Valentin Astier is a Montreal-based matte-painter/photographer whose passion for capturing landscapes and emotions through candid photography is defined in his work.
What kind of photographic equipment do you use?
I essentially use digital cameras. I’ve tried to shoot with an analog camera before, a Pentax Super-A, but I find that even though the look of the film is great, there isn’t enough control in post-production. And, well, I love the precision and the feel of digital photography! So, my favorite combination is my Canon 6D and my 50mm f/1.4. The camera is light, so I can carry it throughout the day without any problems. I almost always shoot with my 50mm. I also have a 24-70mm which I find it very useful when I travel. Besides this main equipment, I also have a Fujifilm x100S. It is so tiny and light that I can always have it in my bag just in case, I also find the sensor to be really impressive.
What do you enjoy taking photos of?
What really moves me is to be able to capture the atmosphere of a scene. Be it in an urban place or in nature. When I take photos what I really look for is feeling. I find this is easier for me to accomplish with natural landscapes because of the impact of the; colors, lighting and the textures. I am also interested in the interaction and the relation of people within these environments.
Which local and international photographers inspire you?
Here some photographers that inspire me: Cody Cobb, Dillon Marsh, Gregory Crewdson, Josef Hoflehner and Randy P. Martin.
What would you say differentiates you from other photographers within your shooting genre?
Factually, I am just doing the same thing that as a million of other photographers. However, I find that my approach is what differentiates me. My everyday job as a matte painter allows me to add a cinematic sensibility to my photos. I rarely have ideas in mind but I always have an general though of what I would like to capture. In short, the atmosphere of the kind of photo that I want to take at the particular moment. I just try to capture this vague idea/feeling through my travels and walks until I get a coherent series. Ultimately, this is the feeling I think people will find in my work.
Why did you start taking photos?
I have always been interested in images. I did a course in special effects and, as mentioned, I am currently working as a matte painter in this field. During my studies, we tried all the aspects related to the special effects, those being; photography, art history, drawing, sculptures, cinema and many others. I learned the basics of photography in this school. After my graduation, I began to develop my photographic work because I felt that I needed something really creative to do besides my job.
Tell me about one of your favorite projects.
My favorite project is “Alt For Norge” for many reasons. First of all, it defines my work, my approach and my style really well. It’s like a showcase of my intentions. This project is my favorite because the roadtrip where it was taken, in Norway, is one of my favorites ever. The landscapes are incredible. You can go there a thousand times and always be amazed. I think that this photographic project gives a good example of what the trip represents to me. It also defines my current process which is focusing on travelling, discovering new places and immersing myself within both the atmosphere and the environments that surround me.
Where can we find more of your work?
Firstly, you can find my work on my website: http://www.valentinastier.
You can also find my work by clicking through to these links: