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Behind the Lens of Old-School Photographer Fred Aufray

Creative Mapping met up with Paris-based photographer Fred Aufray at the infamous Café de Flore to talk about his career in fashion photography and beyond. Go with Fred Aufray to FIAC or Paris Photo and he'll probably have a thing or two to say about the ultra-photo shopped images on display. In a world where digital rules, this French photographer takes an old school approach to his work and is adamant about a photograph needing to bring out emotions in order to be effective as a work of art. Finding modern too style digital and with far too much retouching or "no skin" as he puts it, Fred Aufray turns away from special effect photography. He began his creative career at the prestigious Louis Lumière school of photography in Paris where he earned his degree, after which he went on to photograph in London, New York and Paris where he assisted renowned fashion photographer Paolo Roversi.

Fred Aufray has shot for magazines such as Italian Vogue, Dazed & Confused, GQ, Jalouse, Tank, British Vogue, Sunday Times, Wallpaper, Spoon and French Elle; an impressive roster made even more impressive by his work on European campaigns including Le Printemps, Repossi, Dice Kayek, Maboussin, Monoprix, Bocage, Nexcare and Etam.

"I dont recognize the style of the photography in the galleries. For me its too digital, with too much retouching there is no skin. There is too much concept but not real photo with emotion, reality with too much variety." Fred Aufray

Aufray's work extends beyond the realm of high fashion editorials and campaigns as he is also admired within the photography community for his female nude series which have been shown in exhibitions throughout Paris, Lyon and Brussels. Included in this series is "Chickclick" a traveling exhibition between Boston, Munich and Zurich, which was organized by the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. In 2001, his nude photographs were published in his book entitled Nu. Creative Mapping delves into Fred's personal work, his preference of film over digital, his creative process shooting with negative film, his upcoming projects, and his views on photography today.

Creative Mapping is celebrating the Art of Photography throughout this July 2014 issue with a variety of photographers all with a different approach.


"I shoot using negative and film, I want to show the difference with no retouching and negative." Fred Aufray

CM: Can you tell us about your view on photography today in general?
I do a lot of exhibitions, maybe twenty a year. Actually, when I go to the FIAC or to Paris Photo I don’t recognize the style of the photography in the galleries. For me it’s too digital, with too much retouching there is no skin. There is too much concept but not real photo with emotion, reality with too much variety.

Now in the big gallery I see too much special effect photoshop and concept, but not enough real pictures. That’s why I prefer this new exhibition and new book and the negative. I think for the people who buy pictures it’s better to have negative and real print than digital.

CM: Do you work internationally or more in Paris?
Now it’s more in Paris and Milan at this time. Before I worked more in New York, and I did an exhibition there, at Princeton University. Now I’m focusing on Paris because I’m based here so it’s easy. I have a collection in Germany, Spain, Italy and Paris so I prefer to work more in Europe, and I’ll see after about working in China as I’d work in like to do an exhibition there.

CM: Has the global recession impacted on your work?
I was in New York in 2007, then I came back to Paris; then in 2009-2010 the crisis started there and in one year I took less work but now it’s better for me, it’s working better.

CM: What’s your next project?
I’m creating work for a new exhibition, I started a couple of months ago. It’ll take time because I want to shoot fifty picture of sisters. It’s called “Sisters”; I’ll be shooting twin sisters and groups of sisters for a statement about the intimacy between sisters.

CM: What camera do you use?
I shoot using negative and film, I want to show the difference with no retouching and negative.

CM: Have you ever encountered a creative block?
Not really a creative block ever, but when my mother died 10 years ago, for one year I did only one movie, and I stopped fashion as I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it.

CM: What tip would you give a young photographer?
Just get out there and shoot, shoot very day!

CM: Do you shoot everyday?
I try! Haha that’s why I shot outside of fashion. I need to shoot personal work but the work will stay later.

Creative Mapping © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Photography © Copyright: Fred Aufray.

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