Yves Kortum is a photographer. He was born in Luxembourg in 1969 and he began shooting in 1987; his expertise comes from the field since he left the school of photography where he was studying in Bruxelles. Then, in 1993 he started to work as a freelance fashion photographer. In 2005 he moved to Paris where he specialised in hair photography and now he works for big brands including L'Oréal Professional, RTL, Schwarzkopf, Wella, Davines and Jitrois.
What pushed you into photography?
Actually if I would be silly I would tell you the truth and it was at my age of 10 that I saw by accident the movie 'Blow up' and the scene which always stayed in my eyes was the photographer playing around with beautiful girls, but then again as I am not silly, I would say my father was a hobby photographer and he made pictures of some models so I always watched him doing it.
Yves, I would like to talk with you about the future of photography. It all started from the human need to represent itself and the world around; from rock-painting to portraits, from analogic cameras till the digital age, this one is in continous evolution. Today, everything is available for everyone, technical capabilities are not necessary anymore given the level reached by technology so everyone can make good photographs. Many people, for example, make advertising campaign of brands by using a simple smartphone and, thanks to the applications, the user gets better and better results. How do you think that photography will change over the next 5 years?
Photography has changed a lot since I started, and it's true that many people do a lot of great things with smartphones but I think that to make a good photo, you must first understand the light. For me the light and everything that comes from it like the shadows, the reflections are the most important to make a picture great. I think in my photography without these skills you can't do what is needed. Sure there are a lot of magazines that use photos from amateurs/hobby photographers but actually lot of magazines still want quality in their pages. The photo-journalists have the biggest problems as anybody can do photos on the street with their smartphone, actually there are a lot of magazines that don't wanna pay for photos anymore and just ask in ads the people to make photos for them. But I think in 5 years time maybe little longer people come back to the roots of photography, at least those that want to give their brand the perfect image.
What do you do when you're looking for a inspiration?
My inspirations I get it mostly from theater or movies. I love to see the old movies of 50s,. 60s, and 70s and most of my images have a touch of stories from that times.
Let's talk about shooting women, what type of model do you think is ideal for a shot that is not commissioned?
I love all kind of women, I have a faible for darker skin. The models must feel and understand what the photographer wants, they must complete each other to make a great job.
What kind of advice would you give to a photography enthusiast who decides to turn pro?
And which are the mistakes to absolutely avoid in order to not compromise forever their reputation in this business? To find his own style, his own photography, it is ok to inspire yourself from other photogrpahers but never copy them, shoot your own way. Be around with positive, creative people because with a strong team your photogrpahy gets greater.
For a photographer is more important to be a good artist, a good salesman or a good PR?
3 in one woud be perfect but if you're good in all 3 you can't be great in any of them. If you don't have the artistic skills you have to have around you some real artists to get inspired. If you are perfectly artistic, pay a PR and a salesman.
There are many categories in photography, I think of fashion, glamour, the portrait and so on. Which one do you like the most and why?
I love to do portraits of people, trying to find in my image their real character, see in every of their wrinkles what they have been through.
It has been a pleasure to have you here with us and now we understand a bit more about you and the world in which you operate. I close with one last question. Tell us, in a single word, what is photography for you?