Matthieu Venot was born in 1979 in France. Studying sound engineer and working in the world of music. A need to create, Matthieu Venot left the world of music and being instinctively creative took up photography… at the ripe age of 35.
Since 2014, he has focused on developing his own photographic language. Focusing his lens on architectural details and adopting fairly constructivist angles, the artist succeeds in creating abstract geometric images. He only photographs when the weather is incredibly good and thus Matthieu uses the immaculate sky like the background in a studio. This, he maintains, is his way of not disturbing the composition of his pictures : simple and graphic. Lines cross over and overlap. shapes stand out from this blue background and have us forgetting what we are observing : a roof, a wall, a railing, a balcony.
The blue sky background also enhances the colours. Colour is, in fact, of the utmost importance in Matthieu Venot’s photography. Excluding the Breton greyness, the photographer transforms the town and has us thinking more of California or Florida. According to the artist, the choice of pastel colours is a way of transmitting, through his photos, his own personal optimism.
Unique Perspectives with Matthieu Venot
by John Oldani
Matthieu Venot is a 34-year-old photographer from Brest, France that views architecture around his hometown and the places he visits in an astonishing way. His eye for finding pastel colored landmarks in seemingly grey cityscapes is at the heart of his work, and it is a sight to behold. His signature photos are abstract yet particular, exemplifying simple geometry and nostalgic colors, often backed by a cloudless blue sky.
“I started to photograph my city in a way that I like; with blue sky around the architectural structure”, Venot said. “It needed to affect me. I started taking photographs in this way four years ago, before that I only took photos of my friends and family.”
In four years Venot has managed to create a signature style that is instantly noticeable on social media, or on the cover of GQ Style.
Shooting for GQ Magazine
This year, Venot was contacted by award-winning hip hop artist Tyler the Creator after he saw one of Venot’s photos and used it for the cover of his remix, “Crust in Their Eyes”. After asking Venot for approval for the usage of his photo, Tyler personally requested that Venot photograph him for the cover of GQ Style.
Venot was unsure at first because he never professionally photographed someone, but the opportunity was too good to turn down. After debating for two weeks, Venot photographed Tyler at Hôtel Molitor in Paris and other eloquent locations in sync with his style.
The Creative Process
Every artist develops a creative process when exploring potential projects. The process is strictly the preference of the individual, and it can be as conventional or unorthodox as needed. Matthieu Venot’s creative process is both unique and modern, often using Google Maps as a tool to scout locations.
“I do a lot of location scouting on Google Street View first,” Venot said. “After that I walk around the city for a while.”
Exploration is a huge component of Venot’s creative process. Finding the perfect location is crucial to shooting a signature image on par with his standards. He is very attentive to what he desires in his next shot, so he takes his time in order to perfect his craft. Finding that, “diamond in the rough” building or landmark in crowded cities makes up a majority of his process.
“In Lisboa I walked about 120 km in four days,” he said. “I didn’t shoot much, but I needed to find the perfect location with the perfect light. I need to like the picture before the shoot, so I visualize exactly what my picture will look like before I even take my camera out. After the shoot, there is not much post processing besides some contrast and exposure editing.”
Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal is the capital of Portugal and one of the oldest cities in the world. Its culture and landmarks are recognized around the globe for its history and architectural relevance. While visiting, Venot found inspiration in the vibrant colored buildings paired with the deep blues and warm temperate climate. The limited edition prints set to release via Monsieur Marcel were all shot by Venot in Lisboa.
“I love the prints I shot for Monsieur Marcel,” Venot said. “I shot them in Lisboa, so this project was quite different from some of my other work. It is based on the photographic medium and the representation of reality; it is a photo collage. I love the fact that photography captures the immaterial and the intangible like the shadows.”
Venot’s portfolio depicts the subtle details in places that often go overlooked. His knack for cropping and isolating certain shapes, colors, and shadows effortlessly creates powerful images. Venot transforms something as simple as a cluster of shipping containers into a circus of colors and lines that could make any room reverberate with energy.
“My work is based around colors and shapes. The colors and the shapes change all the time, but I try to include some natural elements like palm trees or the moon. I like the feeling of being lost; to be nowhere or somewhere universal, a place to which everyone can relate to without knowing it. With this feeling in mind, everything is alright…even if it isn’t.”
It is obvious that Venot finds inspiration in the simple details within various cityscapes, but what inspired him to hone in on his creativity in the first place?
“My biggest inspiration is art, especially Pop Art and abstract painting,” he said. “I love Hooper, Hockney, Matisse, and Mondrian, they are big inspirations. When i was younger I played guitar, composed songs, played gigs with a band and enjoyed creating music. I think my life needs to be based around creation, I need to create to feel good.”
Whether it be as a musician when he was younger, or as a photographer in the present, Venot makes it known that creating is more than just a hobby. His passion for crafting the ideal photograph in order to spread a warm message is at the forefront of his artistry.
“Optimism is one of my main messages,” he said. “It is important in our society to feel good. Colors and shapes have strong messages and I am not a dark person. I don’t like confrontation.”
Photography is undoubtedly Venot’s main focus as a new year approaches, but looking beyond he is excited to venture out into new forms of art alongside photography. He is constantly expanding his portfolio, and has managed to become nothing short of a phenom in a short amount of time:
“I am working on a book to be released in December of 2018,” Venot said. “It will published by Editions Autonomes. A friend of mine asked me to publish a book about the city we live in (Brest, France), and I thought it was great. I also think I would love to paint because it would allow me to start my work from a blank page. In photography, the structure or architecture already exists, and i would like to produce something completely unique. I think it would be amazing to start a piece from nothing by searching in my dreams or in my head.”
A creative mind like Venot’s will never stop drafting new ideas and creating in order to expand on a message. His photographs are a fine example of how altering a perspective can lead to beautiful visualizations. Expect enormous success and constant innovation from Matthieu Venot as his artistic career pushes to new limits.
Venot’s limited edition prints will be releasing soon on monsieurmarcel.net.