• UO Interviews: Clement Pascal

    We love working with photographer Clément Pascal, who shot two blog features on 35mm film for us this week: a studio visit with Assembly New York's Greg Armas and a morning with designer Mark McNairy and his daughter Daisy. We love the way Clément captures quiet details that often go unnoticed — his work has a real softness and personality behind it that is subtle and smart. We caught up with Clément about current projects (he's working on a book of personal images called Strange Things Happen For A Reason), Paris vs. NYC, and "inviting the unexpected" in his work. 

    Tell us more about your background, please. 

    I was born in Paris and grew up in the countryside an hour away from the city. When I was 19 I moved to West Africa to work as an intern at an advertising agency. I met my wife there, who is from New York. We lived in a bunch of different countries until finally settling in New York City at the end of 2010.

    Lately, I've been doing a lot of editorial portraits, which I always kinda do, studio visits, some fashion stories... I have also been working on personal projects in my new studio in Williamsburg.

    How do you describe own work and aesthetic?

    I think one of the main things I try to communicate through my images is intimacy. I want people to feel like they're close to the subject. That they're seeing a real part of these people's lives, and not something set up. 

    You intentionally don't offer a lot of direction when you are photographing people — can you talk about this choice? 

    I think that if you tell the subject how to pose or how to act, you're transferring onto them your idea of what you think they are or should be. Not giving too much direction invites the unexpected and reveals something very personal and true.

    Can you tell us a story about a shoot that ended up very differently than you expected it to? 

    I always have an overall idea of what I want a shoot to look like but never any real expectations. I'm always open to anything that can happen. I've had a lot of fun shooting French Montana playing basketball in the middle of the afternoon in a park in the Lower East Side. 

    Talk about Paris vs NYC. 

    I love New York. There is no other place I'd like to be. There are so many amazing things about it. For one the light is insanely beautiful, all year long. If I had one thing to complain about, I'd say that the winters are a little rough.

    Tell us more about your interest in shooting the studios of artists. What are some studios you want to shoot in the future? 

    I'm intrigued by the side of things you don't see. I want to see who's behind the artwork, and where it's made. 

    Richard Serra would be a dream studio visit. Jasper Johns too.  

    What are five other things you are really interested in right now? 

    Spooky Black, past issues of Toilet Paper magazines, Japanese whiskey, Paul McCobb furniture, and going to the botanical gardens.

    What's your favorite low-brow indulgence?

    Ordering in pizza + tiramisu and watching a lot of Seinfeld episodes one after the other.

    See Clément's images in this week's UO blog features:
    Dreamers + Doers: Mark and Daisy McNairy
    Collaboration: Assembly New York
    Clément's website