Aspire to inspire

Laurent Bouchard,
photographe

Laurent is an artist, amateur photographer who has made many exhibitions. He appreciates the expressiveness of black and white. Buyer and passionate user of Pixii since a few months, we wanted to collect his impressions.

Archi-textures

What is your creative process?

I always carry a camera with me, otherwise I feel like I'm going out naked, and since I'm reasonably modest...
So I have been taking pictures daily for several decades. I must therefore, under penalty of digital obesity of my hard disks, regularly sort my images. 

This intermediary stage between shooting and development of the selected images is crucial for me. It is this time of sorting and self-criticism which, faced with the daily accumulation of images, allows me to anticipate not on the aesthetic potential of an image taken separately but on the meaning that it could take in a logic of series.
At some point, one or more series must impose themselves and, from then on, I leave with several ideas of series in mind, and then, inevitably, my gaze is transformed because I am looking for particular points of view.If we talk about creation, motivation this self-perpetuating process is moreover independent of the support.
Whether the medium is film or digital, what is essential is to set aside time for this process and to have one's camera in all possible situations to "fix" the situations that call out.
I used to practice film photography a lot (and I still do) and I find my bearings perfectly with Pixii. I only look at the screen of my smartphone occasionally if it is necessary to check a framing. When you anticipate the image, when you know what you want, I find that the screen can slow down the creative process.
As with a film camera, we "dive" into the image and this, all the more easily as we have a handy camera, not very aggressive in the eyes of the other and simple to use. For me, easy to use means clear sighting (so rangefinder), high image quality, reliability and flawless ergonomics, that is the specifications of Pixii.

You often use black and white in your series, why?

I like B&W because it's a language that allows you to get to the point. The message is often more simple and authentic. I recently reconciled with color (and Pixii is in part the reason but it is another subject ...). On the other hand, I always reason, before the image, in B&W to give it up sometimes when "good reasons" impose color to tell another story.
To come back to B&W, if I try to identify what motivates me to use this or that film or to switch to a predetermined digital mode, it is above all the notion of transition.  I believe that what I am looking for in the future image is this transition. Whether it is strong with great contrasts or more subtle, softer with a multitude of shades of gray. The play of light and shadow models forms that I could not retranscribe in color.
Quatuor et cordes
Voigtlander 28mm - ISO1280 1/60

Seeing in black and white is also about avoiding disruptive elements that can alter the message.

Choosing between monochrome or color thus forces creativity! This is a real constraint, probably stronger and more potentially creative than the choice of focal length. Pixii with its native DNG monochrome mode pushes me to the constraint of the choice beforehand.

I respect B&W processing too much to transform a color DNG by RGB interpretation when I can process a monochrome DNG ! With this camera when I think of the image in black and white, at the moment when my mind has the click, I can switch the camera in monochrome mode.
In one click Pixii offers me a second camera !  A few seconds ago I had a color sensor and now I have a monochrome camera with grayscale DNGs!
L’horizon s’éclaircit… progressivement
Voigtlander 28mm - ISO640 1/500
Rock on the rocks
APO Lanthar 35mm
In Lightroom, the files in native mode allow me even more processing latitude than the DNGs of my Leica Monochrom 1 (with a CCD sensor whose rendering is known for its great processing latitude). It must be said that the sensor has 8 Mb of additional pixels.
I am also very favorably impressed by the management of the highlights. I can underexpose (expose to the right with the exposure compensation) and find a lot of matter in the shadows - this is a strong point.
I didn't originally buy it for this but I discovered an amazing camera in this native monochrome mode.
For me it offers a serious plus to its user.

A sensor that respects the texture of the snow to this extent is rare, it's amazing.

Lune: out!

Choosing between monochrome or color forces creativity!

Beyond monochrome, what does Pixii bring you ?

I am really a fan of the rangefinder, of this "wide and clear" viewfinder that allows me to see beyond the frame and to anticipate my picture. I have tried the SLR viewfinder, the electronic viewfinder, the so-called "hybrid" viewfinder, autofocus with or without joystick, focus-peaking... I always came back to the rangefinder and manual focusing. It's a question of efficiency, comfort and above all pleasure when shooting.  I must point out that Pixii innovates by proposing the complete menu of parameters and shooting data in the bottom of the viewfinder. Particularly efficient when you don't want to lose sight of your subject while changing a parameter (ISO or speed or B&W mode or...)
With its M mount, I can use all my lenses, even some "M39 screws" that have blown me away by their color rendering. I even recently bought an APO 35 with a very high optical definition in order to exploit all the capacities of the sensor.
I find the design modern (without denying its belonging to the world of rangefinder cameras) and sober, especially thanks to the absence of a display screen. This is really what caught my eye when I first saw it in the hands of my friend Victor.
I also find the concept of the upgradeable body to be a real commercial innovation. The programmed obsolescence may become a thing of the past with this modular design. For example, I should be able to upgrade the sensor to a more powerful one when the technology becomes available. I believe this is what the buyers of the first model were able to do, I can see myself changing in a few years for a stabilized sensor, a better defined sensor, what do I know ? ... Maybe also change the processor for a more powerful one with new functions. I believe, and it is often a subject of jokes between enthusiasts, that Pixii can be an antidote to the famous GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). More seriously, I love that the team is very open and attentive to feedback, and that we get the chance to give our opinion, suggest features and test them.

Pollution : alerte rouge

Pollution : alerte rouge

Tournez manège

Sens inédit

Ciel froissé

Pixii is a real inspiration engine before, during and after the shooting.

Air Maxx
Voigtlander 35 mm - ISO320 1/1000

In fact, if I come back to the question: what does Pixii bring to you I would answer... the pleasure before, during and after the shooting. Before because it pushes me to get out of my house, during because it incites me to multiply the points of view, the experiences and after because it does not cease surprising me. Let's hope it lasts...

Laurent Bouchard

Discover the latest exhibitions of Laurent

Ils dorment… peut-être rêvent-ils ? - 2019Printemps des photographes - 2019Les Barons - 2019Les Coquettes - 2018

You can also find Laurent's work on

Photo credit: Laurent Bouchard, all rights reserved. Images reproduced with the kind permission of the artist.