Nomadic Lens

Acclaimed French photographer Frédéric Lagrange distills wisdom gleaned while roving the world

May 20, 2008
Outside Magazine

1. Follow Your Heart: The more you give in to passion, the more it gives back. Go to places with rich histories, places to which you feel intrinsically tied. It's important to feel strongly for a place, to understand the history and its effect on people. I'm fascinated with Asia. My whole soul is just attracted to it. I spend six to eight months a year traveling and I always make the East a priority.

2. Stay on the Move: Whenever I travel, I take two medium-format Pentax 6x7's [made 1969–75; check eBay and Craigslist] with me—one black-and-white, the other color. I have about ten of them at home. They break pretty easily, but I love them. I've been shooting with this camera since I started taking photos, seven years ago. It's lightweight, and the lighter you are, the freer you are.

3. Composition Is Key: Shots need to be well balanced, but contrast is more of a style choice. When you start shooting, you need to shoot and shoot. You need to look at your own work and make sure it meets your own expectations. Don't compare your work with anyone else's. It's art; it's subjective.

4. Go Before It's Gone: See rapidly changing places like Mongolia. The Soviets left in 1989, and the country has been advancing ever since. The evolution has been incredible. It's upgrading, improving, and trying to catch up with the pace of the rest of the world. Mongolians are becoming westernized. The countryside is changing, too. It'll be gone soon.

5. Ditch the Sidekick: I love to travel with my girlfriend, but when I work, I go by myself. I'm more open and observant. I take more chances and become more involved in the culture.

Filed To: Photography

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