Photo: Matthias Dandois
I’m real excited about this one. Over the last few months we’ve seen a lot of Video: and Photos: interviews with different photographers and filmers. A few weeks back I started thinking about a few different guys who kill it with photography and filming and editing. One of the first names that came to mind when thinking about the new “Portfolio” series was Hadrien Picard. Hadrien is a photographer and filmer that comes to us from France. You might recognize his name from his photo or film work or maybe even Soul BMX Magazine that he’s co-owner of.
We are proud to be unveiling the Portfolio series with him so check out his full interview below, then hit up the gallery to check out his photo and film work all in one place! Let us know what you think about this one in the comments!
Name: Hadrien Picard
Location: Paris suburbs. France
Years riding: 16
Years shooting photos: 12
Years filming and editing: 6
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
I had a friend in my village who was racing on a chrome Sunn. It was around 1995 I think. He brought me to the local track & that was it for me!
How did you get into photography and filming and editing? Was it something that happened because of BMX?
I got in photo around 1998 because of a friend whose dad just got a Nikon Coolpix 950. It was a pretty unique design digital compact that shot 2 MP photos. That blew my mind to see that. His father was OK to let us borrow it so we played with it a lot. After that I re-used the darkroom of my father that was 30 years old & bought a Pentax ME Super with a 50mm 1,7. So at the beginning there was no link with BMX. It happened pretty late, around 2003/2004. I was really into reading all the magazines etc.. but I was pretty shy & used to ride most of my time by myself. I slowly started shooting my friends or people I asked & got really lucky that the former chief redactor of Soul at the time noticed a photo I did & contacted me! After leaving our former publishing Co, we’re independent & I now own SOUL with Ben Bello & Julien Pouplin.
I started filming around 2006 I guess. We were starting making DVDs in the mag & it interested me a lot. It’s like riding a MTB when you’re a BMXer, it’s different enough to have a little new challenge, but close enough to start with a decent level. Then some little Japanese guys got the idea to put a video mode in a DSLR called 5DMKII & everybody knows what happened then! I started to like filming even more & then I got the chance to be invited to the Nike Standby Barcelona that I won. I guess it helps me to be known as a videographer too.
What was your first camera?
Like I said the Nikon CoolPix 950 & probably at the same time the Pentax ME Super (which is indeed super). For video it was a DV JVC, a kind of poorman VX1000:)
What’s your current setup?
Most of the people will skip that one & I understand.
Photo: Nikon D800, Nikon 10,5, 16, 50 1.2, 80-200 2,8. Tamron 17/35, Samyang 85 1.4
Bronica SQ B, 80/150/35. Horizon. Nikon FM2. Lots of Nikon SB’s, Elinchrom Ranger, Einstein. Pocket Wizards
Video: Nikon D800 (finally a Nikon filming decently!), JVC HM 100. DYI Slider, Crane, Fake indian Dolly….
Do you have a dream setup or are you pretty stoked on what you got?
Hum… I’m pretty happy with what I have. Video wise, we are living in a time where you can make some great images with light & cheap stuff. The thing I hate the most is the weight of this stuff, mostly the flashes, that hurts my back pretty bad. Plus I take ages to set up / unset up all the time. It sounds cliché to say that, but I’d like the conveniency of the digital with the result of a Velvia 50 on a MF….
I like to think of you as a double threat with your ability to shoot some rad photos and damn good videos. Do you feel like being able to work both sides is key to constantly getting work these days?
Sometimes I’d say yes but honestly I don’t really know the key to have a job. It worked for me thanks to a mix of not being too bad & being at the right place at the right moment. Of course, doing two jobs will help you to find more work, but it’s the same if you’re a plumber & an architec. The main problem is more the environment you’re workin in. Honestly, money wise, BMX is not the best thing to film or shoot. The industry is small & some companies (absolutly not all of course) are not playing the game & paying the photogs & filmers at the value of their work. A lot are just exploiting kids & media people that are really motivated, sometimes good & most of the time naives (like for the riders they are “sponsoring”). So a lot these kids work almost for free or really cheap. I don’t even count the kids who are so happy to make a vid or give a photo for a T shirt & just to say they have sold something to “this company”, which has a bad effect on anybody after. I’m not complaining at all, I’m lucky to work with really nice companies. It’s also the result of the democratisation of this tools compared to even a decade ago. It makes a weird situation where there are more & more people who wants to be photographer or videographer but there are less jobs than before, overall.
BMX is the best school to learn how to film & photograph but it’s hard to make a living just working in the BMX industry. You can achieve that mostly working for big companies that are in the BMX ( you can hate them but some of them are actually helping some riders & media guys out really well ) or by moving outside BMX. Maybe Joe Simon would still be doing more BMX vids if they paid as well as the weddings?
It’s logical but it’s a pity some of the most talented guys move out of the industry.
Speaking of work, over the years you have had the opportunity to work with so many different riders. If you had to pick a couple as your favorites, who would you pick and why?
That’s a hard one, mainly because I can’t remember every session I had.
I guess I like shooting with people I like, I respect or I consider as friends, not just “efficient” riders.
Of course the Frenchies Max Charveron & Matthias Dandois that I’m lucky to see a lot, Gary Young, Brian Foster, Chase Hawk, Luc Legrand, Alex V., KK… I guess there are way more !
Brian Foster and Mark Mulville have found themselves being shot at by Hadrien in the past.
Who are a few riders you haven’t had the chance to work with but you haven’t had the chance yet?
Mike Aitken for sure. He was supposed to come few years ago for a trail trip in France & injured himself a couple of days before. I’ve always have been a big fan of him, on & off a bike. Joe Rich is also one of my favorite riders. Like a lot of people, Road Fools 1 totally changed my vision of the BMX & it was thanks to him. It’s the same with Aitken, I really like his vision, what he has done as a company owner, a video/photographer…
I guess it would be refreshing to shoot with creative riders like Berringer, Tate, Elstran… I guess they would be easier to film than shoot haha
You get a fair amount of travel time in, right? Where are some of the craziest places you have been due to your work?
Yep, I guess, but not as much as a lot of pro riders or my buddy Vince Perraud these days!
It was not always “crazy”, but I have some nostalgia about the good old time where I drove all across France with Ben Bello on my Polo.
Every trip, good or bad is memorable. I mean, sometimes you start a trip with ttoal strangers that become your friends after a week. I have some good memories of some trips in Marroco, Shangai or Tallin in summer time.
What’s your travel plans looking like for the rest of the year? Any trips you are looking forward to?
Hum, there is nothing really special planned. I’m working on a daily basis so I guess I’m going to travel here & there in France. I may have a bonus trip during this winter but not sure at all for now….
I know you are always working on different projects. Any hints at some of the videos and photo projects you have cooking?
I’m working on a part with Maxime Charveron for Nike. Max is one of the funniest & most gifted guy on a bike so I want to show that but France is not the same as U.S spot wise & weather wise, so it may take a while.
Let’s say you are given a HUGE budget to take 5 riders anywhere in the world for a week to film and shoot photos. Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
Hummmmm… East Asia, like Vietnam, Cambodge… or Australia for sure!
Just because I’ve never been there.. & I’d like to! For the riders, it’s hard to pick cause there are so many riders i like but i guess it would be fun with guys like Max Charveron, Matthias Dandois, Luc Legrand or Alex V.
Now you took a different approach and went to college for Geography, right? What made you want to go for that? Did you ever go to college for photography or film?
Yeah, I have a degree in geography. When I was 18, I was average/good at everything, didn’t know at all what to do & didn’t want to pay for my studies. So Geography at the university was perfect. It was cheap, interesting &…. you can go for 10 years and still won’t have an accurate job, hahaha. You can do a lot of thing with Geography, teaching, transport, city planning, ecology…. So I thought there would be something for me.
I never went to college for photo or video. I learned by myself, reading books or websites, looking at other photogs & trying a lot!
Do you feel like college is necessary to get into the photography or film business? What kind of advice do you have for people looking to pick up a camera?
It’s always better to go to college to learn. I’m aware that I’m lacking some obvious knowledge sometimes or that I learned really slow compared to someone who went to college. I can see around some friends who learnt that in school & it’s better for sure.
BUT that won’t give you a job for sure. If you’re bad, you will still be bad after college!
Do you shoot much outside of BMX? I heard there is good money in shooting weddings and stuff?
I shoot MTB & sometimes Skateboarding & “institutionnal” work.
I guess there is money in the weddings but that doesn’t interest me yet.
If you had to choose, which one do you like doing more these days, filming or photos?
Hahaha that’s the hardest question!
I guess I like both the same, it’s just different. Both have good & bad sides. I’m mad when I carry big flashes but editing is a slow process…I’m happy to shoot when I’ve filmed a lot before & vice versa!
But to be frank, I do what people pay me to do.
Two of the best from France at the Vans Kill The Line contest, Hadrien and Vincent Perraud.
What do you think you would be into if you never got into BMX, photography or filming and editing?
Hard one, hahaha. I guess something related to geography. I like to be outside. I can’t be stuck full time behind a desk. I hate to have a daily schedule & a boss over me!
Did you ever set out to be where you are today or did it kind of fall into place by accident?
Totally by accident! So far, more or less these days, I had a “good star”, I try my best to do well with what I do & we’ll see what happens. So far it has worked.
Who are some of your biggest influences on your work?
-Ricky, Z, Dolecki, Vince Perraud, Manu Sanz, Jeff Allen…
-Forne, Matty, Evans (Will & Ty), Joe Simon, Grevet, Marechal, Mortagne…
-HCB, Newton, Nachtwey (you have to see “War Photographer”), Martin Parr …
Where do you see things going for yourself in the future? Any goals or dreams?
I honestly don’t know. Maybe I’m not really ambitious, but I’m happy with what I have. I may be wrong but I don’t make plans.
Do you still get much time to ride these days? Where are you spending most of your time riding these days?
Not a lot unfortunately, I ride come crappy park around my flat.
What are you up to when you aren’t shooting photos, working on a video? Anything else you are really good at?
My job is my passion so the boundaries are very thin between work & leasure. I like to see a lot of things related to my passion to always progress & try to see my non-riding buddies. I guess a lot of people don’t realize that this kind of job is anti-social. You’re not at home a lot of time & you work when most of the society doesn’t work, on week-ends & vacation. So it can be hard to keep some relationships with old friends. It’s still totally doable not to be antisocial but you have to work on it.
Where can people check out more of your work? You just re-did your website right? What about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all that?
Yeah my website ( hadrienpicard.fr ) has been updated thanks to T.Grevet. I really like it, it’s simple & clean.
There is a sum up of my photo & video work, a blog where I’ll post more & more stuff & you can also buy some prints.
I don’t have a page so far on FB but a regular account that is actually close.
I’m on Twitter (@HadrienPicard) but barely use it. I dig Instagram tho! @hadrienpicard
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
That would be too long to thank everyone. So thanks to everyone who has helped me in any way. I’m nothing without you. You know who you are.