Is a fulltime freelance photographer born in France. Currently going to and from the United States where he and his girlfriend balances life on the road.
Francisque is a vagabond at heart. He doesn’t follow the norm, nor does he chase what others already have done. Since I first learned about Francisque I’ve come to realize that I to have a very similar outlook on life. Feeling most at home, most at peace when out on the road.
He’s come to be a person that I’ve come to look up to. He taught himself photography as a young boy. Shooting 35mm film on a borrowed Praktica MTL3 and this, the nostalgia-feel film gives, have in my eyes have come to be a red thread throughout his work.
Francisque suggested that you listen to: The Dead Tongues - Stained Glass Eyes While reading this interview
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I grew up in a coal miners town in northeastern France with not much nature around me, my parents used to take me to parks as much as possible, mushroom hunting in the forest with my dad who taught me how to use a film camera when I was just old enough to talk.
I would borrow his Praktica MTL3 loaded with a 35mm roll, I could shoot 36 frames with a roll and I tried each time to capture what I thought was interesting to me on school trips, holidays and such.
Turning eighteen I quit school to work and earn some money, I worked in an electrical components factory for a few months, come my first salary I went straight to my local camera store and bought myself my first digital reflex camera.
I would go up before work to a nearby park and try to take photos of the red squirrels living in the tall pine trees, then some the landscapes on my way home at dusk.
These moments where the only ones I would genuinely feel happy during the day, I found this was worth pursuing, kept working and shooting on and off, traveled some more then decided to go full time and travel some more, more freely.
Where did you grow up and how did it shape you as an artist?
I grew up in a busy city in eastern France, full of industries and factories surrounded by fields and farms. It definitely pushed me to seek nature as it never was part of my daily life.
Why do you make images?
I honestly don’t think I can live without capture the beauty around me, it also has a lot to do with the nostalgia of looking back to the places I’ve been, adventures and misadventures, they all shape a smile on my face when I look back at these.
Besides photography, do you have any other creative outlets you’re into?
I actually have a lot of hobbies.. too much perhaps. The one thing I love to do the most asides from making images and working on my car would be woodworking. I started six years ago, carving small spoons with a straight knife then expanded my tool-bag with some hook knives (From Sweden!) and make teaspoons jam spreaders and all kinds of utensils, it’s pretty fun and very therapeutic for me, I grab my axe, my tools and head for my favorite forest, carve wood until dusk then back home.
What’s the up’s and down’s of working as an full-time photographer?
More downs than ups honestly, BUT they’re no match for the big UP, Freedom that is, being free to go wherever you want whenever you want for as long you want to. The downs are the common entrepreneur hussle, finding clients, finding a balance, finding a consistency in your work schedule while still having fun while doing so.
You call yourself a French hillbilly, could you talk a little bit about that?
Hillbilly: an unsophisticated country person, associated originally with the remote regions of the Appalachians.
I’m a simple guy, I don’t ever want to become more than that.
I enjoy the simple things in life and try to make more with less, currently living off the Appalachian trail in Central Pennsylvania, USA. I found that it was fitting, I also enjoy Bluegrass and old Folk music which songs are often about hillbillies having some good old time.
When and where do you feel the most happy?
Whenever I feel like I’m right where I should be, wherever the light is soft and the world quiet.
Whenever I feel loved.
What makes you go up in the morning?
The light, it’s simply magical how it can change a scene in a matter of second and I simply don’t want to miss this show.
How do traveling incorporate in the way you shoot?
My photos are an extension of my travels, they accompany the adventures and landscapes I find myself at. It generally feels more natural to document the moving parts of my life more than the resting ones
You have a very unique style, and I rarely see you post images from places one seen before on the internet, is this a conscious decision, to seek the road less traveled?
YES, I find the idea of going to the same places and doing the same thing everyone else is doing boring and totally uncreative, don’t get me wrong I try to avoid the cliché frame most times but it’s not always successful and the waterfalls around the bend could”ve probably made a bigger impact than the trees I decided to capture and highlight in my images but then again, it’s a choice. I know what the surroundings are and that’s enough, I like to imagine people can see more than what’s in the frame, besides it’s funny to turn your back to the most photographed spots sometimes.
What’s your take on social media as a photographer? Positives? Not so good ones?
Social Media, I’m only gonna talk about Instagram.. It’s a love and hate relationship. As an artist, it’s sometimes..often frustrating, especially when the commercial aspect of things rules the game.
Other than that, it’s awesome! I’ve been meeting incredible people, had a roof over my head while traveling in the winter cold pretty much everywhere just because of the diversity in the people following my adventures on Instagram and their willingness to help a fellow traveler if only for a night or share a meal, having a chat and so on.
I’ve found new places to explore and got in on some local hidden ones. Only good when it comes down to my interactions there, people have an understanding of my lifestyle and sorta know me before we even meet so it makes things easy I suppose.
What important life lessons have the road taught you so far?
It taught me that there’s beautiful people with incredible stories to tell all over this world for us to meet. That nothing is ever too far. That gasoline has a price but it pays off in the end. That it’s okay to get lost sometimes. That you have to let go of some of your fears to really enjoy this life. That if you want to wake up early and sleep in a camper/van just park somewhere you’re not supposed to and someone will probably knock on your door the morning after.
What inspires you to create?
Cinematography, I’m obsessed with the light and composition that makes a great frame in movies and I like to think about my images like still frames from a movie I would like to watch over and over again.
Do you ever struggle with motivation, if so, how?
Of course, I do, I wish I was constantly motivated but sadly it isn’t the reality, like most artists I’m drowning in my own unmotivational thoughts and it’s sometimes hard to get out of this bad funk. But, it all eventually changes and there I’m off again.
You told me that, at the moment you’re building a camper van? Is this something you gone live in full time? Can you talk a little bit about the process of this, also, what made you want to like that? Have you done it before?
Correct, I’m currently working on a 2017 Mercedes Sprinter van that I’ll be living on and off in as it’ll stay in the United States. The goal is being able to fit everything necessary for my girlfriend to distill essential oils on the road with her electric copper still. I’ll be taking photos along the way and documenting our journey at the same time.
I’ve lived for close to six years in a little 1996 Honda Civic hatchback retrofitted into a lightweight camper.
It’s pretty funny to see.
I feel at ease when I’m rolling, constantly moving as I see fit.
Any advice for people who wants to grow in their creative process?
Find inspiration in your everyday life, it can be literally anything! Find what you love and let it consume you.