What’s artful, vibrant, and French all over? Antoine Doyen‘s photography. The Parisian photographer has a sharp technical skill set and an eye for color, texture, and tone that’s strikingly apparent in his portraiture work. After working with us on his print portfolio, Antoine came back for a Web Edit of his corporate and editorial portfolios. Antoine has had the pleasure of photographing some seriously famous faces—from Jessica Chastain, to Ryan Gosling, to Tilda Swinton—however, I made sure it wasn’t just a celebrity name, but rather compositional power that made the biggest impact.
Unlike genres of photography that rely heavily on the power of series, portraiture often leads to one-off types of portfolios. There are exceptions to this of course, but sometimes even just two photos of the same person can feel redundant. For this reason, portraiture galleries can sometimes be difficult to edit into a cohesive unit, as it depends on the photographer’s shooting style and color/texture choices to create a common thread between various subjects and environments. In this respect, Antoine is ahead of the curve in that he has a highly developed photographic aesthetic that’s consistent throughout his work, regardless of the context.
On the technical side, his images are flawlessly executed with sharp focus, often using even lighting to cast a flattering glow on his subjects while simultaneously highlighting textures and rich colors. However, it’s the less tangible elements of his work that are the most impressive. A really talented portraiture photographer will capture something personal about his subjects—the “essence” of a person. Antoine has mastered this unteachable skill and through his photographs we are able to see qualities that vary with the individual along with a strong tone of authenticity throughout. Character is at the heart of portraiture, and in revealing something about a subject’s personality, we are able to learn something about the photographer who shot them.
For many photographers, corporate work can function as a steady source of income but it’s often not a genre used to flex creative muscles. A more restricted type of portraiture, capturing the essence of the subject is important in corporate, but there are specific characteristics that also need to be communicated in order be successful: intelligence, professionalism, sincerity, and competence to name a few.
Antoine is particularly adept at not relying on a seamless for his work, transforming otherwise ordinary offices into interesting and appealing work environments, giving a positive tone to the professionals occupying them. He is able to apply his own trademark style to give his corporate portraits further dimension with composition, setting his mostly monochrome subjects against color blocked backgrounds. This edit was fairly simple, and after coming up with a sequence we were both happy with, we moved on to editorial.
The images in Antoine’s editorial gallery are mostly vertical, so creating pairs with the occasional horizontal image was an easy choice; it was also one that Antoine’s web template would accommodate. Sorting through the work, I found groupings that complemented each other through line, texture, color, and shape. Being able to create fluidity across these compositional elements allowed me to not rely on the subjects for continuity, and instead, pair various people in different poses, framing, and environments.
This edit was also particularly enjoyable in a contextual sense as it opens with world famous faces and closes with a French inside joke that involves two political players. The enigmatic suited woman with the luminous smile is Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, an established leader for women’s rights and a rising star in France’s Socialist Party. The serious gentlemen that follows her is Dr. Jerome Cahuzac, plastic surgeon and former Jr. Minister for the Budget at the Ministry of Economy, Finance, and External Trade. This past spring, he resigned from his post and was officially excluded from the Socialist Party after admitting to tax fraud allegations. They’re opposite political personas, and in some regards, represent the past and (hopefully) future of French politics. Framing Vallaud-Belkacem by open doors is as symbolically appropriate as Cahuzac’s thinly veiled smile. Together they make for a cleverly satisfying close to the gallery—and to my edit.
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