say hi to_ Valentin Fougeray
I had heard Paris based photographer, Valentin Fougeray’s name many times before I had ever seen his work. We were apart of the same creative circles in Paris without ever meeting and his reputation of his outstanding work and work ethic preceded him. When I finally saw his still life photographs I was blown away. As I tease him now, that I am his biggest fan, I've seen his work develop over the past few years and I can not get enough.
Valentin’s refined vision allows him to create surrealistic still life images with a rough touch of reality and a contemporary aesthetic. His ability to make the ordinary, such as blacktop and tin foil seem, mystic, exotic and sometimes disorientating - is what has us coming back for more. Oftentimes experimenting with vastly different textures, light and light refraction we lose perception of scale, size and identity of the objects he is shooting.
For a very long time the still life photography industry was stagnant and many photographers were churning out the same things for years on end. The conservative commercial creative industry in France being particularly slow to change. Up until recently, with a few pioneering still life photographers such as Karl Kleiner and Frank Hülsbömer (to name a very few), some creative photographers began blurring the lines between still life and fine art photography.
Valentin is the perfect example of the new generation of creative still life photographers. I love his excessively clean, crisp, bold photographs which in my oh so subjective opinion are exactly what the commercial world needs to capture a viewers attention in our oversaturated age of imagery.
With our country spotlight project, we collaborated with the new generation of best up and coming talent on bespoke projects together. For our collaborations together, Valentin shot a portrait series of one of our featured long format interviews of furniture design editors Louise and Jean-Baptiste of La Chance as well as a still life editorial series featuring French designers and we curated a series of fine art prints which we showed in an exhibition in Paris and which are for sale here on our platform. For our still life editorial we gave him a carte blanche with the only requirement being to only use objects of designers who we featured for the French Spotlight. Stay tuned as we will be publishing that still life editorial series in March!
I. Can you please describe your collaboration with say hi to_ and what you did do with us?
I discovered say hi to_ thanks to my agency Poly—. Kristen and Poly— gave me the op- portunity to create several still lifes. The idea was to create images with pieces designed by different artists presented in the France feature, such as La chance, India Mahdavi, Seem Soap... So with the selected objects, I choose an art direction and shot the editorial.
Furthermore, Kristen presented a curated selection of images for an exhibition in Paris and to be sold through say hi to_ online gallery.
II. What did the creative process look like? (how we worked together to develop the idea and collaboration)
Kristen and I discussed about a guideline and the magazine’s spirit. Beyond her personnal vision, Kristen totally trusted me to realise the different images. I selected objects and created
a moodboard as I usually do to present my global ideas, the things I wanted to try. It was also a good mean to present my state of mind to Kristen and my ideas which were to try and expe-riment new things with each selected pieces. It took one day to create the ve images that weshot in a studio thanks to Poly—.
It was really comfortable to be both supported and let free to express myself visually.
III. What types of projects are you interested in working?
Oh! A lot ! I practice portrait and still life and I like to alternate both. Maybe because Ihate the routine. I’m completly excited when someone asks me to work on a project that I neverdid before, it motivates me a lot and increases my creativity.
I always look forward to meeting new people complementary with my practice who I could work and create with.
In the same spirit, I love to work for brands, magazines, institutions, exibition projects, collabo-rations because it’s never the same human and creative process.
As for new projects and intentions, I must admit that working on album covers, is something that challenges me. The more I evolve the more I wish to create with volume, objects, to add aphysical dimension to my practice. I also started working with video, so why not try to expand this medium.
IV. What does say hi to_ represent to you?
say hi to_ is for me a new link between contemporary art and its roots, the young crea- tion and its predecessors, architecture and design, past and futur, Background and shape. This magazine manages to discover, confront and connect different worlds related to emerging crea-tion. It represents the human nature of a generation that opens itself to novelty but didn’t forgot its past, in uences and inspirations.