We spoke with landscape photographer Alexandre Deschaumes, to find out how he entered the industry, his advice for budding photographers, and what he has coming up next.
How did you first get into photography?
I started around the year 2000. In 2001, I had a poor quality film camera but I found myself at the summit of a small mountain with misty forest and these were the first pictures with atmosphere. In 2005 I found these leaves with drops like gold and I published my pictures on some internet forums… Later, in 2008 I start doing treks of several days by taking people for photoshoots and I made more technical images, as well as my material becoming more professional.
Did you always feel more attracted to shooting landscapes?
I am not necessarily attracted to the landscape as such. I’m looking for an emotion through just a detail sometimes, a texture, an indefinable sensation… I have also photographed portraits, and details, the atmosphere in the forest and then later the mountains.
Your images often have an ethereal feel, with mist and clouds a common theme. Is that something you seek out deliberately?
I really like this mysterious and dreamy breach of the mist, because for me it is often too difficult to evoke something through a landscape which is too raw. In the sense that the sunny landscape can very quickly appear too normal and descriptive (like a postcard). I have to look for detail or a different mood. But it’s also annoying to be trapped in this research, so I’m also trying to find other themes.
How often do you travel for your work?
Two or three big trips a year, and then some small ones too. Otherwise I hike around my home in the French and Swiss Alps.
Was it difficult to find paid photography work in the beginning?
Yes it was difficult, and it’s always difficult now as well!
Who are the photographers or artists that inspire you?
Vincent Munier, William Turner, Avaizovsky, Caspar Friedrich, Guy Tal…
Tell us about the documentary you created with Matthieu Le Lay, “The Quest For Inspiration”.
It was a great adventure that was a springboard for both of us I think. There is something offbeat, intimate and personal that has touched a lot of people and I still get messages about it today sometimes. It’s a shame that our collaboration has not been able to continue.
And how about your own work, “Ethereal Journey”?
Ethereal Journey is a kind of retrospective from 2007 to 2015, with a good quality of impression. I tried to create a path that begins in nebulous darkness and then we can see bursts of light. The end also pleases me in its cottony and clear aspect. Next to that there are some weak points too that I would like to correct by making a new book for 2020, I think. In that I would like to talk about each image with my feelings and all the context around them.
You have had some exhibitions of your work as well, tell us about those.
Yes, I try to do some exhibitions sometimes, and it is important that people can come and see some of the pictures because I’m printing them large (2 meters wide for some).
How does it feel to see your work on display?
The choice of paper, matte, for me, is very important. I really like to see my pictures on this paper at a large size.
What have you been working on lately?
Recent images of the Dolomites, Iceland, Nepal. The new book. New travel ideas and new photo opportunities. I am also thinking of a new website. In fact, my life has changed a little this past year and my direction / my artistic and visual identity is evolving. I do not yet know exactly where it will lead me. It’s just that it’s a bit long with me.
Tell us about the workshops that you hold for aspiring photographers.
I really like sharing my vision and helping people with that. I do private courses to my home in Haute Savoie, otherwise I travel to Iceland, Patagonia, and the Dolomites. It is necessary to follow my Facebook profile Alexandre Deschaumes, it is here that I will announce things.
Are there any tips that you would give to aspiring landscape photographers?
Do not stay focused on a closed idea of what a “beautiful, impressive image” should be, like you see on social media. it is imperative to keep an open mind to listen to your deep call. Even if it goes elsewhere.
Alexandre’s work can be found at https://www.alexandredeschaumes.com/