Félix Michaud on Making Sculptural Photographs of Alain Carle Architecte’s NORM

Félix Michaud on Making Sculptural Photographs of Alain Carle Architecte’s NORM

Project of the Week

Some photographs have a painterly quality, and others are sculptural. Today’s Project of the Week by Félix Michaud is the latter.

Félix’s work effuses a quiet and breathless quality, all while translating a three-dimensional space through a two-dimensional medium. This project – NORM by Alain Carle Architecte in Baie D’Urfé, Qc. Canada – is the perfect example. Shall we?

Félix introduces us to NORM by sharing “The feeling in this place was very special, there was this spirit of general calm. Calm, but super stimulating from a photographic point of view since every part of the house had the potential to create a good photograph.

Most striking was the simplicity of the place – minimalist to such an extent that it seemed impossible to project yourself living there, but irresistibly attractive at the same time. [My main goal] was to show this cleanliness of space, attention to detail as well as how this house is connected to its immediate exterior.”

He delivers on this goal. Félix crafts graphic and geometric compositions that show slivers of the house without giving it away entirely. The bold and simplistic lines of the structure contrast with the organic shapes of the clouds and trees. There is dimensionality despite the soft light, and that snowdrift just adds an extra layer of context to this scene.

I asked Félix a bit about the shoot day. He tells “It was a full day on the site. Unlike most of the places I have to photograph where people have lived for some time, it was not long or difficult to place the space since it was already purified to the maximum. But as I mentioned earlier, one of the challenges has been choosing what to photograph, especially since at this time of year the days end particularly early.”

The reductive quality of the space is very apparent here. Félix makes the most of this by focusing on space, light, and form. The gradients and patterns of light emphasize shapes and details that we may have missed if the space were photographed at high noon, full of furniture and distractions.

His compositions make the most of this distilled-down project. The shapes do all the talking here.

“This project was photographed with a Fuji x-t3 and a variety of lenses ranging from 14mm to 35mm. I didn’t have to use a particular or different technique than what I do most of the time – that is, be aware of what is happening while I am there and be ready to capture it. There was no need for artificial lighting” he explains.

“What interests me the most is to relate this specific moment, this experience that I am going through personally. That said, there is a large part of this work which then lies in editing the images in order to shape them according to the lived experience.”

Just look at the way the light carves out the space and accentuates the texture on the walls.

Adding little elements like the closet door being opened a hair, and the light on in the bath area adds a subtle element of life and color to these images. It is just enough to elevate them without distracting from the rest of the scene or causing these images to break away from the rest of the series.

This next image is one of my favorites. The form is incredible. The strong lines contrast beautifully with the soft monochromatic color palate.

Félix goes on to share the philosophy behind his photographs. He says “I believe that the subject and the chosen moment will influence the way of approaching [the project] and perceiving it once there. It is then just necessary to be attentive to what occurs then and to record it in images. Visit the place and identify the most important areas, get a feel for the place and then take your time…all the time necessary.”

Many thank you’s to Félix for sharing NORM with us here at APALMANAC!

Check out the rest of Félix’s work at felixmichaud.com and on Instagram at @michaudfelix_photo.

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

Howdy! I'm Lexi. I write and make photographs. I love being outside and listening to '00s indie rock.
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