Interview with Bruno Mercier
#1 Please introduce yourself:
Well, if my nickname, Pixydream, is well known on numerous forums on the Internet, my real name is Bruno Mercier. I’m a french photographer and I currently live on the seaside in a small town called Carteret, in the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, just in front of the Jersey Island. It’s a marvellous place to live and work and it provides me with opportunities to explore wonderful seascapes and landscapes, furthermore I love the quality of light in my area.
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
In fact, my first encounter with photography took place in my childhood. My father was really addicted with photography, and he guided me in my first approaches and tentatives. Nevertheless at that time of my life I prefered drawing. I started as an illustrator and a comics author both for magazines and publishing houses in the mid 1980’s. During years I let photography aside. I came back to photography very recently when I bought a DSLR in 2006, I found in photography, and especially in B&W, all I always wanted to tell. It was a revelation.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
I studied architecture and spent half of my life to be an illustrator. I think you learn a lot in that kind of job, composition, light, framing, density. I used to think a part of my style comes from my work as an illustrator and comics author. I really enjoy to tell stories in my pics I always considere photography as a narrative medium.
#4 Your playing with the light and shadows as well as rhythms is incredible, what other sources have been inspiring your art?
I have a great admiration for the XIXth century engravers like Gustave Dore. Engraving is really a great inspiration for me and is of course the very basis of my work above all for the inner “clair obscur” quality of those works.
#5 Most of your photographs were taken in low-key lightning style, why have you chosen to present them in this form?
That’s right I always prefered to work in low-key style. If you will study the works of the old masters (painters and engravers) you will note how they looked into the shadows for the critical detail that makes their pics so exciting… I often used as a personal quote the famous sentence “Light shines in darkness”. I think Low Key style give a wonderful feeling of depth when backgrounds provide the opportunity to wrap light with a much more dramatic effect around our subjects, something almost impossible to do in high key and that’s I try to do in my work.
#6 There are no people or even people’s silhouettes on your photographs, have you ever considered shooting portraits or some other pictures?
Thanks for this question. Yes a lot of people often ask why I always work without human subjects.. In fact it’s not exact.. Because I considere the viewer as a part of my compositions. My pics are like an invitation to enter the world I show. YOU are my main subject. This is YOUR story I tell.. I just try to open a window to your dreams.
#7 Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in photography?
It’s difficult to answer such a question. I don’t know.. I could say some usual sentences like “Work hard”, “Take a lot of pics” etc. But it’s a fact I don’t know. A style comes from a personal story, from artistic background, art-culture, books etc. I didn’t start as a photographer, I come from another art and my own style is directly inspired by my life. The only thing we can say is to open the eyes and to observe the world.
#8 Do you work as a professional photographer or do you pursue the art as a hobby?
No I’m a professional photographer, it’s a passion and a work. I used to earn my life with that job.
#9 What do you do in your life besides photography?
I love to ride my motorbike. I drove bikes since I was 14 and I’m 46 now. I’m in a french motorcycle club, the VFR Club de France, I own a Honda 800 VFR, they call it “interceptor” in the US. It’s a wonderful bike, resistant, comfortable and very (not politically correct) fast..
#10 Are you planning any exhibitions of your works in near future?
Yes I’m going to participate to several personal and collective exhibitions in the next weeks and months and we are creating (with some french fine art photographers, Julie and Xavier Rey, Michel Rajkovic, Philippe Mougin, Philippe Leclerc, Antoine Soubigou and me) a group to present “Fine Art” style in France in november in a great show with a lot of international photographers we’ll invite.
#11 Can you tell us about the equipment that you use? (digital or traditional)
When I was young I started with an Hasselblad but today I only use Digital reflex. I own a Canon 350D (Rebel XT). And more and more often a friend of mine lend me his 5D. I think I’m going to buy his camera.
#12 How do you prepare your prints? (LAB, darkroom, digital printing, etc.) What is your favorite kind of paper?
I always shoot in Raw format and then convert my file in B&W with the help from Adobe Lightroom. Then I use a very old version of Photoshop (6.0) to prepare my file for the print. In general before to print I reenforce contrasts and sharpen a bit. All my photographs are printed (giclee) with a Epson PRO Fine-Art Ultrachrome K3 pigment-based printer at 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi in greyscale.. I use different papers, Epson Matte Archival for my exhibitions and open edition prints and the excellent Photo Rag 308 by Hahnemühle for my limited signed prints.
#13 Is it possible to purchase your prints and, if so, where?
Yes of course, you can order my prints via my official Web Site, www.pixydream.com, just use the contacts page to tell me what pic you want and if you prefere limited edition or open edition prints. (they’re not at same price of course and certain pics are only available in limited signed edition). Then you can pay with your credit card via Paypal, I send the print within 7 days everywhere in the world.
#14 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I’m going to open my own gallery, “De Lumiere et de Vent” in my home town in july. It’s a wonderful project.
Bruno Mercier Official Website: