“I’m still the child who made his cabin with ferns on the island of Ré, rocked by the wind caressing the dunes, eyes wide open” – this is how Laurent Castellani describes himself.
As a professional web Art Director, Laurent has always been fascinated with images, advertising, short formats; touching as many people as possible through the power of emotions. Unfortunately, he says, little by little, the creative aspect became blurred, constrained by customer briefs and meetings with too many stakeholders. It inevitably leaned towards mediocrity, which was something Laurent was unhappy about. He wanted to be able to create images and films with the greatest freedom he could have. This is how he started making movies, and photography came soon after that. For Laurent taking pictures is less frustrating and more accessible, because it’s less consuming than shooting films.
If he had to describe his work, he would say that it’s rather dark (but not in a creepy way), cinematographic; as if he’s trying to stop time. Nowadays Laurent only shoots in the mornings or in the evenings. Heavily inspired by David Lynch’s work (particularly by Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive), he sees this universe as lost in space and time; a mixture between a dream and reality.
Five Questions to Laurent Castellani
How would you describe your photography to someone who has never seen it?
My photos are cinematographic. They combine a place (usually urban or a spot in nature), a specific style and soft light at the beginning or the end of the day. I could easily describe my photography as dreamlike.
What makes a great photograph?
A combination of place, emotion, person, style, and light at the perfect moment, where the whole thing makes sense. This alchemy must touch us and bring us pleasure. There is also the scenario that I like to call “the accident”: all those elements we did not control that naturally came together to create a coherent whole, despite the fact that we could not have thought of doing it voluntarily.
What’s your main source of inspiration when you’re behind the camera?
I put music on during all my shoots – it inspires me and helps me find that sacred alchemy.
How is the photography industry changing in the digital era?
I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but for me everything evolves in the wrong direction. It’s like talking about climate, music, or cinema. Everything seemed better before, more authentic, more serious, and, above all, more creative. The digital era allows so much retouching that we lose the soul of the moment, the imperfections, which are the heart of the photo. I do not like editing my photos. I try to do it less and less and therefore work more upstream on my shoots.
However, if I have to name one positive thing, it would be the ability to draw inspiration with great ease.
Have you heard of Blockchain and if so, what are your views on it?
I have never heard of Blockchain before. However, I am still going to inquire – people say that small streams make great rivers.