From the minute that Ian and Erick Regnard started talking about the importance of supporting local talent I knew I was going to love them. The boys were kind enough to sit down with us over coffee a couple of days after the opening of their exhibition ‘Floating Bits’ (now showing at Linton and Kay - get down there, it’s insane) to talk about the amazing process they undertook to produce the series.
(We met up with Ian and Erick at Panache Cafe.)
Laid back and charming with a delightful French accent, we spent an hour chatting about everything from politics to the exploding small bar scene and why young people should not be intimidated about investing in art from a young age. Holly and I have both started our collections on a shoe string thanks to the generosity and understanding of local artists but we really want to break down the stigma of art collecting and trust us - 10 minutes with the Regnards and you will be wondering what you were so afraid of.
(Having a bit of a giggle.)
The images they have produced for ‘floating bits’ are stunning and were a true labour of love. Shot on Polaroid film, Ian and Erick could not see what they were shooting once underwater but had to use a tape measure to ensure the model was the correct distance away to be in the shot. After each picture they then had to surface before drying and reloading the camera. Both beautifully peaceful and strangely eery the exhibition plays with the idea of supervised solitude and need to be seen in person to be believed.
1. What inspired you to become a photographer?
I think it was definitely the love of the ocean! We were a big fan of Jaques Cousteau when we were young and we wanted very much to capture it's beauty.
2. How did you two start working together? Was is a conscious decision or an organic evolution?
Erick bought a camera in 1991 and dabbled with it for a while to then decided to give photography a go as a profession, I was helping him out all the time, coming on shoot and so on and then moved in full time with him.
3. Favourite exhibition?
Ryan Mcingley, Nick Brant.
4. Most memorable moment in regards to your work?
Photographing Helena Christensen
5. Is the creative process more or less challenging when you have someone to share it with?
Well the good thing is you can bounce off ideas on each other and both of us are giving input to make each shot better! We criticise each other therefore pushing the boundaries.
6. Tell us what inspired 'Floating Bits'?
"Floating Bits" was basically a two stage project being the second leg after the one we did in Tahiti (A Thousand Kisses Deep). We heard of this island in the Pacific where you could see 60-100m underwater where whales travel so we decided to get a girl and shoot her underwater there. The shoot in tahiti was going to be a test for the camera as it was shallow waters and therefore easier to learn and handle. But this proved to be the most amazing photos of the two. For both stages we had all the positions worked out way before going to those places. Positions that meant something, attributing them to feelings or personal experience in the past. When it was time to shoot in Nuie, these positions were meant to be in relations to whales but yet for the two weeks we were there we didn't see any!
7. We have read that is was a pretty huge undertaking to shoot, tell us about it?
Well the photos were taken with a 4x5 large format camera using Polaroid film. The R&D was pretty intensive since we couldn't find anyone who did it before! After 6 months of research we bought a camera and with the help of Camera Electronic striped it down and rebuilt it. We then had a custom underwater housing made for it. You cannot see through the camera, you have to calculate your distance with a measuring tape and you can only take one shot at a time meaning you always have to go back to the surface after taking a photo!
(Erick surfacing with the Polaroid camera that was used for the series.)
8. Is there anything new and exciting in the works for you two?
There are a few projects that we are doing at the moment; A book on the locals of hawaii, also more underwater Polaroids that we are concepting!!
9. Favourite secret spot when you are in Perth?
The Wine Store in George St.
10. Who are your biggest influences?
There are a few Jacques Cousteau, Peter Beard, Nic Brand, Bruce Webber and we also get inspired everyday with other photographers that wow us!
11. Three things you can't live without?
The ocean, Mum's chicken curry! Good food, good wine, good rum, my wife and kids (Ian's), and a camera!
The exhibition is on at Linton and Kay until the 23rd of April. It has to be one of our favourites to date so make sure you make the time to head down and check it out.
(PC: Ian and Erick Regnard and Kai Ridley.)