Ludovic Codazzi is a photographer based at Rennes, France. He graduated from Ecole de l’Image – CCIP in Paris in 1992 and currently works as a Communication Manager. Most of his work consists of travel photography. Ludovic likes to shoot cityscapes and urban architecture a lot. More recently he began to using an iPhone and images (the first ten square ones) are all very impressive. Despite the language barrier, I decided to feature some of his work and pose some general questions to Ludovic and his responses are as under:
My father introduced me to photography at a young age. We had a room at home dedicated to the lab work of black and white photography. We used to do all the developing, printing, masking, framing etc. My father had cameras brought from the countries of Eastern Europe: Praktica, Zenith, etc … Those were robust, efficient, and perfect to start shooting. As soon as I could, I bought my own camera – a 24×36, and an optical 50mm/f2.8 and a small black and white enlarger. I do not know if I ever wanted to be a photographer… I always made pictures and I always looked around, thinking about taking a photo. Then I joined Ecole Des Gobelins in Paris, and I learned professional photography, graphic design visual communication… a complete universe that suit me.
For a few years after I graduated, I spent less time in photography because I was busy with my job as a Graphic Designer. When I came back to the house of my grandfather, I rediscovered it after his death and I wanted to keep a souvenir with my vision of this unique place. Images, atmosphere, light, solitude and a void which were then a part of the house. So I took a camera again and since then I have not stopped.
I like the image in general, so I struggle to make it just an image out of the ordinary. For my job, I manage advertising photoshoots with models or products, reports and some outdoor films. For my personal work, I work the same way: sometimes in the studio, I like the precise lighting and precise composition, a total control on image and the time it takes to materialize and refine. On the contrary I love the immediacy of street photography, where we let ourselves go by chance, solitude, wandering, meeting with a place, a moment… which sometimes takes a few seconds and you need to know to catch or pass by. Wandering alone and watch, then begin to look for a capture.
In street photography, I photograph mainly during my travels or my business trips. These are moments for the discovery. So there is much room for spontaneity in my approach to shooting. I do not set myself a goal, no preparation. I photograph after watching and watching. I shoot one or two pictures of the same scene but the first is almost always the right (99% of the times), it is the intensity of spontaneity I think. The first look, the first inspiration, the first frame, the first instinct, the first emotion is essential… as in life. I try to bring a simple but a different look, a sensitivity, a memory of a moment to give importance to the forms and places. I observe the space and emptiness, to illustrate this loneliness that we all dread and which touches me particularly.
I work with digital cameras Nikon D300 and D3. For the street photography, I opt for the lightweight and discreet of the D300, always with a fixed 35mm/f2.8 (= 50mm 24×36). Lightweight equipment, a simple and unique lens that forces me to focus myself on the framing and find the right distance from the subject. Without artifice, without effect. Reality – as it is. A lens that is the same as my eye, my vision. I like this simple principle. Since one year, I work with my iPhone too. I’ve created a special section called “à temps partiel” on my website. With the iPhone, I found what I like: immediacy, simplicity, sensitivity with, moreover, the opportunity to practice everyday. No need to have a reflex camera with you. I always opt for a square format and I prefer a black and white treatment for a more contrastive picture, more direct. You can see those images in my Instagram.
I work in RAW. I make no retouching. Only a few exposure settings and some cropping of my photos. The key for me is to shoot. Always the same principle of spontaneity. No post-production in my work.
What do you think are the significant and challenging Most aspects of your photography?
I can describe it this way:
- The look – To bring a new vision, revealing the sensitivity of a place, of an atmosphere, an architecture, a moment …
- The look – A look that builds my memory, shares and generates feelings, sensations, opinions…
- The look – The requirement of framing, the rigorous lines, the graphical approach…
I do not really have a favorite picture, it’s pretty hard to select one of his one’s own pictures I think… I would say that a pictures that symbolizes perhaps my work and looks like my signature image, is the first picture of my series “Rotterdam”. It evokes an architecture but without glorifying it. A graphical picture with sharp and direct lines, patterns. It lets us absorb ourselves in its details. It is deserted and yet life is out there somewhere just behind. It has this northern light that I like: warm and slightly contrasted.
I am very impressed with the quality of the images I see, by the sensibility of some photographers. The generation that comes with this very graphic vision that touches me, it’s a renewed modernity. Among them I really appreciate the works of the photographer Matthias Heiderich.
Are you planning to bring out a photobook as well?
I am working to prepare a book about the cities I’ve visited. The current working version can be seen on my website. And I have already published a specimen copy. This book is a synthesis of my travels… This project allows me to offer a kind of travelogue, with no text or narration but by associating with each pair of side-by-side pictures with the goal that this complementary duo will begin a story. It is a kind of interaction, a dialogue between the two images. This kind of form I think will contradict with a conventional reportage.
My picture process is moving slowly towards new territories and more to the outdoor photography in particular. I work on various projects on the relationships between the face and the body of a person. But these are only plans for the moment… And it will take me some time to see them succeed. I will also continue to travel, discover new places and especially… continue to look.
Please share your favorite stuff: photographers, quotes, films, music etc.
Here are some photographers that I particularly appreciate for their vision, their universe and their approaches both aesthetically direct and intimate: Stephen Shore, Saul Leiter, Harry Gruyaert, Raymond Depardon, Jeanloup Sieff, Guy Bourdin, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Jacques-Henri Lartigue (Life in color).
Say something to our readers or aspiring photographers:
Looking, looking again, and keep looking.