Hi Francois! Thanks for uploading your great works! Would you like to introduce yourself and your work to us?
Hello everyone and thank you for your interest in my work.
I am a French street photographer living in Los Angeles. After graduating from a Masters degree in Environmental Design in Shanghai, I worked as an exhibition and interior designer for five years. I was recently still designing shows at the Getty Museum, here in LA, but left to use my creativity towards my own artistic practice. That’s when I created François Aubret | fine art prints. I go out, take photos and sell my favorites as prints on my own online shop.
I describe my body of work as “Graphic Encounters.” It is a documentation of hidden geometry and patterns I come across in my daily life. My discoveries turn the mundane of everyday errands into extraordinary captures.
In your work, no matter the color or the subject, everything is concise and well composed. How do you make such clean image despite of the chaos of environment? Do you rely more on shooting, or more on the retouching?
It is true, my photos are very clean because I am very much this way myself. You should see my apartment! There is never a dirty plate in the sink. I just can’t think straight and be creative in a messy environment.
When I am out shooting I spend a lot of time composing my photos and waiting for the right moment. That’s what I rely on the most! It is very enjoyable to be outside and take the time to do what you like without being rushed. Once I get home I, of course, do a bit of editing but it is usually just clean ups of distracting details that I didn’t even notice while shooting (like dirt or cracks on a wall). I only edit my images to get back to what I felt when looking at the scene. I am also very selective with my photos.
You write on your website, ‘These photographs reveal the hidden beauty and humor in overlooked urban scenes’. Indeed, you have great ability of observation, and are very talented at create humorous atmosphere. Do you go to the street on the purpose of finding this kind of humor, or just keep sensitive and come across them in daily life?
A little bit of both. It is always when I don’t have my camera with me that I miss great “Graphic Encounters.” So I always take it with me now. But I also plan shooting days around LA and see what I can find. It is like treasure hunting! Somedays I go explore parts of the city I don’t know and some other days I walk around familiar places. I am always amazed to find new shots on streets that I walk on everyday. That’s the magic of photography: being there at the right time.
You shoot the series of ‘Graphic Encounters’ in Los Angeles. Do you love this city? What’s the most interesting thing happened there during your work?
Los Angeles is a strange city that grows slowly on you. Of course you immediately fall in love with the weather and the palm trees. But the city is so spread out and made for cars that it is difficult for a new comer to find a sense of belonging and community. It is very different than any other city I have been to, but I do love it now. It is very laid back. Plus, creative industries are emerging everywhere here and it is great to see.
The most interesting thing that happened to me recently was when I was taking photos around Downtown LA. A building keeper stopped and told me “Look up! Look up!” He was pointing at a falcon sitting atop a building. He told me everything about it and how the owner is using it to chase pigeons away. Seeing such a creature in the heart of the city was so unexpected and I loved how my camera created a short but meaningful interaction with a stranger.
Besides of the amazing weather in LA, what else are essential to your pleasant and enjoyable style?
Indeed, the amazing LA weather plays a big part in my photos but it is not the only element. What I am looking at has to be highly graphic, usually a combination of different surfaces with different colors and textures. It is even better if it is quirky like an odd combination of colors or a weird detail on a building that has been left out during its construction. It also has to be very flat and no people. I like the fine line between abstraction and reality and, to me, depth of field and people add too much reality to my photos.
You uploaded your illustration ‘Pool Noodle’ on Facebook. I can see both the color and style of your illustration are very ‘Francois’, too. What’s the different and the same, between the feeling of photographing and painting?
This is too funny! My “Pool Noodle” series is actually a series of photos and I am so glad you thought it was a series of illustrations. It wasn’t my intention to mislead the viewer but I like that the compositions and play of colors tricked your mind into thinking it was an illustration. To reinforce what I said earlier, I like the fine line between abstraction and reality. That’s where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and that’s how I want to make people dream in their own daily lives.