As autumn comes to a close and winter begins to take hold, Europe’s cityscapes undergo a profound change. The bright colours and low suns give way as the nights close in and cities take on a more brooding atmosphere. It’s a beautiful transition, but one that can be challenging to capture, both for the photographer and the camera.
Enter Anthony Lepinay, a Sony World Photography Award winner toting the Sony’s new Xperia Z3 smartphone. We challenged Anthony to capture this unique time of year in his hometown of Paris, and after completing his shoot, we caught up with him to chat exaggerated perspective and why he sees lines literally everywhere.
So, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Well, I guess by day I’m a creative director of an ad agency, which I’ve been doing for more than 15 years now. But by night, or any time outside of work really, I like to take photographs. I’ve been obsessed with photography ever since I was designated as family photographer when I was a little kid. I coveted my father’s camera from the moment I knew what it was, and now my love of photography has developed into something so much more meaningful than just a hobby. With the help of today’s technology and Internet platforms it has become my own personal playground for experimentation, and an artistic license to communicate with the world in a way that transcends language, culture, and time zones.
You’ve done some work with the World Photography Organisation; tell us a bit about that?
Not long ago the WPO decided to interview me about my creative journey and my previous photographic works after being impressed with my stuff on Instagram (@Antone_Lep). Shortly afterwards I was invited to take part in the United photography project with WPO and Sony for the FIFA World Cup – a great programme that celebrated the incredible ambiance and team spirit that the FIFA World Cup generated across the world.
You have over 35,000 followers on Instagram, so your photos are obviously very popular – why do you think that is?
When I look at my photo stream it seems to be the everyday photos that get me the most comments and likes, which is why it’s so important having a decent camera on your smartphone (Like with the Xperia Z3 J). I always try to capture the unusual beauty behind every day objects, taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary. It can be something as simple as a train, an empty space or street; but I use lighting, framing and lines to emphasise what you wouldn’t normally see it. In fact I see gridlines wherever I go.
Is there a difference, whether that’s in style or technique, between taking photos for social media or for more professional purposes?
I always make sure I am dedicated to the shot. If there is a Professional brief to be carried out then of course it will affect my methods, but I make sure the shot remains true to my style regardless. I make a rule never to allow outside pressure to dictate my photography. The main object is to enjoy the work I’m doing. Generally speaking though, if I am hired for that purpose then it is because they admire my personal touch.
From the looks of your photography you seem to have a definite style, particularly focusing on strong lines and exaggerated perspective. What is it that drew you to this style of photography?
Well like I said, I really do see lines everywhere. So I guess perspective is important to me. But I honestly couldn’t say, maybe I just enjoy playing with graphics, or maybe it allows me to really get involved with the picture behind the shot. Maybe both. I see it, I shoot it, and I like it.
When you’re shooting photography, are there any key techniques you always to take in to consideration?
Patience – that’s the most important technique in photography, and the beauty is it’s a skill we all have. If you wait long enough you’ll find the perfect moment, no matter what you’re looking at. Even if it’s empty, there’s a moment to be discovered, just look up and open your eyes. There’s always something extraordinary to capture. That’s the beauty of mobile phone photography; you can take a shot anytime, anywhere, and not be reliant on lugging a big professional camera around.
The photos that you’ve shared with us are stunning. Can you tell us a bit about them and what considerations you had when shooting them?
The garden shots are from the Saint Germain en Laye Castle close to Paris. For me it’s one of the most beautiful places in Europe. Walking in that garden is such a pleasure, there’s so much history there – Did you know most of the French kings were been born there? The trees are really majestic and at this time of the year are so bright and colourful! With all those rich colours it was the perfect occasion to christen my Xperia Z3. My night shots were at the Garnier Opera house. The architecture of the building coupled with the mood lighting made for some beautiful, almost gothic photos. From past experience, it’s usually quite difficult to capture the detail and make the most of low light with a smartphone camera, but it wasn’t a problem at for my Xperia Z3. I was genuinely surprised with the results!
Lastly, where are we going to see you next? Have you got any exciting projects lined up?
I’ve always got lots of projects in the pipeline: series, books and expeditions… But these things cannot be rushed. Primarily I’m focusing on a beautiful city project, but that’s all I’m saying for now 😉