Julien Pounchou is a French photographer living in Barcelona, Spain. Julien started taking analog pictures in the 1990’s out of necessity, since the digital had not yet emerged.
How did you get into photography?
Back in the 1990’s, I was taking pictures of graffiti to archive my paintings and occasionally also capturing some other stuff. Only in 2008, when I came to live in Barcelona, I started taking lots of pictures. Discovering new places and people stimulated my production way more and I began to archive the pictures month after month as a photo diary. Eight years later, through encounters, I came to fashion photography. The various facets of creation that come with this type of work fascinate me; I love to incorporate fashion design and art direction, taking inspiration from my years of professional experience in fashion and visual arts.
How did your shoot with Ximena go?
When I met Ximena, we were supposed to have a regular test shoot for her modelling agency. When a connection happens with the model, the shoot sometimes evolves into something closer to an editorial session. Then, I like to think more in terms of styling, location, colours, and telling a story. I try to create a setting that helps the viewer to better perceive the model’s personality and soak in a certain atmosphere. Often the use of analog cameras piques the model’s curiosity; having no previews, changing films, juggling between different cameras and especially waiting for the outcome, forms a kind of game and greatly facilitates rapprochement and connection between the two people. And this is exactly what happened that morning.
Can we photograph the female body differently in a more powerful way?
Sure, in my photos women appear in a rather delicate form, they are often sensual which might suggest a certain form of fragility but without being physically or gender reducing, I think that seduction is a subtle and yet an immense power. Big names of photography have mixed physical power with sensuality although both could be totally dissociated; body and power can be appreciated in so many forms.
How does it feel to be a creative person living in Barcelona? Is the city treating its artists well?
As in every big city there are many opportunities to meet and work with people. Barcelona is still a great city, easy going and very enjoyable in many ways; the weather, the light and locations make this area a place rather favourable to photography. In this way the city is treating its artists well but I don’t think that artists of today expect any help or special treatment from a city, they are much more used to work together, create their own universe, bring something different and to be seen and communicate thanks to the many available networks.
What inspires you?
First there is a certain aesthetic that I focus on, which for me often involves a period in time with its typical colour codes, clothing materials and even music and spirit. Then I try to document it, and discover how this same period was in different countries to go beyond my European perception. Many more things inspire me too: people and particularly women, travelling, landscapes …
How would you define beauty?
Beauty is a very personal and subjective idea, each of us has his/her own perception. Beauty is the first notion that will stimulate us and enliven our senses at the first glance. The most interesting in my opinion will be the interpretation of the photographer, which is also the most complicated, trying to bring out your own perception of the model’s personality to others; it’s always easier to see the beauty through the personality.
What makes you happy?
Family and friends, love, good food and good wines, discovering and being inspired.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got some projects with brands and collaborations which are about to come out so I’m pretty excited. This has been a productive year so far and I will try to continue in this way; more fashion shoots, travelling and also some personal projects that I would like realise.