Meet the Artist: Aurelien Essaidi
- Where’d it all start?
I started photography when I had to stop University for health reasons. It gave me a reason to get out and to keep learning. I’m an introvert and, as I started getting good, I found a new voice in taking pictures and a role at social gatherings.
- Favorite photo you’ve taken and why?
Probably the one I took from my apartment’s window with a sunset as a background for a tornado of birds. I love it because it could have been taken anywhere in the world but it happened in the very place I am writing those lines. Good thing my camera is always out and ready.
- Where do you want to shoot next?
I want to feel good enough to be able to shoot anywhere, to go out for more than an hour and get lost in nature, a street, a country. My health situation made me a known photographer and I only need a few hours to create a ton of good pictures but I wonder how it would feel to be free with my camera in the wild... to be able to work on a strong project with continuity.
- Craziest moment you’ve had while shooting or traveling for a shoot?
Uber sent me travelling through Europe for two weeks with 8 cities to photograph (In France, Swiss and Austria). I lost my credit card during the first day (and had no cash)… Luckily I had already booked transportations between cities and places to sleep in. I ate only in places I could pay for online and walked a lot… I think I did a good job though, all things considered. It was my first job as a photographer.
- Favorite photographer / artistic inspiration?
I really like photographers that just seem to be roaming around capturing mundane things with a particular eye. Documentary photography with no goals in mind, most of the time, like Ernst Haas, William Eggleston, Saul Leiter or Vivian Meier did in their time. Then there are people that use the camera the same way, but got closer to people and captured generational gaps and feelings, like Gordon Parks or Mary Ellen Mark. When it comes to contemporary photographers I like the work of Ian Howorth and Patrick Clelland. My own photography is very different at the moment, but that’s the kind of work I’d like to move towards in the future.
- Favorite book, TV show, or movie from the past year?
I’d say the Bluest Eyes - Toni Morrison (not recent but I’ve read it this year) for the book, Small Axe for the TV show (hard choice, TV is getting good), and Minari for the movie (I’m always a few years late when it comes to movies, but that’s one I caught in time).
- Last meal on earth? (food, setting, people, etc.)
Chicken Tagine with my family, and a lot of moroccan bread.