Thibault Roland, Artisan Of Imagery
"The goal of photography is to dissociate from reality, to create a new and wondrous world from what lies before my eyes."
Thibault is originally from France and currently based in Boston MA. He joined Sony Artisans of Imagery USA program in 2014.
Originally trained in Physics, this led him to his fascination with the interaction of light and the notion of time. His photographic specialties are in seascape and architecture.
He has developed his original style and art during his travels to numerous countries throughout Europe, North America and Africa. His scientific background pushed him to develop a fascination for light, as well as for the notion of time, and how they can be integrated and depicted in still images through long exposures.
He removes color and uses long exposures for his photographs, which he approaches as a canvas for his imagination. The digital processing techniques are just like a painter using his brushes to shape it to his style and mind eye.
About / Biography
Thibault’s strong scientific background pushed him to develop a fascination for light, how it interacts with materials, bounces off surfaces, as well as for the notion of time, and how it can be integrated and depicted in still images. It is therefore natural that he developed a passion for long exposure techniques and specializes in seascape, landscape and architecture photography.
Most of his work shows a world in black and white. This is not only because he has grown a passion for monochrome and classical photography; It is rather a way for him to dissociate his work from reality and bring up the beauty of an atmosphere, a situation, a way to focus on the essential, on a detail or an abstract vision that most people would dismiss.
In order to step further away from reality and bring the viewer into a new and ethereal world, he also developed approaches that combine exposure times of five to ten minutes long with the precise control and introduction of blur in some of his work, making it both singular and unique.
After capturing a new photograph, he approaches it as raw material, a canvas for his imagination. He uses digital processing techniques just like a painter his brushes in order to make the picture his, by imposing and developing his own style and inner vision. He considers this appropriation and creative process just as important as shooting in itself. It allows emotions to bloom, presence to infuse, and volumes to explode.
Thibault's work has been exhibited, awarded and published internationally by recognized fine art organizations and magazines such as the International Photography Awards, Prix de le Photographie de Paris, Chasseur d'Images, Landscape Photography Magazine, CameraPixo...
Describe the moment you knew photography changed your life
I really feel that photography changes and shapes my life every day. It is a journey made of constant adaptation and as such it is hard to find one particular moment. But a major moment for me was when I realized I could manipulate time and stretch it using long exposure techniques, transforming the world we see into something different, something more.
If you could sum up your work in one word or one sentence, what would that be?
Dissociate from reality.
What is the most remarkable person, place or thing you have ever photographed and why?
The Northern most tip of Newfoundland, Canada. At times of the year, this place becomes extremely wild, people seem to retreat to locations where the weather is better, and icebergs wash off the cost, creating quite literally mountains of ice. One has to feel humbled by this sight and situation. I enjoy quietness and solitude while photographing, and these are probably some of the best conditions for finding both.
Talk to us about your bucket list... what is on the top of that list of things to photograph?
Not really “things” per say, rather locations: the volcanoes, geysers and waterfalls of Iceland and Hawaii, the barren landscapes of the Lofoten, Faroe, Patagonia, or Scotland to name but a few. I’m also thinking more and more about integrating human elements to my photography… and maybe even do some portraiture.
If you had not become a photographer, what might you be today?
Definitely not as happy as I am now. Photography is a passion and not doing it would be like trying not to breathe… I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Give us your thoughts about the Global Imaging Ambassadors programme?
Working with Sony and contributing to the program is a wonderful opportunity for me. It is a great honour to be part of an adventure that allows me to team with people who are as passionate about photography as I am. I get to share my work and my experience with a vast audience, I meet with numerous other artists and the emulation drives us to give our best, to push further our skills, to develop projects together, and also improve the way cameras are designed by engineers and used by the public. This is something special, and I am grateful to Sony for gathering such a group of talented people to work on a common goal.
What is your favourite Sony camera of the moment (explain why)?
I love my Sony α7R and could never part from it. It is the sharpest camera I have ever used and takes full advantage of the resolution of the lenses available. The small and lightweight body makes it really nice to carry around, and the electronic viewfinder is a dream for long exposure photography. It is the ideal camera for a landscape (long exposure) photographer!
Your images are stunning and have a very particular style - how did you arrive at your style and why black and white?
I have been greatly influenced by some of the major classical landscape and street photographers and portraitists from the 20th century. Ansel Adams of course, as well as Doisneau, Brassai, Cartier-Bresson, and more obscure (Blanc and Demilly) or more recent photographers like Kenna, Sujimoto etc. Enjoying and studying these wonderful black and white artists must have rubbed on me… in a way.
More seriously, I consider that removing the colours of a picture is not a restriction. It’s rather the opposite, a way to dissociate my work from reality and to create a new world of opportunities and emotions. It’s a way to bring up the beauty of an atmosphere, a situation, a way to focus on the essential, on a detail or an abstract vision that most people would dismiss.
I developed my style by using the long exposure technique because I wanted to add another degree of dissociation from reality. I wanted to create something different, and entirely my own. What better than to construct an image in my head right from the start, and to use exposures of about five minutes and remove colours in order to create something entirely different from what people may every day?
Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS
Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA
Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
Mamiya 645 35mm f/3.5 (used for shifting)