Photographer of the week: Tristan Shu

In the prime time of winter sports, what could be better than to begin the new year with one of the true masters of alpine and extreme sport photography, Tristan Shu. Thanks to Kristian Roustan for conducting the interview. You will find more photos in the end of the article.
 

 
 
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
My name is Tristan Lebeschu, but everybody around me started to call me Shu, so it stayed and my stage name is Tristan Shu. I live in the french alps, and I like outdoor activities and sport (with a focus on Skiing and paragliding). I’ve been a pro photographer for 9 years now – pro meaning that’s my only source of income, not that I’m good at it...
 
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Well I’m self taught photographer that was attracted by the mountains and the snow from a young age. I grew up and did my studies in Paris, and I was running out of the big city as soon as I could. When i finished my studies I did a around the world trip that lasted 2 years with a big stop over in magnificent New Zealand and this trip had probably the biggest impact on my life and choices. I wasn’t particularly photographing at that time, but that definitely shaped the way for my photographic career. I really like to share outdoor activities with other human beings and even better if they’re friends, and this is the way I photograph today. It’s a team
effort with at the minimum me and the athlete I’m shooting.
 
What first attracted you to photography?
Snowboarding and digital. I used disposable camera before to take snaps of me and my friends shredding, and when digital cameras came that opened a whole new game for me. I discovered myself a passion that became my profession.
 
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I am an enthusiast person, optimistic with loads of energy. My photos I think are a reflection of this mindset. I like photos with a lot of impact, contrast, colors, life. My formula for years has been quite simple: get the best possible light, background and composition to do the best possible justice to the performance of the athlete. It has to look good but it has to give justice first to the athlete performance. And recently I shifted even more on the content / the story / the idea. Beautiful, good looking is not enough – you need to have a great idea or story if you want to reach more people.
 
Why are you so drawn by action photography and most particularly by extremesports?
My lifestyle I suppose. I don’t shoot only action and extreme sport (I also shoot interiors, landscape, and general lifestyle), but action photography is what like to shoot the most. Being outside, in the nature, and the team effort that goes on to produce the nicest photos. As much as I like shooting in the studio or interiors from time to time, where I prefer to be is outside.

What is more important to you, the story behind an image or the technical perfection?
The story without any hesitation. But the story will be so much better if you rely on the technique to magnify it. It has to be this way, you need to master the technique as best as you can, so it gets secondary (a bit like driving a car where your driving becomes automatic) and you can think more about the story and the idea. The more you master the technique, and the more you can forget about it and concentrate on the story / the
content.
 
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
What I like to most is to create picture and not document an event (which I still do from times to times). I like the thinking process, the ideas, the relationship with the model to make the idea comes to life. It’s a team effort, all minds thinking alike to get the shot.
 
What is your most important advice to a beginner in action photography and how do you get started?
Wow that’s a hard one. I don’t think there is one way to do it, but a multitude. So I can’t really tell what is the best way. It really helps if you know the discipline / the sport. And I find myself I can’t produce great shots if there is not a trust and understanding that goes on with you and your models. I’m talking a lot with them myself. You need to be very passionate and not scared of working long hours.
 
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
Wow again a tough one. I’m constantly discovering new photographers and talent, but I never spend too much time looking at the work from others, I focused a lot on my own things. There are so much talent and super skilled photographers, I’m always amazed when I’m browsing 1x to see the incredible work that so
many talented photographers are pulling out !! What i appreciate the most or I’m more influenced by from other photographers I met and talked with is their mindset – the way they’re thinking and crafting ideas.
 
Is there is any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a big deal and why?
The list will be too long, but snowboarding photographers definitely had a major influence on my mindset. People like Cole Barash, Scott Serfas, Oli Gagnon, Matt George, Jerome Tanon, Andy Wright, Lorenz Holder, Jordan Manley ... and the surf photographers as well, and... and... oh so many incredible talents out there!
 
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in
the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
Not really. I spend a lot of years learning and improving my technique, and I still got so much to learn, but I feel now I want to concentrate more on the content and the story.

Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
I generally favor my latest work because it still a bit fresh to me. But I got so many stories attached to most of my pictures, it’s hard to pick one. Maybe one of my latest favorite is this one, that I haven’t posted on 1X just yet, it was a very simple and cleveridea from my friend JB Chandelier and I’ve been overwhelmed by the reaction of the public about it.
 
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
The quality of the content displayed in 1X is incredible, so much jaw dropping and inspiring material. I felt very honored to have some of my photography approved for 1x standard, and still nowadays I always love when one of my photos gets curated! Thank you for reading!

 




































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