ROBERT CHOURAQUI: photographer

Probably France's most prolific glamour, fashion and fetish photographer, Robert Chouraqui, has dedicated years to capturing Europe's most beautiful models on film and getting them printed around the world. Chouraqui has developed his own style of "nude portraits," as he calls them, which focus on the intimacy of faces rather than the anonymity of bodies. His work appeared in all the major magazines and in four of his own books.

MS: When did you start working as a photographer, and why?
RC: I started serious photography in the Eighties. Before that, I was a member of a psychedelic lights show group that did projections for pop bands during concerts and festivals, and in clubs. I began photography because we needed photos to project during these shows. I bought a camera and some photo books, and began to look for models with strange faces and unusual clothing designers.

MS: What does photography mean to you?
RC: To me, it means to beautify people more than they are in real life. I love reactions of models what I've shot of them, after having had bad experiences with other photographers.

MS: Your photography has been described as gothic. Is it?
RC: I had a fascination with this type of photography before it had the name gothic. We used to call it "atmospheric."

MS: What is the difference between your fine art photography and what you do commercially for clients?
RC: Basically, there is no difference, though you do have to adapt to various clients' needs. For the most part, my clothing catalogue, illustration and magazine clients know my style and come to me for it.

MS: Do you photograph only women?
RC: Mainly women, because the opportunities to embellish their look are not as great with men. For example, there is less to play with as far as makeup and hair with men than there is with women. In all honesty, that's just an excuse. I just love women.

MS: How long is a normal photo session for you?
RC: A session with a model usually lasts about three hours. I, myself, can work for eight hours without a problem. I don't feel tired until after I'm done.

MS: Here, at Modelspring, we love models that represent markets of all kinds: plus size, petites, etc. How about you?
RC: I agree somewhat, though our tastes may differ. Personally, I love models that can create a change or trend in the market, like Betty Page with punk fashion, or Kate Moss with…well, everything.

MS: How do you see the Internet affecting photography and modeling?
RC: Access. I recruit many of my models from the Internet, especially when shooting outside France. For the models, it's a direct way to have their portfolios seen by professionals.



MS: Any advice for beginning models?
RC: Find a good photographer and get some photos up on an Internet site. Good photographers don't make their money from tests, so they are less likely to do so. If they do, however, they usually won't do it for money, but for love of the model's look and potential. All they may ask for is expenses. Any girl who thinks she has face that might interest me should send a photo directly to me. Who knows?

MS: A personal thought?
RC: I am grateful to all women who have had me photograph them. They all give me a piece of their soul.

MS: Any dream?
RC: Being twenty years old again, but with the experiences gained into my forties.