Introducing the quick-witted, old school portraits of the self-taught Canadian portrait photographer.
This month our favourite Dummy Flickr pool contributor is Robert Fougere, a self-taught photographer based in Canada. He takes beautiful, sepia-tinted portraits in a daguerreotype-ish style that have a wittiness to them that delights. Find out how he got into photography, what his printing paper of choice is and all about his current exhibition at Vancouver’s popular Waldorf Hotel (the one Grimes and Blood Diamonds hang out at) below.
Where do you live?
I am presently living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Where did you study?
I am a self-taught photographer and working on a M.Sc. in Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics from the University of British Columbia.
Not being practiced in drawing or painting, I find photography to be a really easy, attractive and instantly gratifying way to make the compositions and visions I have in my head a reality.
Medium of choice?
If I’m shooting something to publish or something that I think will be really good, I tend to shoot it in two or three formats and pick the best take: 35mm on a Nikon F3, 120mm color and black and white on a Hasselbad, Bronica or a Holga, and sometimes an old Olympus half-frame, plus digital ‘insurance’! I’ve recently discovered the combination of Tri-X film and Diafine developer with really good results and the developer is reusable pretty much forever. I’ve also put together a mobile studio set-up of three bare-bulb flashes and battery packs that I scored for dirt cheap. My black and white printing paper of choice is exclusively Ilford semi-matt warm-tone fiber paper.
What do you love photographing?
I like taking pictures of lots of stuff! Portraits rank near the top. My girlfriend, who is a beautiful and wonderfully talented painter. I think the time, money and talent spent on a portrait is an excellent token of affection. Pet portraits are also great. I also really like trying to capture bizarre and idiosyncratic scenes and characters encountered in the street. Street shooting really feels like hunting and satisfies a deep-rooted drive.
Tell us about your recent exhibition?
I just spent three weeks of all-nighters putting together a show called ‘Wistful Thinking’. It combines my original work with prints from my collection of vintage pin-up negatives. I narrowed it down to about 85 shots from hundreds of prints, which I mounted and framed myself and hung salon style in a small room. It’s showing at the Black and Yellow Gallery in the Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver for the month of April. You can read the artist’s statement on the Waldorf’s website or check out pictures of the show in my Flickr. Be sure to add me as a contact!