The French photographer, Pierre Carreau (b.1972), has been photographing water and the power of waves ever since he moved away from the city to the seaside. Pierre Carreau talks to Revolve about his fascination with water and how he has been able to comprehend nature through photography. Interview to appear in the Summer 2014 issue of Revolve. View more images from the AQUAVIVA series on Revolve Water.
It’s clear that the ocean intrigues you, where does this fascination come from?
I grew up in the suburbs of Paris, which is far from the ocean, and while living there I spent all my holidays on the Atlantic coast. This became the main reason why I associated the ocean with a sense of escape, of freedom and nature. I started to feel that every place with water was a piece of paradise; my dream therefore became to live in one. A first step to reach ‘paradise’ was taken when I was 18 and I decided to move to Bordeaux, France, on the Atlantic coast. This was the time when I started to practice many water-sports, such as body boarding, surfing, wind-surfing, kite-surfing, among others. When you are addicted to such activities, you become a wave-lover and you learn how to forecast the best conditions for a good ride. A surfer spends a lot of time watching and understanding waves, also when you surf, you don’t only ride a wave, you feel it with your body. When the Atlantic wasn’t enough, I moved with my family to the Caribbean island of St. Barth, this is when I discovered the underwater world. This place seemed like a hidden world where everything is quiet, peaceful and in its right place.
What are the qualities one needs to get good shots of waves and water?
What makes a good photograph is most of the time linked to time and place. One has to be there, ready at the right place and at the right time. This is exactly the same case when it comes to wave photography. I’m therefore very attentive to the weather forecast as many of its criteria are essential and have to be considered: the amount of clouds, the direction of the waves, their size and periodicity, the wind speed and direction, etc. Sometimes waves are very close to what I expect; sometimes they are quite different and they come with both good and bad surprises. You have to be very patient, the perfect conditions happen just a few times per year.
Who influences you both as an artist and as a photographer?
As an artist and a photographer, my influences are so numerous, that I can’t identify myself in all of them. Everything I see, read and listen are inputs that I appropriate somehow and then they become part of my inspiration. However, I can say that I love ocean paintings, mostly if the ocean is shown during a storm. Waves and thunderstorms bring water to an energetic state, which is so beautiful, it seems alive – it is alive. Even if there is no direct relation to my work, I really appreciate emerging street art.
What do you wish to transmit with your photography?
The essence of my photographs is energy. My biggest wish is to provide an emotional stream of energy to the people seeing my work. I believe this is a positive form of sharing power. Water is part of the power of nature, which is needed by so many people, and I’m proud when being able to feel that power. Energy is our millennium challenge and my biggest pride is to photograph it.
To view the full gallery, visit Revolve Water.
To see more of Pierre Carreau’s work, visit: www.pierrecarreau.com