The snap of a camera shutter and the image is captured for life. Sounds simple enough but like everything that captures life, it takes patience, attention to detail, passion and above all else, talent and skill to make sure your image speaks to the soul! In the competitive world of professional photography you are only as good as your last photograph and if that picture continues to stir the soul of all view it, then it is safe to say you have arrived. illVibes photographer Tristan Edouard, a 27-year-old Sydneysider (of Mauritian and Polish descent) is in a league of his own and possess this kind of appeal with his unique and moving images of some of the most celebrated Hip Hop artists that have graced our shores, placing him as a firm favourite in the Australian urban community as the “ Hip Hop” photographer in the scene. His website www.illvibes.com.au showcases his work in its finest form, highlighting his obvious talent, impeccable images and solidifying a future that is looking, well, real bright!
How long have you been a professional photographer? What was the muse / inspiration to make you want to become a photographer?
I think full time professional a couple of years now. Pretty much I never waned to work a 9-5 and I would always carry a little point and shoot camera around from when I was a young teenager. I’d carry the camera to document all the cool and crazy stuff that happens as a teenager, none of my friends too photos so I wanted a way to remember things so they weren’t all lost memories. So it all naturally progressed from that.
How you would best describe your method / style of photography? What sets you apart from the other photographers out there?
That’s a tough one, I’ve been told its raw, real and slightly edgy, I guess I’d have to agree with those descriptions. Work ethic is what sets me apart from ever the other photographers out there, I’m working from the moment I wake up to the time I sleep and I’ve sacrificed a lot for photography and have a solid plan of where I want to head with it.
You have gained a lot of respect and business in the Hip Hop scene in Australia with your shots of the various artists that have toured – how did you break into the scene and what do you most enjoy about capturing Hip Hop artists in action as opposed to any other music genre?
I spent a lot of my younger years in the clubs from about 16 and was involved in the music scene as a DJ and doing a radio show etc so I got a lot of the contacts from there before I even started taking photos. The best is that a lot of these people are artists that I grew up listening to so I feel like I have a personal connection to it, as if I know them already through their music.
Have you ever had to pinch yourself whilst photographing an artist and say “wow I can’t believe I am capturing this person”?
Not during because when I’m shooting I kind of transform into robot work mode, but sometimes every few months I will afterwards. It happens those times when you slow everything down and you realise you’re actually living your dreams from a few years ago, but those old dreams have already been replaced and you are chasing the next set of dreams which are a few years away again, so I don’t think you ever catch up.
What are your typical hours of work a day and how busy are you from week to week between photo shoots, portrait work etc.?
Hours of work are 24/7. Running your own business never ends, there’s always something to do and it never ends. Honestly though, only a tiny percentage of a week is spent actually taking photos, the rest is prep/office work etc. Pretty much from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to sleep I’m doing something related to photos and if I’m not then I’m thinking about it in my mind.
Your website, illvibes.com.au is amazing and truly showcases your unique talent for capturing your subjects with an edge! What is your favourite type of photography that you enjoy and could do more than anything else?
That’s hard to pick because I enjoy everything I shoot, as long as I have my camera with me. But probably my favourite would be city shots, I could pretty much shoot cityscape skyline photos every single day. For me there’s something special about finding a hidden view overlooking an entire city that no one really knows about. There’s also something calming about watching a massive and busy city from a quiet spot, just gives me a good feeling inside.
Are you a Hip Hop music fan? Who are your favourite artists that serve as a source of inspiration to you?
Yeah I have been since I was about 12, hip hop plays a huge part in my inspiration. DMX, Immortal Technique and Jay Z. All artists who have come from not much and defied the odds and stood for something and aren’t afraid to express themselves how they feel.
What are the highs / lows of professional photography?
Creating something from nothing, creative freedom and the ability to express myself through photos are the best highs. Not knowing where the next job is coming from and not having a solid weekly income is a slight low at times. The lows don’t really matter because 99% of the time I’m just grateful I do something I love for a job so I don’t focus on any negatives.
If you weren’t a photographer what do you think you would be?
I would have more than likely been involved in something music/artist related. I’ve never been a typical 9-5 guy and I’ve spent a lot of time in the music scene so I’d assume it would have to be something related.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years from now?
5 years from now I want to be living in between Sydney and New York and constantly travelling for work. The plan is to move into more music/celebrity portraiture and editorials and keep pushing my landscapes. I should be on a world class level by then and really on top of my game.
For more information on Tristan and Illvibes visit: www.illvibes.com.au