Welcome to the second featured photographer in the Amateurs Series, a regular column that looks to place the spotlight on those who often don’t receive the attention that is deserved. Once again this week I’ve gone to the local photography community and am proud to introduce Guillaume Bouvier.

Guillaume, welcome to the blog. Can you start by giving a brief introduction to the readers?

I’m a French guy who currently lives in Taipei. I used to work in sales, about electronic products. My activity in Taiwan remains a mystery. Even to me.

How long have you been into photography?

I’ve started to really get interested in it about 5 years ago.

This is one of the pictures which got me started. I took it with my Canon point and shoot while I was retreated in a buddhist monastery, a couple of years ago. I felt like that picture was more powerful than my words to describe my experience there.

This is one of the pictures which got me started. I took it with my Canon point and shoot while I was retreated in a buddhist monastery, a couple of years ago. I felt like that picture was more powerful than my words to describe my experience there.

What got you started in photography?

My first contact was probably my father, who used to, when I was a little kid, take and develop his own photographs, with some exotic gears. As for me, my very first attempt was at school, as I was in an art school. While most students were busy at drawing and painting to tell their stories, I was sadly not talented with my hands, and had to find other ways to still have something to show. So I’ve started to take pictures and digitally process them as a homework. A couple of years later, I was hired to sell televisions and movie players. Some of my coworkers were cinephiles, thus interested in photography in movies, while we were neighbours with the photography booth. Amongst these guys, there was a film photography teacher, and one who quit to become a full time art photographer. They definitely got me interested in photography again. When I’ve decided to leave my country to live my great adventure, I’ve decided that photography will be my way to communicate, with my friends and family, but also with the local people as a universal way to tell my stories. The positive reception I got from my first trip’s pictures was overwhelming and got me started for good.

What kind of camera equipment do you use?

I’ve always been in digital camera only. I’ve learned the basics with a point and shoot Canon G11. Today, I use a full frame DSLR, it’s a Nikon D600. I only own prime lenses. A 14mm from Samyang, a Nikkor 28 mm ƒ/1.8, and a Sigma 85mm ƒ/1.4. I started to use my DSLR with my father’s vintage manual lenses, a Vivitar close-focus 24 mm and a Nikkor 50 mm, but I don’t use them much anymore, because they need a lot of light, aren’t that precise, require to change the settings every time I swap lenses, and there are too many situations where manual focus isn’t convenient at all. I’ve got a tripod but I almost never use it, and I don’t use any extra light source. Because it’s digital photography, I shoot in RAW format and develop the pictures through Lightroom. It’s a very important step in my process.

Probably one of my most "traditional" picture, which is a style I really love. I wish I could take more of these. Life and tradition.

Probably one of my most “traditional” picture, which is a style I really love. I wish I could take more of these. Life and tradition.

This picture was for me an attempt to reach the limits of my editing ability. I wanted to give the feeling of the Japanese urban craziness, and Kabuki-cho, the red light district of Tokyo, seemed to be the right place for that.

This picture was for me an attempt to reach the limits of my editing ability. I wanted to give the feeling of the Japanese urban craziness, and Kabuki-cho, the red light district of Tokyo, seemed to be the right place for that.

What styles / subjects do you feel most comfortable with?

I feel comfortable when nobody is watching or expecting anything. I like to take my time. I hate bothering people, and I can’t even remember how many situations and faces I refrained to shoot because I didn’t want to bother or offend people. I like cultural topics, so when I’m in a taoist parade, I feel in my element and can stalk it for many hours. I also like to work on geometry and texture.

Where do you see your photography going? Will it always be a hobby, or do you hope to make some money from it one day?

I honestly don’t know. I received many heartwarming praises, from family, friends, but also from random people on the Internet. Will it lead me somewhere ? I don’t know. I’d feel blessed to see my pictures elsewhere than in my home and my Instagram and Flickr. But I’d be scared to make it a real job, because I can’t control my inspiration at all, and I’m still far from knowing what shot will be worth showing before I actually see its potential during the post-processing phase.

I like to use black and white as a technique to reveal details and play with light. Here, it's definitely a way to underline the unusual texture of these traditional dried fruits.

I like to use black and white as a technique to reveal details and play with light. Here, it’s definitely a way to underline the unusual texture of these traditional dried fruits.

It's a reinterpretation of a urban view of Taipei city, showing the MRT (subway) station and the 101 tower. My goal was to make it look like all these architects' futuristic concepts which never look like the drawing once built. Actually, it does sometimes, but only from certain angles.

It’s a reinterpretation of a urban view of Taipei city, showing the MRT (subway) station and the 101 tower. My goal was to make it look like all these architects’ futuristic concepts which never look like the drawing once built. Actually, it does sometimes, but only from certain angles.

Are there any challenges you face when taking photos?

I am always scared of offending people so I really refrain myself a lot. Other than that, carrying a DSLR isn’t the most convenient thing. It’s heavy, and as soon as people notice it, they expect me to take great photos of everything, including themselves. That’s embarrassing, because I hate to take pictures of people waiting for me to adjust my settings, and expecting a great output. I’m also often surprised with people’s opinion about my pictures. When I ask to some friends which version of one shot they prefer, they almost always pick the one I’m about to ditch. I do that like looking for a validation, and it sends me back to the dark room. I usually follow their advice because I don’t ask them to ignore it afterwards. But still… I always wonder if it’s the right choice.

Is there anything else you wish to add?

I just want to thank you for featuring amateur’s work on your blog 🙂

And for my links :
Flickr is the main one.. I’m also on Instagram @yohmi, Tumblr and 500px.

This is the Paris opera, designed in a "second empire" style. This kind of picture reminds me why I carry that heavy bag all the time with me : it couldn't be achieved with my previous equipment. It was only possible thanks to a 14 mm lens on a full frame, sensitive enough to handle low light.

This is the Paris opera, designed in a “second empire” style. This kind of picture reminds me why I carry that heavy bag all the time with me : it couldn’t be achieved with my previous equipment. It was only possible thanks to a 14 mm lens on a full frame, sensitive enough to handle low light.

This was taken during one of the many taoist parades in Wanhua district (Taipei). I think we can almost hear it… at least, that was my purpose with that shot.

This was taken during one of the many taoist parades in Wanhua district (Taipei). I think we can almost hear it… at least, that was my purpose with that shot.

That wraps up the second in this series. If you want to be featured, just let me know. And don’t forget to follow Guillaume on Flickr, Instagram , Tumblr and 500px.