Conversations: French Fred


Fred Mortagne aka French Fred

Conversations by WUFFA

Name: Fred Mortagne aka French Fred

Age: 42

Profession: Director and Photographer

Nationality: French

Favourite word: Merci


1) How would you introduce yourself to a 5 y.o. child?

I am a child just like you, although a little bit different looking. I like growing up, but I make sure to stay as much connected as the child that I once was, and that is the best advice I can give you. Protect yourself from the too serious world of adults. They think they know the truth, but maybe you know more than them. There isn’t one truth that applies to everyone. You need to find yours and cherish it.

2) Looking back, can you tell us what have been the highlights in your career of a photographer and film maker so far?

I would say every time I reached the next level. Starting to make skate videos professionally for skate companies back in 2000 with the best skaters in the world was the hugest thrill. That meant I could center my life around the thing I loved the most: skateboarding. And that of course brought so many positive things to my life, as well as setting my future for the better. Without skateboarding I would have been lost in life. But so, to be still working around skateboarding after all these years means that I had to work hard and re-invent myself all the time for every project. And as I said, keep on moving forward, every time, is an important and rewarding step. The most recent highlight is, of course, my book Attraper Au Vol, which is my first monography, and it celebrates 15 years of photography. The feedback from people couldn’t be any better, which comforts and confirms the idea that I have been on the right path all these years. Bringing joy and pleasure to people, when sharing with them my own vision and contribution about skateboarding is the best feeling ever.

3) As a photographer, how would you describe your signature style?

I play a lot with architecture, light, shadows, lines. I mix all these ingredients to create something that goes beyond reality. Despite the fact that it is monochromatic and very geometrical, it is charged with poetry and sensitivity.  And most of all, I try to have a unique view on life, to bring my own contribution to the vast world of photography. There are so many talented photographers, I mean, more and more, now that it is accessible to everyone, that when my own work starts standing out a little bit, it is very rewarding.

4) What motivates you to continue taking photos economically and emotionally?

I’m gradually shooting more and more photography. It really holds special attraction for me. It really is a strong personal approach and research. I am not much interested in the commercial aspect of it, although I can now apply my very own style for commercial projects…as long as it doesn’t involve the corruption of what I like to do, otherwise there is no point. No compromises. If that motto stops me from getting jobs, I don’t care. Staying true to myself and having the luxury of always doing the things that I want is the most precious thing.

5) Is there anything in the world you would like to learn, see, or experience?

I will never have enough time to experience all the things I would like to. I will try whenever possible, but I also focus on certain things to make them stronger, instead of doing a bit of everything. This is a little contradiction, because my work is very diverse and I do a lot of different things. The main reason is that I try to avoid routine as much as possible and to never get bored! I always pushed back the project of having a kid, and now that I am a daddy, I wonder why I waited so long! This is definitely one of the highlights in my life.

*Lead image by Fred Mortagne: Charles Collet, ollie fakie, fullpipes

Full pipes curves


Reflection of Javier Mendizabal pushing in Zaragossa


Brandon Westgate, flume


Steve Forstner, FsCrooks


Mechanic stairs & lady, model reflection, Nimes


Business guy, beach in Lisbon


Steeve Ramy, varial flip, auditorium, Lyon


Empty parking lot, Tokyo


Lightray man, San Francisco


FRED, self-portrait, Soulages Museum

Instagram: @frenchfred

Interview by Wuffa | Alisa Nikitina

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