Canadian photographer Renaud Lafrenière’s latest series ‘Apprendre à Danser’ (French for ‘learning to dance’) is a picturesque allusion to ‘coming of age’ and growing up. This documentary-like personal project about wandering and observing is also about search, finding oneself in nature, and building a lasting memory.
About: I was born in Montréal, Canada, in a big family of bohemians. I studied photography in College before continuing in BFA Photography at Concordia University in Montréal, and I’m entering my third and last year in a few weeks.
I started photography as a hobby beside school, where I was first thought that architecture was my thing. But, there was too much maths, and my love for photography grew, I switched in College. Since then I never regretted my decision, I’ve been exploring photography thoroughly, and I still discover a lot every day.
Photography: My photography is very personal. I’m working around the main themes of wandering, evolution, romanticism and social codes. My work is primarily inspired from intimate and personal stories that I deconstruct, break, and re-formulate into open and sensible narratives.
I’ve been away from home for the last eight months, which changed a bit my photographic practice. I was out and about for 5 months in the northeast part of Finland, and produced a lot of work there. This work ‘Apprendre à Danser’ (French for ‘learning to dance’) was shot over there. It is a photo-series constructed on the themes of wandering, discovery and travel. It pictures an urge to make significant imagery that will help warm emotions travel in this cold and austere place. ‘Apprendre à Danser’ is simply about growing up, being confronted to this adult ‘real’ life, and trying to make my way through it.
I also have a new (and first!) zine coming… It should be out there in a month or so. I’m excited about it!
Influences: My influences in photography is quite broad. One of the artists I return to a lot is Alec Soth. His projects are all so strong and I love how he thinks in terms of photography. He’s out there producing in so many mediums, it’s really impressive. The guy’s even on Snapchat. I also like Rinko Kawauchi’s soft imagery, her focus on details. Her work is so sensible.
Recently I bought this book Fire in Cairo by Matthew Connors. It’s superb imagery and very well toned depiction of the situation there, and the edit is just brilliant. Masahisa Fukase is also in my favorites, but his books are too expensive. In photography I think I’ve always been very interested in everything between documentary and fine arts, I look at a lot of stuff from all around. If it means anything, I also realized recently I’m quite influenced by music and literature when I produce my work. It’s interesting!