Provocative, classical and alluring are words that spring to mind when one sees Tristan Stefan Edouard's photography. "I’ve been told it’s on the rougher/rawer side of things," he said.
"Subject wise, I like to capture raw emotion from a person. A lot of my work is stuff that is around me that I just flick because I have my camera with me, I don’t go searching for it and I guess it seems interesting to people because its stuff they don’t see everyday. "I find it tough to explain my style, I just do what I do," he added.
Tristan started carrying a point a shoot around from the age of 12 "because I was always out with my friends doing crazy shit and there was never anyone with a camera documenting it."
"I’ve got a terrible memory and so many cool/funny/crazy things happen in life everyday that you would never remember if it wasn't documented," he said.
"I would always take and photo and think, damn, if I had an SLR this would be the sickest photo. So after about 8 years of saying that, I finally bought an SLR, I fell in love, and after that I never really put it down. I also found that those 8 years of using the point and shoot trained my eye without me knowing it.”
Tristan taught himself the art of photography by reading books and asking people for advice.Drawing inspiration from a vast array of people including; art directors, rappers, graffiti writers, businessmen, small business owners and DJs, Tristan is not trying to reinvent the wheel.
"My inspiration is sporadic; it could be anything from the new Rihanna film clip to some classic boom bap hip hop from the 90s. I guess in terms of photography, I would say Peter Lik, Jonathan Mannion and 13th witness," he said.
When it comes to choosing his subject matter, Tristan steers away from the norm and photographs people and places that are rarely seen. "Now, after doing it for so long, I feel I have the random shoot on the spot with no plan technique down pat. As my career progresses, I find myself planning shoots a lot more now and ironing out all the little creases to make sure I get a winning shot," he said.
Hard work and sacrifice is what separates Tristan from the pack. "I’m working from the time I wake up and grab the laptop while my eyes are still heavy, until the time I put the laptop down in the am. And there’s no sleep-in. I give up time with my friends and family to work instead of socialising and spending time with them. I made the jump and quit work and have lived on 2 minute noodles for a long time, just so I could be doing what I love and take photos," he said.
Tristan has already completed his first feature film as still photographer for the new Aussie film staring Ryan Kwanten from True Blood.
"I did Fashion Week for the first time and shot backstage and the runway. I worked on a large scale tour where I got so much exclusive stuff and portraits of Snoop, The Game, T-Pain, Bow Wow, Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Ciara, Keri Hilson.”
"I started selling limited edition framed prints which had an overwhelming response and I’ve pretty much sold out of the run. I came face to face with African Lions, Great White Sharks and Hippos and got some amazing shots whilst in South Africa.
I travelled the East coast and Adelaide and Melbourne working on a new book project and snapped some of the finest rappers/ graf writers the country has to offer. Got my two first magazine covers, one of Briggs and one of Thundamentals. This was also be my first year with magazine spreads in Inked Magazine," he said.
As for the future, Tristan plans to head over to NYC and LA to do some work and shoot a few people. He is still shooting for the Triple JJJ Hip Hop show whenever international guests come in. "I am also releasing my first published book titled ‘This Life.’ This Life is a book I’ve been working on for a few years with Ben Allen from www.thslfe.com. It’s a photographic book based around our lives and people and things that have inspired us.”
"I’d call it a documentation of Australian youth culture involving the misfits and individuals who don’t follow the rules and do their own thing. Its one big mash up of rappers, writers, artists, graf, tats, girls, money, drugs, cars, long necks, hip hop, sneakers, abandos, partying, mayhem, skating, drinking, live shows etc. Kind of like an insiders view into a youth lifestyle that the average person doesn’t get to see. Some of our friends skate 24/7, some of our friends paint trains, some of our friends play sell-out shows to thousands of people and some of our friends are drug addicts, we capture all this and more via photographs," Tristan said.
For more on Tristian Stefan Edouard see – Tristian's Website