The eye-catching photographs of Guillaume Deperrois are filled with motion, movement, magic and men. There is a playful eroticism that fills the alternately colourful and then stark photos, with a clean crisp attention to line, form and masculine muscle. While Deperrois believes that the work should speak for itself and be left open to individual interpretation, he is charmingly voluble about himself, his life and his inspirations.
Drew Rowsome: What inspired you to become a photographer and how did you go about building a career?
Guillaume Deperrois: Being a photographer wasn't my first career choice. When I was young I wanted to become a professional ballroom dancer. From the ages of six to 18 I did have a small career as a ballroom dancer but then I went to university where I studied film and film editing. For 10 years I worked as an assistant director on TV show, TV movies, short films and a movie. And I was an editor for MTV Europe.At the same time, I developed my own projects as a filmmaker. I directed music videos that were broadcast on MTV France and MTV UK, and one short film. In 2009, I made a road trip across the USA, alone with my camera. And when I came back my co-workers and entourage said, "You have to do something with these photographs because they are great." And that is how I started to be a photographer.
What inspires you to continue being a photographer?
I continue to be a photographer because I love new projects and to meet new people. Creating new thing, trying new things. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad. But it is all about excitement, to bring my crazy ideas to life.
How do your experiences as a dancer influence or enhance your photography ?
My experiences as a dancer gave me a particular sensitivity about the human body. It is easier for me to communicate with my models. I know my body perfectly, so I can advise them about their positioning. During the photoshoot I can also move myself to demonstrate. Dance also helped me develop a sensitivity, a kindness that I think you could feel running through my work.
What do you look for in a model?
I look first for a charisma. Then for the expression in his eyes. This is the most important thing for me. After that, there is the physical. This is important too. I love shapely bodies - not bodybuilding - with all the muscles visible. I love that. I also want that he loves the project. That this is not just a paying job. I want him to invest himself in the project. Most of all I look for the perfect model for the specific project. Sometimes I don't need a shapely body or a tall man or I am looking for a particular body. But I have to be honest I find all my male models to be beautiful.
How is your commercial work different from your studies of the male form?
I work with the same sensitivity and the same look. It's a part of me. I make no difference between commercial work and my works on the male body. Commercial is just less pleasant. But I need to pay my rent.
What do you find appealing or erotic in the male form?
The form of the face, the charisma and of course their body. It could be a detail of the body's shape, the curve of the chest, the pecs, the eyes, the abs. That is all.
What makes a photo erotic? What makes a photo art? Can a photo be both?
I don't know what makes a photo erotic or a photo art. Each person has his own sensitivity. When does a photo become art. When someone buys it? When someone edits it ? Art can be erotic. A photo can be both.
I'm not interested in full frontal nudity. It's not exciting for me. I prefer when the sex is hidden. The eroticism should come from your brain and your imagination. This is more exciting and erotic. There is a very tiny barrier between erotism and porn. I always try to make picture exciting for me.
During my exhibition, a lot of people came to me with the same question: what do you want to express with this picture? And my answer is always the same: what do you understand? What do you feel when you look the photo? Each person give me a different explanation. Sometimes the same as me, sometimes not. I don't want all people to have the same feeling as me. I want each person to appropriate it for themselves. Each person is different, that is the beauty of the world.
You use both vibrant colours and deeply shaded black and white. How do you choose what a photograph needs?
With Shadow & Light I used black and white for the first time in my work.With no colorus in the photo, all your attention goes to the position, the body, the contrast, and the muscles. Each shoot is different so I decide what is the best for the project.
What photographers do you admire and why?
David Lachapelle for his work with mise en scene. The scenery, the light, his involved subjects and his aesthetic. Michael Stokes for the same reasons but also for all his controversial photographs of the veterans who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Justin Monroe also has a great aesthetic and I admire his controversial photographs though he sometimes goes to far into porn photography.
What are you planning to do next?
I'm looking for a place to show my exhibition Shadow & Light somewhere in the world. Maybe in Toronto if you know a place. I'm working on a new series of portraits about nationality and flags. And I would like to continue my work on the dance world with a series on handicapped people. I would like to make a series with nude models. With that I could edit a new book focussing on the male body.
Where can our readers order prints of you work? Are there calendars or books available or planned?
You can order prints of my work on my online shop guillaumedeperroisboutique.com. Each of my pictures can be ordered in different formats - photo print, canvas, plexiglass, pvc - and made to the dimensions you desire. There are already two books available Art Book 1 that contains all my photography and Shadow & Light that is the catalogue of the exhibition with 104 photographs of the male and female dancers. There is a 2017 calendar and there may be a 2018 calendar focussing on the male body.