Photography Masters - André Barrette
‘From Models to Friends’
André Barrette, is a French speaking Canadian photographer living in the Montreal area. He bought his first SLR almost 50 years ago when he was a young adult and has maintained his passion throughout the years.
As many photographers and artists, André is a self-taught photographer that has gained his mastery through observation of the work of great masters such as Ansel Adams, Jean-Loup Sief, Sarah Moon, Helmut Newton and many others.
In order to improve his skills he has also attended a few workshops and group photo-shoots.
To Hot Lips Magazine, André said that his oldest memory “is the smell of chemicals in my father’s darkroom. I must have been around 4 years-old then”. His first camera was a Kodak Brownie when he was 9 or 10 and he has been taking pictures ever since.
Taking images of landscapes, architecture, jewels, shows and the occasional portrait, André felt he was dispersing himself. Two years after going digital with an advanced mirror less camera, he was brought by circumstances to take street portraits.
That’s when he discovered that he enjoyed taking pictures of people. Since then, he has worked with well over a hundred people from all walks of life, from pharmacists, bank managers, housewives, erotic dancers, students in arts, nurses, and many more.
Putting a focus on empathy and good relations André says, “I like to say that I start a photo-shoot with a model and I finish it with a friend in most cases”.
Shortly after finding his passion for portrait, André decided to buy his first DSLR and he does not miss the chemicals and the darkroom he used for many years. On the contrary, by using digital cameras and computers he has found the freedom he had always hoped for.
Retired from a long teaching career, André can now devote himself entirely to his hobby. Yes, it is a hobby, although a very serious one, so much that it could be considered a second career.
André’s most rewarding moments come when a person looking at his pictures and asks, “Is that me?”
The magic that occurs when timing, light, angle and composition are falling in place is enough even if it is for one picture out of a hundred. Of course, many more are great images but that one image that makes people go “Ah!” is the one we are hoping for.
When taking pictures of people, complicity, respect, cooperation, and mutual confidence are the ingredients of a successful photo session, along with a mastery of composition and lighting.
After the shoot, André will always treat images on a computer, comparing the raw image to an unfinished course in a chef ’s meal. Sometimes all that is needed is a pinch of salt; sometimes it has to go in the oven for a few minutes to blend the flavors together.
His long experience allows him to work in diverse surroundings, inside or outside, in studios or in people’s places, on a beach or in the woods, in a public park or venue. “I like to make the best of available light as well as work with studio lights,” he says.
When preparing for a shoot, André will always confer with the people involved, finding out about the location, the mood, agreeing on the emotions expressed. He his most at ease with very small teams. Often the only other person involved is the model, making it a one-on-one experience.
Thanks to the Internet, an international community has emerged that allows sharing work and provide support. Unfortunately, there is a downside too as some people behind their keyboard are sometimes destructive.
André’s advice to newcomers is to stay strong in their belief, to look at as many photographs as they can, finding out what works, sometimes get in touch with the photographers to ask questions (you’d be surprised at how many are willing to share their knowledge).
“Take as many pictures as you can. Be critical of your work and always be kind to one another,” he advises.
More photographs from André:
See more of Andrés works:
Patreon - patreon.com/proginor
Flickr - flickr.com/photos/proginor/
VK - vk.com/proginor