Chic country style with Adobe Stock artist Philippe Marchand
Lifestyle photographer Philippe Marchand was born in a small countryside village in France.
“I was very, very far from the job I am doing now, very far from the very idea of being a photographer,” he said. “It's something I discovered as a teenager, and hasn't left me since, so I started taking photos and haven't ever stopped.”
Though inspiration for his photography career came from “far away,” his imagery retains the kind of idealized, pastoral wholesomeness that one might associate with small village life — people in country markets or enjoying sumptuous outdoor feasts — people in workshops, crafting rocking chairs or restoring antiques — people working fields. From country sunsets to seaside romps, craftspeople and farmers, families and newlyweds, Marchand’s subjects radiate ease, leisure and sincerity.
“I like, in fact, to create atmospheres where I would like to be,” Marchand says. “I want people to want to be in the scene. If you let the scenes unfold, you capture something real, That's it. There is nothing better. Capturing people in sublime scenes of ordinary life, scenes where there is nice light,and a unique atmosphere. Once the atmosphere is there, you forget about all that and can concentrate on the human and try to capture moments of emotion.”
Marchand works with his wife, Cécile, who is also a photographer, and helps to engineer their shoots.
“We love to be at the origin of the project, to meet the people, to know the demand, the project and to imagine the story,” he said. “For us, this is great. For the children, it's a little heavier. They hear a lot about photography.”
Marchand's family lives in Nantes, in the Loire Valley in France.
“The Loire is the river that flows near the city,” he says. “It's freedom. We are in the middle of the nature, we camp on the beaches, we make, campfires. It is really an immersion in nature. I love it.”
Then, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their ideal little world, and left Marchand's future as a photographer in jeopardy.
“We had a lot of professional projects that were canceled and frankly, we didn't really know what the future held for us professionally,” he said. “Time passed and we got a little bored and we had the idea to create photo productions between us [and our family].”
These images brough the lens inside the Marchand household, capturing moments with his wife and children, especially at the center of every French household: the kitchen.
“You know, for the French, food is very important and in fact a lot of the moments of life that we live together are around food,” he says. “So, creating these little stories, putting ourselves on stage, working with the lights as we usually do, it really made us feel good. At the beginning, the children were not necessarily very enthusiastic. But in the end, everyone put their heart into it and let's just say that it kept us very busy.”
The kids appear in a superhero series, that captures the imagination of, for example, a cinemograph of a little girl riding her tricycle to the moon with a paper rocket strapped to her back. Working with his children gave Marchand an opportunity to shoot exactly the kind of subjects he enjoys: people who are unaccustomed to modeling, and tend to be more natural around a camera.
“I particularly like working with people who have done very little photography,” he says, “and to create confidence, a complicity. To get people to trust you and also to let go. That's what I love about it. You hear people say ‘I'm not photogenic’ — no, no, it's not true. You put people in a nice context. You work with a reduced depth of field, with lenses that will open up a lot and magnify the actions. And the beauty just happens.”
Analog to digital
“When I started making pictures, Adobe Photoshop didn't exist, so I always retouched my images,” says Marchand. “And now it's such a comfort. I breathe Photoshop, it has become something that's totally natural. For me, this technical knowledge was essential as I wanted to control the final result. I needed to master the technique to get exactly what I wanted to achieve.”
Marchand's attention to detail shines through when it comes to light, depth of field, and staging, often utilizing vignetted focus and bokeh effects to center certain subjects against a background, and produce fun, twinkling lights in the background. While his Stock catalog features casual and light color imagery, some of his personal portfolios are in moody black-and-white, capturing details of a seafaring community, or the architectural nuance of Nantes.
Overall, ideas of freedom and self-sufficiency permeate Marchand's images and his process.
“Photographers are often quite lonely,” he says. “I think it's this notion of freedom of having only yourself to rely on. Stripping away the constraints. Do what you want to do, when you want to, when you can.”
“The pleasure for me and what brought me to Adobe Stock, is to do the productions from A to Z where I am the only decision maker,” he continues. “I think it comes from the fact that Adobe has been working with artists since the beginning and indeed, we feel it, we feel respected. It is truly a privilege. This is my motivation to continue producing quality images. And I am very, very happy to be a part of it.”