Rise and shine: Photographer Quentin De Wispelaere

He’s barely 21 and only completing his first year of photography studies but Quentin De Wispelaere already has a CV worthy of the country’s hot shots. His first series Photos De Classe made it to semi-final at Hyères International Fashion and Photography Festival, American Tour was picked up by international editions of Vice magazine, and Another Magazine asked him to shoot the latest Paris Fashion Week for them. He’s also one of the Catclub parties’ official snappers. His Queenie The Boat series (below) sits perfectly with our upcoming summer edition, the yellow album.

Photography Quentin De Wispelaere

When did you get into photography full-time?

A few months ago, when I enrolled in the photography section of La Cambre, I’m currently at the end of the first year.

What drew you to this medium?

I’ve always been into image manipulation, when I was a kid, I was creating small movies with my sister, then we became teenagers and we started shooting each other, and now …

What is your first ever memory about photography?

It was just after La Cambre’s entry exams, when I discovered the series made by the students who got through the selections. Before that moment, I had no idea about photography in a “fine art way” (how they like to call it). I realised that it’s all about having fun.

How would you define your style/practice?

I try to keep my work as personal as possible, I think photography and art are about freedom and I want to keep mine. In photo reports I want to capture intense emotions in a constructed scenery. By building unexpected textures for example, creatures made of different components or simply imaginary stories created by little games between the plans, I always give importance to the light as well. About studio shoots, I imagine a story that is often related to events that happened to myself and my friends, or simply about facts that I find interesting or that make me laugh. I always do a lot of research about what I’m shooting and I like to write only some parts of the development down – not everything – so I forget a few details that make me bounce on new things.

Who are your top 3 favourite photographers?

It’s been changing and it changes often but for the time being I would say Daniel Sannwald, Luke Gilford and Ryan McGinley.

Who/what is your Holy Grail? (A person, location, scene that you dream of capturing someday)

I don’t have any obsession, I just have a lot of ideas that I hope to realise. For example a shoot with volatile designs in a high speed wind tunnel, with the face of a girl changed by the wind, or a shoot about similarities between girls and cars faces; another one with a tall white LCD screen with liquid sprayed on it, or again another about flying hairdryers on which the gravity is not the same… I can’t say my preference goes for one of them.

What’s your fondest photography moment?

I think it was my first series “Photos de classe“, when I still was at the pilot school. I had a big team of motivated people and it was amazing to see them doing precisely what I was expecting, in a very happy and positive mood. My first fashion week coverage in Paris was also a really intense moment.

One that you would like to forget about?

When I had to shoot the CEO of a big fashion house and his muse for Another/Dazed, everyone was very late on schedule and the shoot took 5 minutes. I wanted them to pose in a beautiful way, not with arms on each other’s shoulders… It ended up in a small conflict and in the end the portrait was not good.

What are the habits you get into whilst shooting? Is there one word you constantly use, or one person you always need with you as a lucky charm?

I always work with a close friend as first assistant, he knows nothing about photography but he always gets what I mean. There’s a strong connection between us and we work really well together, he makes me save a lot of time and eases the pressure on each shoot.

What do you listen to in the studio?

Mixes done by great DJs like Lady Jane, Compuphonic, or to artists such as Jay Shepheard, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Pantha du Prince, Gold Panda, Four Tet… Cheap techno music is also a good stimulant. More recently I started listening again to the tracklists of the catwalk shows I saw in Paris, even if it’s sometimes not my type of music, it puts me into focus just as I was on the shows and this works well.