Valérie Jardin is a visual storyteller who describes photography as a way of life and chasing light, her sole desire and obsession… her addiction. Her photographs wisp you away to experience different cultures and without even realising it, you slowly drift off to some breathtaking, new destination.
How to predict a winning moment
Although a street photographer, Valérie Jardin, clearly has a gift for capturing the magical moments of everyday life, she says that the more you walk the streets with your camera, the quicker you get at spotting special moments: “Through the years, you become quite good at anticipating human behaviour.”
Blending in with the crowd
Throughout her career, Valérie has never encountered someone who wasn’t happy with having their photo taken as “they generally don’t know what street photography is and after you explain to them that you are documenting life, they usually find it fascinating”. Most of the time people don’t even notice her, and by the time they do, she’s moved on. She says that the key to remaining invisible is to relax since “people pick up on your vibes”.
Valérie’s recommended street photography gear
“I never carry extra gear; one camera, one lens.”
Valerie says that when documenting people’s everyday lives, her street photography gear of choice includes the Fujifilm X100F camera, which is completely silent. “It is my all time favourite camera and the perfect tool for the job.”
Playing with Lenses
Her favourite lens is the Fujinon 23mm (35mm equivalent) because it’s the one on the Fujifilm X100F compact digital camera body. “Working with one focal length you learn to envision the shot and position yourself accordingly.” To exercise some creativity she will put the Lensbaby Velvet on her Fujifilm X-Pro2 and at other times she’ll use the Fujinon 16mm f/1.4.
Street photography tips for beginners
Valérie’s advice for street photographers is that unless you’re shooting for clients, you only have one person to please with your photography and it’s you! Follow your heart and shoot what moves you – “it’s the only way you will find your voice and develop a style of your own”. And when it comes to the legal aspect surrounding street photography, she says that every country’s laws are different. They key is to always stay respectful of people and make a point of not photographing anyone in embarrassing or vulnerable situations.
Joie de vivre la photographie
Paris is home and, as an expatriate, I think I appreciate its beauty and uniqueness more than had I lived there full-time. I often look for beauty in my subjects and in the architectural backdrop. Paris has it all!
Rome is a city of elegance and warm tones, probably the city where I shoot in colour the most. It’s a feast for the senses.
New York is a mecca for the street photographer; everyone should experience it. You will love it and hate it at the same time but in the end, it grabs you and never let’s go. I’ll never get enough of it.
Valérie hopes to continue sharing her passion with others through her workshops, lectures, podcasts etc. and as more opportunities are presenting themselves she jokes a clone of herself would be helpful!
“The moments when you know you captured something truly special, when preparation and serendipity align in a fraction of a second. It’s not about technical perfection, that would be too easy, it’s about emotion.”