Through The Lens

Yann Ostiguy

September 7th, 2010, by Dan Grant

Earlier this year Montréal's W Hotel staged an exhibition of fashion photography where a Yann Ostiguy series was presented alongside works from Anouk Lessard, Leda & St-Jacques and Pierre Manning.

What struck me most about Yann's work was not only the striking composition, but the degree of detail. In an increasingly photoshopped industry where plastic complexions are becoming the norm, every texture... each minute detail of every fabric was clearly visible.

The man is very talented, and also a hell of a good guy.




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Jessiann Gravel (Montage) and Jean-François (Next) by Yann Ostiguy
Art & Design Montreal exhibit at the W Hotel
styling: Jenn Finkelstein (Folio)
makeup and hair: Steven Turpin (Folio)

You're known as being one of those photographers that is buying new gear almost weekly. Is it a technology obsession, or the quest for new and different ways to shoot?
Hahaha!! Who told you that? Not weekly but often yes, I admit it, I'm a geek on photographic equipment. It's kind of cool to have new options for getting a particular result.

Long before I met you the other photographers in Montréal were telling me what a great guy you are. Have you ever snapped at anybody on set?
Never, I'm really easy going, there is always a way to resolve a problem without screaming and yelling.

Are you playing music on set, and if so, what's playing?
I let other people pick the music, because I'm a little bit old school and I like weird music too - not so good on set! The best thing is to ask the models to put on their music so they get in a good mood for the photoshoot.

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Kelly Craig (Folio) by Yann Ostiguy for Z!NK Canada
styling: Jenn Finkelstein (Folio)
makeup and hair: Leslie-Ann Thomson (Folio)

Your photos, although using modern techniques, still retain a very classic feel to them. Do you draw your influence from fashion (past or present), other photographers or something else?
My main influence is Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott. They are the reason I decided to give fashion photography a try, but I like other photographers' styles; Greg Kadel, Matthias Vriens, David Lachapelle, Helmut Newton to name a few. As for the feel of my pictures it always depends on who I'm working with. The stylists and makeup artists I work with have amazing creative talent, so we always decide the theme and feeling of the creative together. Team work is very important for me.

Since Z!NK Canada and Kill came on the market, Montréal photographers are getting a lot more recognition in the rest of Canada. Which other Montréal photographer's style do you most admire?
There are so many good photographers in Montréal, I like Max Abadian's and Maude Arsenault's style, but I admire what my friends Donat and Mackenzie Duncan are doing. I like Shayne Laverdière's and Saad Al-Hakkak's work too - we are the new generation of fashion photographers in Montréal.

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Marie-Eve Bergeron (Next) by Yann Ostiguy for Z!NK Canada
styling: Annie Gignac
makeup and hair: Leslie-Ann Thomson (Folio)

Did you train for photography, or were you self-taught?
I trained for photography a long time ago! I finished my photography course in Quebec City in 1996. Ouch!! That doesn't help me, I feel old now ;)

Some photographers love doing touch-ups (photoshop), others hate it. How do you feel?
I really don't like too much photoshop, I'm pretty old school on that too, when I studied photography there was no digital, only film, and no photoshop at all. Right now you have no choice but to do a little bit of retouching because a digital file is so flat by default. You have to do a bit of tweeking to give it some punch or a certain signature like film.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still doing fashion photography, but I don't know where. New-York? I like to think that I could do it sometimes :) I still have to practice my English though... lol!

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Isabelle Giguère (Montage) by Yann Ostiguy for Z!NK Canada
styling: Olivia Leblanc (Rodeo)
makeup and hair: Marco Marsolais (Gloss)

Does the Ostiguy name really come from Pirate ancestors?
Hahaha!! He was selling rum to buy scotch!! lol!! Rumours says he was a "Corsaire" - that's like a legal Pirate if I could say that. They were mandated by the king of France to take on any enemy ship during the war against England. He supposedly lived in St-Domingue in the Caribbean before coming to Canada in 1754. I like to think that is true because I like rum a lot!! lol

Your cousin started what might be the best brew pub in Canada (Dieu du Ciel!). Which is your favourite beer?
La Fumesterie (a hemp red ale) and Péché Mortel (a cofee stout), and yes my cousin's beers are amazing!! Thanks Dan of doing such good publicity on his beers!! I hope next time I go to Toronto we can drink a Dieu du Ciel beer! (Dan's note: my favourite is Routes des Épices; a peppercorn rye beer)

Patrick Roy or Ken Dryden? (and why?)
Patrick Roy, because I still remember the Stanley Cup in 1993 and it was so amazing!! We would not have done it without him. He was the reason we won the Cup that year, and since he was traded Les Canadiens have had so much trouble!! I hope Cary Price can take on his winning path someday.

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Doriane Monnier (Folio) by Yann Ostiguy for Z!NK Canada
styling: Cary Tauben (Folio)
makeup and hair: Leslie-Ann Thomson (Folio)

What about you would surprise people?
I can't think of anything about me that would surprise people... what you see is what you get, I don't play games. I am true and honest, pretty boring, I know ;) Oh yeah, and for people who work with me on photoshoots, I can eat something other than St-Hubert chicken lol!!

Anything else you want readers to know?
I want to take the opportunity to thank the amazing people I've worked with over the years. Amazing stylists like Jenn Finkelstein, Cary Tauben, Olivia Leblanc, Annie Gignac, and also amazing Hair and Makeup artists like Leslie-Ann Thomson, Steven Turpin, Marco Marsolais, Nicolas Blanchet, Paco to name a few, and of course the beautiful models!! I would not be where I am right now in my career without them.


Blogs We Follow

Cailin Hill (The Model Burnbook)

Models x Models (Models x Models)

Liis Windischmann's (14+ LouLou blog)

Laura Kell (A Model Life)

Madison Schill (Chic Greek Geek)

Kathleen Burbridge (Kathleen in Wonderland)

Ania Boniecka (A n i a . B)

Shawn Dezan (motivated//ambition)