Our guest this month won't be a nobody for an avid magazine reader. He's been shaping the look of these pages for well over one and a half decades. What is extra special about him sitting down with us is the fact that he won his first compagnon, more or less coincidentally. His results and the final image are his main focus, so let's find out more about our:
"compagnon for inspiration" - Part 6
Brian Caissie is not exactly new to pro photography, he's working as photographer and photo editor for various magazines for over 15 years. By today, about 100 issues carry his creative signature. His experience in travel-, sports- and portrait photography certainly have part in the fact that Brian won the Photo of the Month Award at Red Bull Photography in June 2015. His great shot of skater legend TJ Rogers doing his thing in Barcelona got this Canadian guy on our map eventually, as he got awarded a compagnon camera bag. compagnon: Hi Brian, it's great you're here. You've been into photography for quite some time now. There are boatloads of things our readers would like to know. Something that's immediately apparent is your laid-back style you also appreciate in your little messenger. How important is your look & style for your work?
Brian Caissie: I usually dress down, I spend a lot of time on the ground or climbing trees, I’m an adventurist. Travelling to foreign countries you want to keep a low profile as well so I put tape on my camera and flashes making them look cheap.
compagnon: Haha, that's a first. We never heard that before. A camouflage for pro gear. The pictures you brought were taken all over the globe. Do you make an effort to travel light and compact considering your equipment or do you take as much as you can?
Brian Caissie: My new Fuji x100 is pretty amazing, it’s mirrorless so you can sync your flashes at any speed which is really handy. It’s small and has no shutter sound so it’s very quiet to use. I always carry a notepad as well, making ideas and a shot list to achieve at a new place.
compagnon: So that sort of gear does everything that needs to be done for a great shot? Is that everything an ambitioned photographer would need, you reckon?
Brian Caissie: As essential gear goes, books and a lightmeter is always nice to have. Seeing how a story is put together and not just one image, that shows the work of a true photographer. Anyone can take a good single image.
compagnon: Is this "story-telling" also an ability you look for in the artists you appreciate personally? Do you have a role model?
Brian Caissie: There a few I really admire for different reasons. Maybe Nadav Kander, Peter Beard or Thomas Prior, they have such good styles and creative lives. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people and beautiful surroundings looks like a good life to have as well.
compagnon: Checking out the photos you brought along we are fairly certain not everything was going to plan taking all of them. Why don't you tell us a horror story? What has been the most arduous, bugging project you ever worked on?
Brian Caissie: Maybe one of my trips to China with a big crew. We went to Shenzhen with 20 friends for a month, no one could speak the language, so our time got notoriously hectic and confusing. Just eating dinner can take a while when you can’t order or read the menu.
compagnon: Certainly sounds like a drag. But sometimes trying to remember something can be a bother, too. But our fans always want to know what gear our talents started out with. Do you recall?
Brian Caissie: Yeah it was a Pentax K1000, it shaped me as a photographer for sure. It was so basic, film setting, aperture and shutter, nothing more than that. These days people spend half their time looking at the menus instead of using their minds.
compagnon: You built a great reputation for yourself over the years. You're renowned for your realistic style, minimal photoshop, you even try to avoid cropping your images at all. So if we ask you for an advice you'd share with our readers to improve their own photography right away, what are you going to tell them?
Brian Caissie: Stop looking at what others are doing and shoot what you like and how you enjoy to make photographs. That’s the only way you’ll have a unique style that no one else has.
compagnon: Brian, it's been awesome to have you. We're wishing you all the best and continued success for your work and we're hoping you can achieve some more of your dreams. Most importantly that house on Hawaii you invited us to. We'll bring all the stuff for the barbecue once you got it finished. Cheers!