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Noovo Editions

Noovo Editions is an independent editorial project with online and paper editions. First of its kind in Spain from an unique and contemporary perspective on the international panorama,
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Christophe Huet


I studied photography at Louis Lumière University in Paris. I tried to be a reporter and 2 years after, I worked in a photo laboratory, as technician processing (E6, C41 and black and white) for photographers like Mondino, Depardon, Koudelka, Salgado. Then I changed to be a printer. As I liked drawing I knew I could gave more as retoucher and asked for changing again. I had to keep on working as a printer and after my work I had to train myself on retouching. I lost a lot of time without any serious method, too alone I guess. I was looking for photographers that wanted to give a creative direction to their images thanks to the retouching. I met Dimitri Daniloff in 2000, as he was a young photographer. We use to work hand in hand. My main purpose is to make people forget the retouching itself even if it seems obvious because of the singularity of the image. I've been retouching now for 14 years. Now I keep on working as retoucher and manager at ASILE, the compagny I created in 2005.

The first thing I do when I have a job to do is to listen what the photographer and/or the ads agency wants. Then I try to understand and I ask all the questions about the way he wants to shoot or prepare the shooting. At that time, I'm always listening. Then we talk together about the special effect we'll have to do during the post production. This is a time for sharing ideas and how to find solutions to the difficulties we could meet. Then I estimate the time I'll spend on the project and send this budget estimate to the art buyer or producer ... depending on the country. Even if it depends on many thing, a good average for an image is about 3 or 4 days for retouching. But it also can goes from 1 day to 10 days for the more complicated projects.

Listening, availability, patience are the base of my job. I also feel concerned about the images' impact I retouch. Sometimes, I refuse some asking for personal reasons like ads for cigarettes, for junk industrial food, or others that degrade any kind of people. I think we have to be responsible for our act, that's the attitude I try to have for myself even if it's not always easy to do it. We can't say 'yes' to everything in the name of money. The artistic part of my job can't make me forget my responsability as a human being.
Likewise, I always try to keep time to offert my job for association that struggle against poverty, cancer, smoking, aids, all bad treatment, ecology ...

Every day people want to know more about my job. One of them, Jim, asked me some typical questions, so let me share my answers with you :

Working under a studio compare to freelancing, what the difference?

Both have advantages and disadvantages. From my point of view, I always prefered sharing time and work with people. The great confidence I have with my team allow us to share and progress together, in a better way than being alone each of us from our side. Many of the images require composites of other scenes and objects.

Are you provided with all the materials needed to complete an image or do you photograph all the missing links?

 I always expect to have all the materials needed, but it's not always the case. Then, my best friend is my Canon 5D MarkII and my personal image bank. I only use Photoshop and sometimes mask plug ins using green video background.
And you know, I like a lot of kind of images, but most of the time, I prefer worked on montage, complicated composition than beauty retouching (even if I did a lot of them when I began). Some people pushed me too far on beauty shot retouching.

How important is 3D software in your line of work?

¡It's quite new. I've been working with a 3D operator in my team for 8 months. Little by little, it becomes more and more important and very interesting.

Would you say that clients (more often than not) provide specific ways they would like the final images, or do they allow artistic freedom with the images?

¡Sorry for this answer but it really depends. I can say that it's rare to have a total freedom. I have a bigger creative part when I work on a personal photographer's projects. And sometimes I even do my own image, just for fun, even if I'm not professional photographer.

It must be difficult to consistently be creative. Are there certain places, things, or people that you use for inspiration?

¡Not really. The most important thing to me is to keep an empty space in my mind to avoid any saturation of a situation or images. This is a team work (Art director, the photographer and me and sometimes my 3D operator), so my creativity is not so important. And in that team work, the best happens when each ego is not concerned, and when each of us push the others to do the best work we can.

Is there one project or campaign that you are really proud of?

¡Proud is not the word. I feel satisfied when I know I've given my best to enhance an image at its top. It's very comfortable to work on good project with nice people. This leave me in peace. And I have the chance to often work with very nice people, and very professional, too.

As an aspiring retouching artist, what is the best way to break into the business? Are there any specific steps you would recommend taking?

¡Work with people, photographers, agencies (ads, models or whatever), show your motivation, not your ego. Be involved but keep distance with the result. What is important is what you give, or put of yourself, not what you receive at the end. But beware of always being respected as you respect the others.
And sometimes - and unfortunatly -, money is the only "word" (and world) of respect. So be paid for what you're working on if people make money on your job.

My personal conclusion :
One of the most important thing to do is to know who we are and what we are. So, we all need a space in our head to think about our life, to find simplicity again, time after time. And if you are a creative person, try to give expression of yourself without any self-censorship but with honesty, far away from any overflow of ego. Being perfectionist is a good thing but beeing too purist can be a brake to creativity. The best in art come from creative people who are like a paintbrush in a the hand of a mystery bigger than all of us (the mystery can be called God, Lord, life or whatever you beleive in).




More Info: http://www.christophehuet.com/




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