Good Chat: Vince Perraud
It's often said, the French do it better. From wine and cheese, to seduction; it's fair to say les Français are an impressive (and sexy) bunch. Photographer and Porsche enthusiast Vince Perraud is no exception to the rule.
Vince started his photography journey almost twenty years ago, shooting BMX and skate for magazines. However, an encounter with a classic Porsche 911 put a foot on the gas towards a very successful career as a lifestyle and automotive photographer.
In recent times, Vince has been tapped by major brands including Nike, Carhartt, Adidas and The North Face, to point his camera in their direction. However, his true love for photography lies with shooting vintage cars on film. As with all things French, there is something alluring about Vince's work. The synergy between his skills as a photographer and the subjects he shoots begets idyllic and romantic images... and a lifestyle one yearns for.
I first connected with Vince some years ago at Monster Children, so it was a pleasure to check in with the charming Frenchman and his recent escapades.
Hey Vince! It's been a while between drinks...
Hey man! Damn, it has been a while. A lot has changed in the past few years, but always the same shit, ha.
How's life in Biarritz?
Yeah, Biarritz was a good move. Life is nice. Everything is relaxed, except for August when the place is full of tourists.
I've been guilty of doing touristy things in Biarritz during the European Summer. The place has a lot going for it...
It’s a small coastal town, but there are a lot of brands and creatives that live here, so there's always a lot going on. The light is something magical here too… (when it’s not raining).
You've been shooting for 15+ years plus, right?
Time flies! Almost 20 years!
What inspired you to first pick up a camera?
At the time I was into BMX. I was passionate about riding, however, not overly good at it. I did my knee and ACL trying to do a shitty trick, ha. The injury was bad and I couldn't ride for a year. I needed something to occupy myself, so I just grabbed a camera to keep busy whilst hanging with my friends…
Do you remember what camera it was?
It was a shit Canon 500N something... analog of course.
What were you shooting?
I was really into Manu Sanz's work at the time – he was the master of light. So, I tried shooting a bunch of off-camera flash stuff. It was all a bit of fun and an excuse to hang around my friends and shoot. I had no plan at all to become a photographer...
So you kind of fell into photography by falling off your bike.
I always wanted to work in the BMX/skate industry and photography became a viable option to make that happen. Then I slowly started to get my work published in magazines.
And now you're shooting for some of the biggest brands on the planet.
Kinda crazy, huh!
Nike, Porsche, Carhartt.. that's pretty crazy!
Yeah, I’m doing small stuff for big companies, which is fine by me!
How has your approach to photography changed over the last decade from shooting action sports to big brand campaigns?
Shooting BMX and skate was a great way to learn the fundamentals of photography and my way around a camera. You spend your life in the streets shooting these "underground" sports and scenes. There was always something going on wherever I'd point my camera. Then, it became popular for brands to start tapping into these scenes for their campaigns... they call it "lifestyle" now. So, I never had to force anything with my approach, it just came naturally.
You're a vintage Porsche enthusiast.
Ahahah, yes, a little bit now…
When did you develop your appreciation for these classic cars?
The print magazines I was shooting for at the time, slowly started dying, one by one (thanks internet), and I was running out of paid work! So, I started to look at other things to photograph besides extreme sports, one being classic cars. A couple of influential dudes in the industry were driving cool cars which I would photograph. Then I had the opportunity to not only snap an early 911 but to drive it too. Boom! Of course, I'd fall in love with driving frogs immediately after that. All of a sudden, people started noticing my car photos and it became something I photographed more frequently.
So your wheels evolved...
Cars appeal to a broader audience, so the work was there. I also think it was the natural evolution of my interests evolving from my 20s into my 30s.
So... to shoot Porsches or to drive them?
I actually prefer to drive them, haha! Honestly, I'm not really a car guy! However, the early 911 has something so special about it. It's not the typical car you see on the street. It’s all round, sexy and sporty, and so compact. I absolutely love it.
It's a timeless ride...
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, who designed the original 911 made something truly timeless and unique!
What do you vibe most about taking photos of cars?
When I was shooting action sports, it was all about perfect timing to nail the shot. Plus, you're always leaning on the ground or road in uncomfortable positions, which can be super dangerous. Shooting a car parked on the street is way less stressful, haha. The thing is, I’m still hanging out in the street and at gas stations with cool people. We're just playing with different toys as we get older. It’s funny, a lot of Porsche people I hang out with come from BMX or skate worlds.
You travel often for work. What's been the most surreal place you've ventured to on a photography assignment?
Yeah, so crazy! I mean the past few years international travel was kinda limited due to all the covid shit... so, during that time I shot locally in France and I kind of rediscovered the country for what it is – it's very beautiful and diverse.
How has travel been for you now that borders are opening up?
Yes, so happy to travel again! Recently, I’ve been to Spain, Canary Island, Germany, and California… I can’t complain! I always love shooting in California or South Africa, both fantastic places.
Which three places or cities (fictional or real) would you love to photograph and why?
I would go to the desert!! No cities, haha. I’m trying to go to Utah next month. I'd also love to shoot Mars, that would be insane – just a giant deserted planet.
Your debut book Get In highlights your life on the road, with a couple of friends and classic cars in tow.. Tell us a little bit more about this project.
Ah, the book! Yeah, I'm so proud of this project. I think the initial concept came from an Etnies trip to Japan with Aaron Ross, the BMX rider. Aaron is also a Porsche enthusiast. We were over there on the trip, just having fun shooting cars in the street... Japan is so cool for that... Aaron suggested that because I was travelling so much for work, I should do a book. The best idea. The first edition went out just before Covid and sold out super fast. We reprinted a second edition. So crazy, I didn't expect it to go so well...
How good! Where can we get a copy of the book?
Ah, now it’s difficult because the reprint is almost sold out too! However, there are still a few copies at the Deus Cafe, Biarritz. I did an accompanying exhibition and second release there. I’m now working on a second book. However, let me find you a copy of Get In to send to you!
Your photography extends far beyond automotive, what else do you enjoy taking photos of?
What I like the most is… to vary! I still like to shoot action sports. However, I'm always trying to mix it up. Recently, I've been shooting still life (perfume, watch brands). I also got hired to shoot Bayern Munich FC for Nike. Shooting soccer is a totally different world!
It's always nice to challenge yourself and shoot things you normally wouldn't poke your camera at.
I’m like what the fuck am I doing here, haha. It’s fun! Bayern Munich are one of the biggest European clubs and the producer on the shoot came from the skate (Julian Dykmans), so it was a really cool shoot. I’m never bored! If I was only shooting cars all of the time I would be so sad.
What projects are you cooking up at the moment?
I've always got something going on! Currently, I’m working on a collab with Clae, a shoe company from LA.
So, like your own shoe?
Yeah! It's crazy to have a signature shoe when you come from an extreme sports background! I’m going to shoot all of the content soon, and it will be out next year. As mentioned, I'm also working on a second book project, which takes a lot of time and energy to get right. I'm also trying to get a good snap for House of Spoils.
I know their work... they're in LA, right?
Yeah, they represent me! They're a Venice-based gallery that specialises in high-quality art for your walls.
In your eyes, what makes for a perfect image? What do you look for in a frame?
Ah, that's a hard one because it's so subjective. For me, it would be light. It doesn't matter what the subject is, as long as the light is interesting.
What cameras and film stock are you running at the moment?
This is my drama! Personally, the perfect camera doesn’t exist, so I always carry tonnes of shit with me, haha. At the moment I have my Fujifilm GFX 100s (digital medium format), my Pentax 645, and a couple of Contax cameras. Film-wise, things are getting tighter! I’m sad because companies have stopped producing so many film stocks. I remember when I first started shooting, there were so many options. Nowadays, I'm using mostly Portra and sometimes Cinestill for night shots… However, I’m gonna try the old (new) Kodak Gold, which is now the cheapest, most expensive one, haha. Man, the prices of film now!
When on a road trip, what's your go-to kit camera kit?
All that gear at a minimum is my usual set-up, with a few lenses in tow... hello back pain.
What's in your Hung Supply Sidewalk Camera Sling?
At home, I like to cruise around with my Contax T2, and the bag is so perfect for that camera.
You've nailed the quintessential car driving off into the sunset shot...
Ahaha, really? I've tried to work on that. Biarritz is really good for shooting those scenes!
Would you say this is your favourite time of day to shoot?
Yeah, with a sunset you always get something magical. I also like to shoot when it's a little foggy... get that misty magic. I’m still searching for that perfect shot!
If you could only shoot one camera and drive one Porsche for the rest of your life, what's at the wheel?
I would pick up a 645 or 6x7 film camera and my 68 Frog, for sure!
You shoot both film and digital, correct? Do you have a preferred medium?
Not really, sometimes I prefer to shoot film. However, for commercial jobs, you know how it is… Digital is usually the way. Although, I’ve been shooting more film for jobs. It just depends on the rush of delivery. Even phone cameras are good nowadays, haha. And you don’t have to carry heavy equipment, which is a luxury for me!
What do you enjoy most about shooting on film?
The imperfection! I mean I shoot digital medium format, which is so perfect, so sharp, and so clean. You can zoom in on all of the details forever. You can take 200 photos of the same subject and never miss a shot. However, is it too much?
The details of medium format film are just as insane, but then you get all of that grainy goodness and imperfections. Plus, you take your time with your frame and usually shoot one photo, as opposed to 200.
Everyone always asks what's the best advice you've ever received in regards to photography, however, what is the best advice you can give?
I get this question quite often, haha! Try and find something to shoot that you're passionate about! So many kids tell me they want to become photographers, but they're not sure what they want to shoot… I think they just want to become influencers.
Hahaha, shoot themselves?
Yes, becoming famous with selfies, hahaha. I think they just need to find what subject matter motivates them, whether it's fashion, cars, architecture, sports, landscapes, journalism… or themselves, haha.
What gets you hyped outside of photography and cars?
Ah, to spend time with my wife and my Dog Bruno, of course! Working on my car is also a good hobby.
Name three Instagram handles we should check out and why. They can be photographers, friends, inspiration...
That's a hard one because there are so many… I would say @purienne because he is the master of that hedonist lifestyle, and he's been copied by so many people. @platoux for those Biarritz lighting vibes, and @type7 for all of your car and architecture inspiration.
Which three people alive or dead, would you want to take on your next road trip and why?
I'd dream to go on tour for a year with The Rolling Stones in the 70’s… But they're four people!
Check out more of Vince's photography HERE.
Shop the Sidewalk Camera Sling HERE.