Frederic arrived with literally a truckload of equipment. He says he usually also brings an assistant and many more lights. He turned out to be quite the raconteur as he's worked in more than 40 countries covering all the major wars and disasters as well as photographing top CEOs and celebrities. Amongst others, he has met and photographed Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul11, Barak Obama, Steve Jobs and dictators such as Gadaffi, (who was killed last week) Saddam Hussein and Mubarak.
I was surprised that although his career was sometimes dangerous and sometimes glamorous he enjoys shooting homes: "I love to shoot interiors because I appreciate architecture. I enjoy the full creative control during a photo shoot as well the technical challenge."
Frederic said "You have to create a mood, it's all in the details." To that end he dried damp spots from the rain, moved plants and vegetables and weighed in on the colour of towels in the bathroom. An experienced handyman he even took out a side window to get a better shot of the stove and fridge area.
|Frederic photographing our kitchen|
|Frederic takes a final photo of me, Russ and Wencke|
Frederic's memories of photographing:
Muammar Gaddafi: I photographed Gaddadi several times in my career, in Libya and other parts of the world. He always struck me as a bit crazy but a great showman. Any picture of him would get excellent play worldwide. I remember the day he showed up at an Arab summit in Algeria wearing a white glove à la Michael Jackson. The entire buzz during this summit was about this. I was in Tripoli during the US bombing in 1986, but the picture of him I like the most is the one of him in Aswan, Upper Egypt, riding along ex-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who was driving. It was so unexpected that it created chaos among the journalists. I jumped on the hood of Mubarak’s Mercedes and managed to get the best shot before being whisked away by the security.
|Fredi and one of Gadaffi's pregnant security guards|
Saddam Hussein: Gaddafi was a bad man but Saddam Hussein was worse. I never dared doing anything wrong around Hussein. He was so scary that even his ministers turned white when he looked at them.
Princess Diana: I photographed Princess Diana when she visited Egypt. She was scheduled to visit a pre-school. The British Embassy in Cairo hired me to shoot this visit. The goal was to take enough good pictures to make a photo exhibition of at least 40 pictures. That was a challenge because the tour was supposed to last only 45 minutes. The good part was that I was going to be the only photographer allowed inside, while the rest of the press corps was kept outside. The tour went smoothly and she was very nice and cooperative. We chatted a bit but unfortunately there was no time for real conversation. She felt at ease after I told her that I was there to catch her at her best. I remember her as very sweet and kind. She was a real princess.
Frederic: Five things to remember when taking a photo.
|Frederic transmitting from Liberia 1990|
1. Photography is more than just capturing images with a device. It is a language.
2. Having the best camera does not make you the best photographer. Cameras are just tools.
3. Pay attention to details. If there is an element in the picture that is not relevant, you should have framed differently.
4. Humans react better to warm colors than cold colors
5. Know everything about your camera. Read the manual from start to finish.