What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Check my phone, I guess like many people. I think, subconsciously,we all suffer from F.O.M.O., fear of missing out on things when we sleep, so we want to catch up with the rest of the world as soon as possible.
How did the Face Hunter adventure start?
It started in Paris, nearly 8 years ago. I was working in advertising, being a copywriter and a freelance writer as well. At that time I received my first digital camera and somehow start taking pictures of people: faces at art openings and other events. In the meantime, I started collaborating with online magazines, writing about new phenomenona so I thought I could do the same thing, but through photography. Back then l’d be looking for interesting faces in Paris and posted them in bloogspot, so I could share them with people living in other countries who were curious about Paris. I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it. We are talking here of 2006 when there wasn’t a blogger superstar deal, and no money, of course. It was just a sort of naive idea. Eventually people started following what I was doing from different places in the world. I started working with magazines, and then I went to NY for the first time. After a little while Condé Nast hired me to cover the fashion week (it was science fiction for me) and then some brands added and that is how it became my profession.
Yvan likes to photograph people that…
People that are not following just the trends. People that are not fashionistas. People that don’t just wear the It bag. I just try to capture people that are not doing what everyone else is doing, but are expressing themselves through clothes in their own way, putting their souls and personalities into it. So then, they became attractive, interesting and fascinating people that make me feel I want to know more about them, to get to know them better and photograph them.
Yvan doesn’t like to photograph people that…
People that seem to want to be someone else. People that are trying too hard. People who think that wearing a brand it’s having style.
Do you have a leitmotiv?
Make things happen yourself. Don’t wait for them to just happen. I’ll never say I’m not lucky or that the things I wanted never happened to me. I feel that when I want something I create the opportunity, the situation that might bring out what I want to accomplish.
What makes Yvan happy?
Surprises make me happy.
What makes you unhappy?
Predictability. When I know in advance what’s going to happen. I just don’t feel it’s so interesting…
If you were a song today which one would you be?
I’d be Step, from Vampire Weekend.
Your favourite food in the whole world?
Peruvian cuisine… I’m obsessed with it. From all the places I’ve been that is the most incredible food experience I’ve had. Because there is a diversity, there is an infinite way for them to interpret the same dish. There is a lot of fusion also, like NIKE cuisine, Japanese and Peruvian coming together.
Where was the craziest place you went to for Face Hunter?
The one that surprised me the most was Iceland. The very first time I got there I wasn’t expecting at all to see people in such a small and remote place have so much self confidence style-wise. They have the same confidence as New Yorkers and Londoners. The crazy crazy one was in Colombia. It was quite difficult for me to photograph there because even if there are a lot of beautiful women dressed up head to toe, and you might get the feeling that they are looking for attention, they wouldn’t want to get their photo taken because either they are married, and can’t, or they just feel it’s not appropriate in their culture. In Cartagena I took a photo of a beautiful young girl, before asking for her permission and everything seems to be fine, so after we finished taking the picture, I keep on going with my walk through the city; five minutes later she comes running after me with heels in her hands yelling that I must delete the photo we just took, but not at all in a nice way, actually in quite a dramatic and angry spirit. So yes, that was crazy, violent, interesting and shocking. A good experience to have, a nice story to tell.
What is it that you love the most about your job?
Being in so many different places all the time. Meeting a lot of interesting people. That is priceless, I guess. I also love the contrast of it all. I’ll be one day in Bielorussia and the day after I’ll be in Hawaii; completely different cultures within 14 hours’ flight, something so stimulating and enlightening for me.
What is it that you love the least about your job?
Passing the security check at the airport. I travel with lots of electronics so it gets kind of annoying taking everything out and then everything back in over and over. Not a big deal. Just a little detail. And then also it’s hard to stay in touch with your friends and the people you like. I’ll hit the same city maybe three or four times in a year for little periods of time, so it could get tricky, but I accept it. I had more stability before in my life and I’m sure I’ll have it later, so I appreciate this moment and take it as it is.
Ask yourself a question and give yourself an answer…
What do you think of skinniness as a model of beauty in the media and fashion world? I think it’s absurd for most women: they always tell you they want to lose weight because there is a part of their bodies that they don’t like and have to improve. While, if you ask men about the same women and how they look they will tell you they look perfect to them and they wouldn’t want those women to lose weight. Then women tell you they’re doing it for themselves, but what is yourself? Isn’t it a reflection of what other people might consider? A lot of women go through unnecessary pain because they think that they have the wrong body, but they don’t, they are great. That makes me somehow, sometimes, sad. I think it’s pointless suffering.
When was the last time someone surprised you?
Your last question, when you asked me to “ask myself a question and give myself an answer” surprised me, because most of the time people ask the same things, and I wasn’t expecting that one.
Is there anything in fashion that you know for sure you’ll never wear?
I guess that I’ll never wear Ugg.