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Filtering by Category: photography

"Shortly, It Will All be Memories" || Meet Patrice Plouffe

Ben Ashby

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Photographer Patrice Plouffe has enchanted us with his dark and moody landscapes from across the globe. We wanted to learn more about his photography and his adventures so we sat down for a chat. 

 


Why do you adventure?  When I’m on an adventure, I am by myself. Being far away from others and big cities makes me feel alive and helps me manage my stress. 
 


 

Why do you explore? I love to take pictures of wild animals. I explore to be able to find their most hidden dens and capture pictures of them in their natural state. 
 

 

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Why take risks in life? I used to never take risks I was comfortable with the stability. But things happened in my life and that’s forces me to push myself and my limits. Sometimes even if you don’t want to, you have to. Personally, my best memories are from when I took risks. 


 

Where are you from? I am from Québec, Canada. I was born and raised the very small town of Saint-Sulpice (population of about 2,000). My backyard was fields and forests. I think that’s why I’ve always loved wildlife and why I’ve always had a special connection with nature. Presently, for work, I live in the much bigger city of Montreal, unfortunately. I do however on weekends get out of town as much as I can! 

 
 

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What is your 9-5? I am the project manager for a downtown Montréal artist/designer company. 


 

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? When I was very young I wanted to invent things, like an industrial designer. After, a little older, I started to play guitar and was in a band. So at that point I wanted to be a rockstar (haha). I’ve always be a very creative person: I play music, I draw, I take pictures. My big goal is to live off my art.

 

 

 

 

Favorite place you've visited? Everywhere in Iceland, but Jökulsárlón blue lagoon was magical. 


 

Place you most desperately want to visit? Indonesia


 

What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? I will always be amazed how generous people are towards strangers. 

When I was younger I played music in a band. We used to do a lot of shows and tours away from home. For weeks we had little money and no place to sleep. 

People were always ready to invite us in to their homes, let us take showers and made us food even though they didn’t know us personally. There was also one family in Iceland that will always be in my heart. They were so generous with my friend and myself. They invited us, complete strangers, into their home. They made us dinner, gave us a place to sleep, shared their knowledge of Iceland with us and even lent us their car. 


What has changed about you because of your travels? I'm much more grateful for what I have in life. I enjoy the simple things that surround me.


 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I am used to traveling alone but if I had to choose it would be with my good friend Micheal. He’s not complicated, he’s as easy going as I am and we’re often on the same wave length. He pushes me to take more risks and be more adventurous. 


 

 

Must haves for travel? Toilet paper.


 

Travel tips: If you’re short on time and cannot take a long term vacation be sure to rent a car. By relying on public transportation you loose a lot of time. You’ll be so much less stressed and another perk, you can always sleep in the car if necessary. 


 

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Give us a story: I traveled alone in Costa rica and everyone told me that it was a very safe place, but in the city of Tamarindo I ran into trouble. I was out at a club with a lot of Costaricans, it was the only night of my trip that I decided to go out to party. A Costarican was bothering me the whole night, trying to sell me cocaine. A little later in the night, a couple of drinks in, I had made friends with another traveler who was staying at the same hostel as I. I was honestly a bit tipsy and had to use the washroom, but it was very far in a dark corner behind the club. When I got out of the washroom the same guy who was harassing me to buy cocaine came at me with a knife in his hands telling me I have to buy his cocaine or I would be in a lot of trouble. Not knowing how to react I told him I had no money on me, but I would be back quickly with some. He obviously followed me back into the club. This is where I saw the one friend I had made at the beginning of the night. I told him I was in a lot of trouble and needed his help to get back safely to the hostel. He took a moment and tried to talk to the Costarican, without success. He couldn’t do anything for me because the Costarican had pulled a gun on him. At this point I must admit I was pretty scared, not to mention the club was closing in less than an hour. I didn’t know what to do. I told the Costarican that I needed to get to the bank and at that point I just bolted. I must have ran 6KM in 2minutes (haha) to get back to the hostel. Luckily I met a security guard who calmed me down and reassured me. Apparently in the drug “low seasons” in Tamarindo it happens a lot. I don’t have to tell you I didn’t sleep one wink that night. I would have to say, be extra vigilant and careful, you never know what can happen when you’re alone! Words of advice when you’re alone: don’t drink too much and keep your head straight. 


 

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Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger: Humanity has lost its way, If I could remove one thing on earth to help the world it would be all the hatred, terrorists and religions. Every single human needs to accept everyone as they are. When defining religions, we create differences, thus separating us all instead of drawing us all together.

 

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? Take time to enjoy and relax, don't be hurried. It’s over way too soon. Shortly, it will all be memories. You will regret if you don’t enjoy the moment.

 

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When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? Every time I travel I'm out of my comfort zone. I travel with only a backpack and a limited budget. That's what I love and I learn every time to be more grateful of what I have back home. The time I’ve felt the most out of my comfort zone was the Costa Rica incident previously mentioned. I felt very alone and powerless. I’ve learned to be more careful and not go to crazy partying alone in a club so far  away from home ;)


What would you say to your former self? Time changes everything, stop stressing, be patient, everything will fall into place.


 

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What gives you hope? Photography, nature, landscapes, wildlife


 

Where to next? I would love to visit my country.  The Rockies, British Columbia. Also for my next big trip I would visit Norway. 
 


 

Is flannel always in season? No :/ I'm always hot. 

 

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Take Better Portraits: Tips from Brandon Roberts

Ben Ashby

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Like yesterday's story with Emil we sat down with Seattle based photographer Brandon Roberts while he was in New York City to discuss his journey towards mastering portraits. After introducing Brandon and Emil to each other they went out into the city to create a series of portraits of each other to demostrate how their styles differ. 

 

Who are you. Where are you. Give us your links.  Brandon Roberts, currently residing in Seattle, WA. www.betterrugged.com. @betterrugged.

How long have you been a photographer. Is it your main job? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve taken photos. In high school, I spent time shooting and developing my own film. That’s when I became captivated. It took years after that to look at photography as a career and not just a hobby. Currently, I split my time as a reality tv producer and part-time photographer. I’m not far away from being a photographer full-time. #goals

 

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When did you take your first portrait? I feel like my first portrait is from when I was 15 years old, in my awkward, clumsy days taking pictures of my friends for my high school my photo class. One of the first is of my best friend, Annie. I had her sit and pose on my plaid-covered futon in my teenage-boy bedroom. In this black and white photo she’s looking off to the side with all my crap around her. In the photo you can see a Marvin the Martian poster, Real World poster, an expired Washington state license plate, a Lucille Ball set-photo of her losing it in the chocolate factory, a CD boombox and a fish tank (DANG. hahahaha). This was a photo I shot and developed myself. 

 

How have you progressed over time? What do you feel has been your most improved quality? I’m constantly progressing. That’s always going to happen as long as I keep shooting. My style has changed over time because I continuously create a space for myself to try new techniques whether that’s in-camera or during my editing process. My most improved quality while taking portraits, lately, is editing in a way that celebrates the subject. I don’t want to them to seem dull or fade into the background while in their environment and I try to add a bit of magic to help set the tone. That and just making sure there’s not a lot of noise, the image is properly exposed and the eyes remain sharp. If I don’t have these, I don’t have a portrait. 

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What makes for a good portrait? A good portrait makes me feel something immediately. When a portrait makes me feel, as a viewer, I want to figure out what story is presenting itself to me. Lighting is beyond important as this helps set the tone for what story is being told. The gestures or reactions the subject delivers help elevate each portrait I take. Connecting and adapting to my subject is part of my process, I’ve got to be able to make them feel comfortable enough to decide where they want to go with my directing. Getting the best results in camera sets me up for a successful edit. 


Do you prefer natural light or artificial? Why? I have crafted my portrait skills mostly with natural light. However, I’m getting more into studio portraiture lately. They’re both so different. I like them for different reasons. When I’m out taking pictures of strangers or other subjects, I love to honor where they are in that exact moment, using the natural light to help tell their background story. With natural light you start to discern what part of the world they’re in, where they might be going, where they’re from or how they’re feeling. When using studio light to shoot a subject, I’m able to slow down the process and really get to know my subject. It’s way more intimate and that shows through the lens because as soon as the subject allows you to snap one pic you have successfully gained your subjects trust to tell their story, whatever that might be.  

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How important is composition and what makes for good composition? Composition is essential in portrait photography. We have wandering eyes and short attention spans, so grabbing ahold of the viewer is the goal. Composition helps grasp the viewers attention. Good composition allows the viewer to navigate through the image effortlessly, with purpose and reason. Composition shouldn't be clumsy, it has to make sense. Cropping is an important tool to help with composition. One should always try to master my composition in-camera, to help setup a successful edit. 

Color or black and white? I currently shoot in color. There’s something about seeing the setting as it is. I like the hints of many colors the world has to offer in order to create a little bit of magic I like to exhibit in my photos. I’ve been shooting a lot more in the state of Washington and I cannot imagine not seeing these greens pop in photographs, nor would I want to take away all of the endless colors New York City has to offer. 

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What Camera do you shoot with? Canon 5D Mark Iv


Any final advice? Go on photo-dates with other photographers who interest you, or you’ve never met in real life. Walking through the fear of not feeling capable or qualified diminishes once you get to know other photographers. I have pushed myself the last few years to do this and it has met me with incredible results. I’ve managed to make best of friends and continuously become inspired to keep going as a photographer. I have learned new skills, different shooting techniques and take the inspirations I receive during these little friend-dates to get me to the next level. It’s fascinating to hear and understand someone else’s photo journey. We’re all just trying to figure it out at the same time.