photograph of a minimalist composition is also an aesthetic research in terms of color and shapes. The square format accentuates minimalism. At the beginning it is a photograph composed and thought for the square format like all of my work. 

Q: What type of photos do you like to take in your free time? 

What I like to do is take the horizon and compose with it. To this is added the long exposure to have the most minimalist image possible.

Q: What genre of photography is new to you that you would like to explore? 

I like Contemporary Art, the work of plastic artists, I start to work on abstract photographs and on matter. 

Q: Besides a camera, what do you think are the three most important tools of a photographer? 

It all depends on the type of work! For me, the three essential elements are the tripod (creation, having the sharpest possible image, the long exposure), then the neutral density filters (for the long exposure) and finally the neutral density graduated filters (to balance the exposure). I will add a fourth tool: it is a camera remote control.

Q: How do you know when a body of work is completed?

A job is done when I am satisfied with the whole picture.The colors must match what I want, depending on the complexity it can take several minutes, hours or days. 

Q: If it could be anything at all, what would your photography dream project be?

A dream project! If I have to choose one, it would be to photograph the polar blue, the ice of Antarctica in order to create abstract photos from this blue. 

Q: If you could take one last photo in your life, what would it be?

The magma of an erupting volcano such as Etna or Vesuvius.

Q: Who/what is your biggest source of inspiration? 

I don’t really have a source of inspiration in photography, I am more attracted to contemporary painters such as Pierre Soulages, Mark Rothko, Yves Klein …

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers? 

I would say that we must not fall for the ease of digital and multiply pictures. You have to take pictures by researching the composition, observe the good light and above all feel pleasure when you press the shutter.

View Jean-Paul Soujol’s winning work.