International fashion photographer Luc Coiffait has been published by the likes of i-D, Ponystep and Wonderland and holds a portfolio packed full of natural portraits featuring Grimes, JW Anderson and Charlie XCX. In our chat below, we found out what motivates him, who inspires him and what advice he has for upcoming photographers today.
Hello Luc, how’s life treating you as a photographer based in London?
Life in London as a photographer is great, but hard work, which is what motivates me.
How long have you been based there?
I’ve been based here since the day after I graduated, 6 years ago. Gradually branching out to NYC, LA and Berlin too!
Can you tell us how your photography journey started?
I have always been excited about taking photos ever since I could afford a cheap digital camera as a kid. But it wasn’t until I reached a crossroads in my life and spoke with my psychic/close family friend that I considered it a career. I dropped everything, took the opportunity to try something challenging and creative, and immersed myself in it. Enrolled onto a summer course to get onto a photography degree, then moved to London and worked my ass off!
When did photography become more serious to you?
Once I moved to London and suddenly had bills to pay, I pushed myself to take it more seriously and use the pressure to continue improving. It had become a job rather than a hobby, albeit one I love.
I dropped everything, took the opportunity to try something challenging and creative, and immersed myself in it.
You’ve taken portraits of a lot of well known personalities. Do you have a technique when shooting people?
I treat everyone the same. A lot of these personalities go over my head. Not out of arrogance or lack of preparation, but because I like to show the same respect to everyone I work with. And, I’m not cool enough to know who half these people are. I always ensure my shoots are as relaxed as possible. I want to capture a natural image, not a performance.
What is your favourite portrait you’ve ever taken and why?
This is a tough one as I’m very critical of my own work. Once I’m completely content, I’ll stop shooting as a career path. My personal favourite is probably a portrait of Emily Astrup. It was the first time I really stripped my work down to something incredibly simple and enjoyed the results.
Do you think it’s important to keep improving yourself? What motivates you to do this if so?
Of course. I’m not one to sit back and get comfortable with where I am, for now. Ambition is important to me. I would get bored if I wasn’t pushing myself, and its important to try and gain ground on those at the top of the pack of course. If something is worth doing, its worth doing well and committing to it. Something I believe strongly in. That and a desire to be the best at everything I commit to, no harm in aiming high!
Did or do you have a rolemodel that has influenced your work?
I like to think my upbringing, background, and route to where I am have influenced my work. But I find the work of Bruce Weber, Jamie Hawkesworth and Tim Walker pretty captivating. And some of the stuff Harley Weir is creating is incredible. But I wouldn’t say they influence my work.
Ambition is important to me. I would get bored if I wasn’t pushing myself.
What do you think is more important, practice or talent?
Talent. You can practice anything and reach a satisfactory level but it is talent that will take you that extra step. Both are important, but talent more so.
Are there any creative individuals who you’d love to work with in the future?
I would like to work with more actors. I find that successful actors have a particular charisma in front of camera, and more often than not, have something unique about their appearance. Within the industry, I would also love to work with Simon Foxton. His styling seems to belong in the images I have seen, be it the simple stuff or more elaborate. His styling tells a story that isn’t forced. There are not many creative individuals I wouldn’t love to shoot though, I find people interesting, particularly creative people. We are strangest.
I find people interesting, particularly creative people. We are strangest.
Do you have any daily rituals?
Apart from working until the early hours, theres nothing too ritual about my day. It is definitely something I’m working on though.
Any advice for upcoming photographers who are trying to get noticed?
Well the obvious advice is to shoot lots of course. But, do it with the view to develop your own personal style. Enjoy taking shit pictures and you will soon learn how to take good ones almost all of the time.
Written by: Amie Galbraith and Fares Masharawi
To see more of Luc’s work visit his website luccoiffait.com and follow our Instagram account below to see his takeover.