11 December 2017

The Other Day

“A lot of those pictures have crazy stories about them, it would have been interesting to put them into the book but I’m not into words, I do pictures” chirped Quentin de Briey on his book The Other Day. He certainly does do pictures, and he does them well as a matter of fact, with his photographs depicting the recklessness and freedom of a life well-lived. I had a little chat with Quentin about everything from the spontaneity of his work, to provoking emotion through his honest, gritty and intimate images.

Born in Belgium, the photographer now finds himself somewhere between the enigmatic Barcelona and the elegant edge of Paris – this threesome of cultures hitting it off to give birth to a love child of candid but cultivated photography. Initially, de Briey collaborated with skateboard magazines as his own career as a pro skateboarder was halted by injury. He built up his pandora’s box of equipment and ventured into fashion as the lure of travel and a decent living became quite the tempting prospect.

It comes as no surprise that the likes of Bruce Weber and Juergen Teller serve as an inspiration for de Briey; there’s a black and white portrait of a grinning Tyler the Creator that’s typically Weber and the way he captures model, muse and girlfriend Steffy Argelich is reminiscent of the way Teller captured a young Kate Moss. There's enough fun and full-blown frivolity to keep things interesting, not to mention a haunted vibrancy which makes these images distinctly his own.

Hundreds of photographs are collaged together in this mighty tome with the kind of effortless look that makes it all the more perfect. The turn of each page reminds you why the life of a photographer is one that’s put on a pedestal and why the often-romanticised connotations of image-makers are arguably well-deserved. De Briey’s Tumblr blog bears the same name as his third book and although it’s too an all-encapsulating visual hinterland, the photographer confirms that he does prefer the depth and tangibility of a good old print; “digital platforms are more like fast foods to me,” he quips. If the digital equivalent is a McDonald’s 99p mayo chicken, then you can be sure that the book is a gastronomic masterpiece of tender seared duck foie gras.

why did you title the book The Other Day?
It’s the name of my Tumblr, where I started to post my diary pictures regularly a few years ago. I still take pictures almost everyday and this book is about that – my diary pictures.

how did you find the curation process and selecting which images would make it into the book?
I was looking for spontaneous pictures mostly, in the end I was adding any pictures of random moments I wanted to remember.

is this something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
It’s my third book actually, but it’s the first one including collages – there were just too many pictures to put in it, so that’s how it ended up like that.

books have, and continue to endure in the age of instagram and instantaneous imagery, why do you think that is?
You don’t always want to look at a digital screen, of course. You look at prints differently too, many times I look at a picture I’ve seen a hundred times on my computer and after I print it new details appear and you see the picture differently.

if you could pick one emotion that you want readers to feel after looking through your book, what would it be?
Any emotion actually, if it provokes any emotions while reading it, that’s already great!