Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vincent Laforet: Cross-Dissolve

By Ibarionex Perello, Photography By Vincent Laforet Published in Photographer Profiles
Arthur Schopenhauer said, "The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everyone sees." In Vincent Laforet's work we see a photographer who constantly is creating new ways to tell a story with images. Above: The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters at Bonzai Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, December 8, 2006. While most photographers choose long telephotos aimed from vantage points ashore or shoot with housed cameras in the water hoping to catch a close-up, Laforet took a decidedly different angle.
Arthur Schopenhauer said, "The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everyone sees." In Vincent Laforet's work we see a photographer who constantly is creating new ways to tell a story with images. Above: The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters at Bonzai Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, December 8, 2006. While most photographers choose long telephotos aimed from vantage points ashore or shoot with housed cameras in the water hoping to catch a close-up, Laforet took a decidedly different angle.
This stark scene reflects the severity of the event, where a man and a 12-year-old boy had been executed in Pakistan.

"Reverie became the best calling card that you could ask for in that it was seen two million times in the first week," Laforet says. "At that time, everyone was talking about the camera and associating my name with it. You can send years of promo cards and never get that kind of response. It opened doors that otherwise would have been very difficult for me to open. If I was going to ever take the risk as a filmmaker, this was the time to do it."

A midcareer change doesn't come easy for anyone. There's a certain level of comfort and security that comes with success. And while such experience can be difficult to let go of, Laforet explains that it provided him with a valuable perspective that helped his transition.

"It's one thing when you're starting your first career," he says. "You don't have much of a barometer by which to compare it to. But when you have 18 years in another career in which you achieved success and accolades, you realize the importance of those things that you've accumulated. It's not the awards; it's the quality of the work that you've produced."

Adds Laforet, "I never made claims as a filmmaker that I couldn't back up. I never claimed to have 18 years experience as a filmmaker. I also didn't necessarily bring those things to light either, but I didn't try to hide it. I did, however, highlight those things that I thought were my qualities and strengths. Having traveled the world for 18 years is an asset as a filmmaker that not everyone has. I had developed a visual pedigree that I knew was valuable."

Gaining Perspective

"There is one thing I deeply believe in when it comes to documentary photography," Laforet writes in his book, Visual Stories: Behind the Lens with Vincent Laforet. "It's not about you; it's about the stories of the people you are photographing."

"Reverie became the best calling card that you could ask for in that it was seen two million times in the first week, Laforet says."
It's this belief that has informed much of his work as a former staff photographer for The New York Times and an assignment photographer for Newsweek, Vanity Fair and National Geographic magazines. And it's his personal journey as a photographer that's chronicled in Visual Stories. In it he shares the tales behind the photographs he created as a photojournalist and documentary photographer. For Laforet, the book is more than just a memoir or a technical how-to book. It's a book that has allowed him to gain a sense of perspective on his life and his career thus far.
Login to post comments
Subscribe & Save!
International residents, click here.