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Chasing freedom with French photographer Fabien Voileau

Fabien Voileau uses photography as a way to stop the overwhelming process of thinking, and this is one of the reasons he finds it so addictive. Being more than an amateur by now, it has already been nine years since Fabien has been practising photography as a career. Being originally from the Atlantic Coast, but now living in Paris, I was surprised when he told me that he was living in a city where surfing wasn’t part of the culture. But it was something paradoxical, and that’s what I liked about him and his art: it was uncommon. “I probably never would have gotten this opportunity if I was living elsewhere than Paris. It was and still is a big help towards my career”, was his answer when I asked him if it was hard to grow in the industry while being far from any adventures and especially, surfing. “The negative aspect of it is the lack of ocean and surfing. It’s probably what will make me leave, maybe tomorrow, maybe in ten years”. Being far away from the sea is something that can hurt anyone with a passion for nature and the surfing lifestyle, but with the goal to work towards his career, Fabien closes his eyes and works his way to the top.

What is he exactly searching for though? “I am searching for absolute freedom, a simple return to the elements”. Growing up close to the water, he woke up almost ten years ago, when he was 22, and his whole life suddenly made sense—he had to go. It’s the wake-up call we all go through one day or another, the moment where you realize you need to decide what you want to do with your life and who you want to be. For him, it was with only a few bucks in his pockets and an endless curiosity about the world that he left home. He had an insatiable desire to learn new things and go take photos of waves, so, he did. After that, he got hooked on the adrenaline you get once you get out your comfort zone, “you can’t stop afterwards, or nothing else makes sense anymore”.

Fabien Voileau’s experience reminds us of what we’re too scared to go live ourselves—the excuses we keep repeating in our heads in order to stay in our comfort zone. He is capturing with his camera the moments we take for granted, the little before and after that actually matters way more than the “perfect” photo.

Fabien won’t stop making us daydream as he’s leaving next week to meet up with his girlfriend in New Zealand for a month, a backpack full of films and desire. “I never want to stop this life of adventures, pictures and surf. Never!”, he added. Well, we don’t want you to Fabien, stay with us, capture the dream and share everything with us, we can’t wait to see what’s going to be next! 

See more of his work and follow him through New Zealand via his website and his Instagram.

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