22 May 2024
Extraordinary Expat: Virginie Garcia, Photographer of Life
Art Culture Extraordinary Expats

Extraordinary Expat: Virginie Garcia, Photographer of Life

YLC’s Hedir had the chance to interview Stockholm-based French photographer Virginie Garcia. She tells about how she got into photography and what she feels is most important when taking pictures.

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Can you tell us a little bit about you and your work?

I’m French and I live in Sweden! I’m a photographer of life. I take pics with my heart and not only with my eyes. I feel first and then I shoot. Photography has been a life-long hobby for me. Actually, I’ve always been THE photographer for the family, for friends, for friends of the family, for the friends of friends… When I was yet a teenager, back in the 80s, photography was either reserved for the wealthy people or for the artists. So, I studied psychology and communication instead. But my mum who has always understood me gave me my first (and for her expensive) camera. I was just 16 years old. It was then too late, the virus entered definitively my body. I decided to run my own business here in Sweden two years ago, although I’ve been taking pics for 30 years now. These are the same pics, the only difference today is that I live with and for it.

 

If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet, where would you build your dream home?

In Australia. Queensland more exactly, Cairns, just to have the Great Barrier Reef in front of me.

 

What sort of work do you specialize in?

I love street photography. I have a background in journalism. When I was studying at the University in Bordeaux, I used to work as a freelance photographer for a newspaper in order to pay my studies. Today and after so many years I’m specialized in portraits, travel photography (I collaborate for instance with the gorgeous First Class Magazine), corporate photography and events. But because I love meeting people I photograph weddings, families and newborn babies as well.

 

How would you describe your style?

Life in all its different aspects. This involves all types of pictures. What I try to express through my pictures is the fabulous, sparkling energy of life, feelings and contrasts. In fact, I love contrasts.

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What type of cameras do you shoot with?

I’m a Canon photographer, since the beginning. My first camera was a simple Canon T60, analogue. Now I shoot with a Canon EOS 6D, full frame. But the camera is not the most important (if you have a full frame one and almost 12 mpix), but the lenses of course. 

 

How important is Photoshop in your final images?

I would lie if I said that I don’t edit my pics. Yes, I retouch them, even if I try to do it as little as possible. Today every professional picture is edited. I use more Lightroom in my daywork than Photoshop. I use Photoshop when I have very special orders.

 

What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?

Well, first thanks for the compliment. As long as I can remember I have been a curious person. As a child I loved to open, disassemble things just to see how they worked and how they were built. The idea is that everything is a subject to photography. It can be a very beautiful landscape on a remote island in the Andaman Sea or a simple snow ball in your garden here in Sweden. My inspiration comes from Life.

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What has been your most memorable assignment and why?

I believe it was the first assignment. I was 19 years old (studying psychology) and I tried to enter the very closed photo department of the biggest regional newspaper in Bordeaux, France. I remember that the department manager looked at me as if I were an alien… He threw a film at me and just said “go out on the street and bring me 36 good pictures in two hours, and we can start talking after that”

At this time digital photography didn’t exist. You had to take pics first, and then develop them in a black room, which normally took more time than he gave me, and he knew that…

 

And what happened?

Well, I got the job! In this branch you need to know how your camera works, but the most important is the attitude, how you watch things, your view angle and how you feel. It is not a matter of knowing things, but how to be. 

 

Where would be your dream destination for an assignment?

Just now when it’s so cold I would say the Maldives. There is a lot to photograph there, especially when it comes to underwater photography. But I have so many destinations I would like to capture, like the Great Wall of China, or the Titicaca Lake in Peru.

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What is your favorite image you have shot? Can you describe its creation in regards to location, composition etc., also your thoughts when creating the image and what it means to you?

It was a group of dolphins on the East Cost of Australia. We went for a dive in a natural and wild environment, not sure we would meet them. Then after several hours of looking everywhere, they came to us, just to playing and having fun. I captured the pic I was waiting for, I was like a five-year-old child who met Santa Claus.

 

What do you think of the photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?

Today photography is taking a new direction. It begun several years ago with the transformation from the analog world to the digital one. The big thing presently is the technique to succeed in improving motion in a pic without it being a movie i.e. the technique of creating timelapse or cinemagraphs for exemple.

 

A photographer who inspires you?

Yann Arthus-Bertrand and not only because he is French!

 

A website and/or blog you visit often?

First Class Magazine (www.firstclassmagazine.se)

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Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?

I would love to contribute positively to the animal world. I mean to do pics that help the animals’ cause. There are so many animals suffering everyday. To show pictures can help to understand how cruel or inconsiderate human-beings are to the fauna…

 

Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?

I would have started my company earlier as I realize today how much fun it is instead of sitting in an office 9-17 with a lot of paper-work and unnatural light. 

 

Where can our readers find out more about you?

You can find out more about me and my work:

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Why have you chosen to live in Sweden of all countries?

Love! Ha, ha, ha, yes why Sweden when you come from France? Actually my wife is half Swedish half French. We met in France 16 years ago and decided to move to Sweden where she grew up. We did it 7 years ago and it is one of the best things we have done. I learned Swedish, had finally the opportunity to run my business and to be a happy French-Swede. But the most important thing is the birth of our son Axel, 4 years old today and with so much energy.

 

 

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