I met Thierry through a friends’ gathering back several months ago. It was a Hong Kong style Dim Sum brunch that my friends hosted to welcome their international friends’ visit to Hong Kong. Thierry and me talked nothing except fashion and photography after we knew we both are avid fashion photographers and bloggers. After that, I was honoured do a joint photoshoot with this talented photograher, followed by this interview with him just in time before he went back to California.Cynthia Lo: Hi Thierry, give us a bit of your background. Where are you from; where did you grow up? And your educational and professional background?
Thierry Brouard: Hi ! I was born in Le Mans, but I grew up in a little town near Paris. I’ve always been very much into science, and was very good at it too, so I went naturally to science studies.Cynthia Lo: I was surprised by the big gap between your educational background and current career. Let’s talk about your education first. You have a degree in Biology, and a Master’s degree in Biochemistry, and a PhD in Oncology; I find all this very impressive. Why did you choose these subjects? Are you really into biological science? And what did you gain from your studies?
Thierry Brouard: In high school, when I discovered genetics, it made me want to biology research, so I pursued the studies for it.Cynthia Lo: However, your career is currently all about photography and cinematography. What prompted you to make such a drastic change? And when did you realise you have talent in art?
Thierry Brouard: During my studies in biology, I was doing photography as a hobby, and took it more and more seriously, and by the time I was in master degree I begun to take photos at events and organized fashion and glamor photoshoots. I wasn’t considering making a career out of it, but after a year doing research, I realized I couldn’t picture myself doing this all my life, so I tried to see if I could make a living with photography. First, I tried to find photographer jobs, and found some, but the pay was terrible, so I decided to make my own company!Cynthia Lo: Talking about companies, I know you’re at the head of couple of them : J&T Photo Paris, Lucca Photo, Romance Paris, Late For cake… what’s the difference between them? Which one are you focusing on at the moment?
Thierry Brouard: Well, each of them have their purpose. I created J&T Photo Paris at the begin, but with all the different activities we have, I decided to separate the wedding part to give more visibility to the rest, so create a new entity, Romance Paris, dedicated to weddings. Then I met Lucca Messer, a really talented and genius photographer who grew up in UK and Brazil and learned from masters like Mario Testino. He have been running his brand dedicated to high fashion photography – Lucca Photo – and we ended up joining forces. We now co own all of our companies, and we work together on most of the jobs we have. And we also created Late For Cake together, offering full production services providing everything needed for photo and video photoshoots (make up and hair artists, location, etc.).Cynthia Lo: As a photographer, how do you find inspiration? Do you have a favourite photographer? Who is s/he and why?
Thierry Brouard: I actually don’t really inspire myself from other photos, I go to museums and exhibitions and they probably have influences on me, but I rather find inspiration from life. Either going around and snapping things that I find appealing, or going to adventures and think about subject that would be worth talking about.Cynthia Lo: Where do you get your ideas each time when you work for different projects? Could you share with us your working style? For instance, the process of an art project you’re doing.
Thierry Brouard: When I shoot advertisement or fashion, I first try to find general ideas with the clients, and discuss it with my partner and my artistic director, and end up with a ideas drafts for each look. Then I improvise based on the interactions I’ll have with the model, and input from the rest of the team.Cynthia Lo: I know you now live and work in L.A. When and why did you decide to move from Paris to Cali? Is that because it’s closer to Hollywood? Hah! Have you found what you wanted there yet?
Thierry Brouard: Yes, I just moved here, I just love the weather in California, and since I shoot mostly on location, it’s very important to have dry and warm weather all year round ! And well, since I do movies and music videos, Hollywood is a really good place be. I’m still building my brands there, but I’m happy with what I’ve done so far!Cynthia Lo: I find it amazing that you’ve participated in some Hollywood projects, like working with the musician Wendy Starland for her music video. How did you find each other? What did you actually do? And are there any other projects that you’re currently handling or will be participating in?
Thierry Brouard: We met through Kent Speakman, at one of his Fameus event in Hollywood, for people in the entertainment industry to connect with each other. Fameus is actually a social network dedicated for this, and the events help meet the people in real. When I met Wendy, I showed us the videos we’ve done with Lucca, and so she decided to hire us. I went through the different music she was going to release, and we both agreed to work on “Home”, and developed the concept together. I filmed and directed her music video of “Home”. I have many ongoing projects, we are going to release our short movie shortly at international film festivals, and I’m working with Tricia Danieli on an other music video. I am preparing several exhibitions and one photo book… Also, we are working on major publications worldwide, and I just came back from Paris Fashion Week where I was working for a magazine, and the designers loved my photos, so I will probably work for couple of them next year… many projects.
Thierry Brouard: I don’t see myself stopping photography, but I’m already doing lot of other things, as for films, I want to do full length feature movies, as well as being on the other side of the camera ! On an other note, I’m working as a chef and give healthy cookings classes, and I am working on opening my French Vegan Fusion Restaurant. But I also want to create my own clothes and accessories lines, and I have already ideas I’m developing with my stylist and designer.I found Thierry has a very positive attitude for life, whether in his professional or personal life, meticulous, steadfast and consistent in his efforts to make it happen. Also, being kind and willing to help people is one of the impressions Thierry gives to me. I guess this is why Thierry has so many friends who always support him whenever he is in a bind. Moreover, I am a person who is surrounded by a lot of veggie friends, and Thierry is one of them who has talked to me quite a lot about health issues based on his biological education-background. I got the feeling that I may soon become a veggie since being a vegetarian is one of my life goals, and I’ve been fortunate enough to receive inspiration from the right people. (Photographer: Cynthia Lo / Post-production: Thierry Brouard)
Called: Thierry Brouard
Location: California, U.S.
Occupation: Photographer/ Director
Set: Sheung Wan, H.K.