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No compromises: Romain Laprade remains selective in who and what he portrays

From architecture to fashion, from still life to travel photography: Romain Laprade’s aesthetics, technique and style are unmistakable

Romain Laprade’s aesthetics

From the beginning of his career, he has been focusing in those moments of the day when the light is of the

From the beginning of his career, he has been focusing on those moments of the day when the light is of the warmest colors. «The aesthetics have evolved over the years: inspiration changes, the eye gets more precise», Laprade says. His interiors, still life compositions, and travel photographs are matched not only by warm palettes but also by geometric patterns and plays of straight lines and smooth shapes. Laprade’s goal is to leave a mark, even in commissioned works.

He is selective in who and what he portrays and in accepting business proposals: the projects he takes part in must be close to his aesthetics and the mission and vision of the company must be upstanding and clean, as he does not want to associate his name and art with brands whose values he does not identify with. Fashion photography has been an essential part of Laprade’s artistic production since his first commissioned work for a men’s fashion magazine.

Since then, Laprade has collaborated with international magazines and has shot several campaigns for established fashion brands. His shots are a balanced mix of subjects – whether they are models, garments, or accessories – and architecture: «I shoot the models as part of the architecture, the location is the central thing». 

Laprade’s approach to shooting campaigns is methodical: drafting mood boards, image references, and location scouting are what determine the success of a fashion campaign. When shooting locations, buildings, and architectural features instead, he relies solely on his intuition and lets his eyes guide the camera towards details that usually go unnoticed in everyday situations. 

Using a Polaroid instant camera

Inhabited landscapes and dense metropolis disseminated in every corner of the world, from Bhutan to Ibiza, from Canada to Italy. Last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak Romain Laprade feared that his work might be affected by the restrictions enforced by the French government. On the contrary, the restrictions turned out to be an incentive to train his eyes within national borders; «last year was a challenge for me, but I shot some series which I certainly would not have produced if it weren’t for the lockdown».

These projects include his series Polaroids which came about during the first lockdown enforced by the city administration of Paris. As his movements were limited to his house’s area, Laprade decided to challenge himself with an instant camera and capture small details and urban elements dotted around the neighborhood. Every night, once back home, he organized the day’s pictures as triptychs and selected the best ones.

The project, which started as an experiment, lasted until the end of summer and included the most diverse subjects, from streetlamps to flowerpots, from windows to cars. The best 100 shots have been exhibited at Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris, from the 1st of April to the 16th of May, and have been reunited in a book titled Polaroid, edited by the gallery’s publishing house.

Despite the downsides of instant cameras, such as the lack of adjustment of light and exposure settings or the inaccuracy of the viewfinder: «Polaroid pictures are real, you cannot edit them, it is all about the instant. You cannot reproduce them». 

Lampoon, Palm Springs neighborhood
Palm Springs neighborhood

Romain Laprade photographer

«Focusing on architecture, interiors, and still life was not a conscious choice», Laprade says about his artistic production. Soon after moving to Paris, he gazed at the palaces and architecture surrounding him. His inclination to find beauty in every corner and catch details and scenes of daily life became almost an obsession. As with every talent, his eye for detail results from a natural predisposition and years of training and experience. 

Interiors, entryways, and lobbies of mid-century buildings and homes. «People have crossed them every day for years, but no one cares about them, though many thoughts have been put into their conception». Laprade’s work is also influenced by the aesthetics and design of the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies, of which the entryways and foyers of many Parisian buildings are witnesses and examples. Here too, details such as textures, plants, and small design pieces come alive through a play of light and shadow and the use of perspective.

Laprade’s fascination with past decades leads us to his propensity to experiment with old-fashioned techniques: «With a few exceptions, most of my commissioned works are shot with a digital camera –but I want to keep using analog cameras for personal works or summer holidays». 

Laprade for Lampoon

The Polaroid series is also an example of Laprade’s approach to street photography. Thanks to his perspective, instead of focusing on the people filling the space, he prefers to catch inanimate objects and seemingly common elements that come alive and interact with the surroundings.

His series Streetlamps, published in the spring/summer 2020-21 issue of Lampoon Magazine, focuses on useful but often ignored elements of the urban environment. The streetlamps were captured in the daylight, deprived of their primary function, but filled with new meanings and dignity.

The cinematic quality of Laprade’s shots is the result of years of experimentation, research, and clear influences from the work of established international photographers: street photographer Saul Leiter, Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri and his fascination with the ambiguity of contemporary landscapes, between urbanism and natural elements, and William Eggleston, who not by chance was one of the first to legitimize the use of color in art photography.

Once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, Laprade is eager to return to Los Angeles. He shot a series of photographs in which the quiet, inanimate subjects emerge from the chaotic city life and visit Colorado State. Where nature and the artificial meet and interchange.

Romain Laprade

Paris-based photographer. His work ranges from fashion photography to still life, from architecture to travel photography. Celebrated for his eye for details and his distinctive use of light, Laprade has collaborated with renowned fashion brands, such as Isabel Marant and Ralph Lauren.

Agnese Torres

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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