It is always interesting to talk to creatives who have several strings to their bow. Observing the links between two distinct media of expression allows us to learn more about the artist himself.
Quentin Fabiani is a filmmaker and photographer, two fields which, at first sight, seem inextricably linked but which allow him to create in a drastically different way, and thus help him to find a balance.
Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Quentin Fabiani, I come from the Bassin Minier of Northern France, I am a film director and photographer. I studied in Paris and moved to Montreal in 2015.
“I have an emotional, painful or happy relationship with each of my photographs.”
How did you start photography?
As a child, I had a lot of fun with my father’s video camera and my mother’s camera. My relationship with images quickly became obsessive. I spent a lot of time behind the viewfinder looking at my environment, and looking for a different perspective of the world around me.
You work mostly with film. What does this bring to your photography practice?
For personal projects, I work exclusively in analog. One day, a photographer friend ( Kalian Lo) forced me to put a film in the old Mamiya C330 who was collecting dust on my bookshelf. It changed my life, my relationship to the image was shaken.
“It was rather the movies that sharpened my sense of aesthetics.”
Imperfection, suspense, disappointment, surprise, discovery, all these emotions go through me between the moment I trigger and follow me until the moment I scan the negative. I have an emotional, painful or happy relationship with each of my photographs. Also, working on devices without photometric cells has forced me to considerably deepen my technical knowledge and sharpen my reflexes.
Did taking pictures help you refine the aesthetics of your movies?
It was rather the movies that sharpened my sense of aesthetics.
“When I work on my film direction, I leave very little room for the unexpected.”
Can you tell us about the role of photography in your vision as a director?
I try not to approach cinema and photography with the same mindset.
When I work on my film direction, I leave very little room for the unexpected. Film directing is a language and I strive to master this language as much as possible. On the contrary, spontaneity and the unexpected are at the heart of my approach to photography. Sometimes I take this discipline as an outlet, a place where anything can happen. I consider myself fortunate to be able to evolve in both disciplines with two opposing approaches.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Exclusively in people. I like to observe and try to capture people’s attitudes. I admire Winogrand, Meyerowitz, Depardon and Sabine Weiss for street photography. In cinema, my inspiration for composing my frames comes essentially from the music or the atmosphere that the set will create.
“Like any photographer, I try to provoke a reaction in the person looking at the shot.”
What do you want to communicate through your photos?
Like any photographer, I try to provoke a reaction in the person looking at the shot. I like strong emotions, I would like to be able to transcribe feelings or states such as fear, laughter, anger, violence, relief, grace through my photos.
However, it is very difficult for me to anticipate how some photographs will be perceived. Sometimes, a picture I am proud can leave the viewer completely indifferent. So I take back my place as an observer and leave it to the spectator to give their opinion on my work.
“Just as writers must read great authors, I would advise young filmmakers to watch the work of great directors.”
What advice would you give to young filmmakers?
Just as writers must read great authors, I would advise young filmmakers to watch the work of great directors. To be above all, cinephile and to shoot as much as possible, as often as possible, for any reason.
“I am currently writing my first feature film […]”
Do you have any projects in preparation that you can tell us about?
I am in the process of finalizing the post-production of a historical short movie shot in film and in English, which is set in Canada in 1819. The movie is called ”The end of Agawa River”. I am currently writing my first feature film, which I hope will be a French-Canadian co-production and will be shot on both continents.