Would you mind introducing yourself? My name is Ian Deveau. I’m 27 years old. I grew up on a tree farm on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island. I’m sure a lot of people will have no idea where that is but that’s OK. I loved it. RI is still home to me but I currently live and work as a freelance photographer in Brooklyn, NY. I’m one of those people who said they could never live in New York City, but I’ve loved it here so far. Before moving to the city I lived in Manhattan Beach, CA and worked for a great advertising and fine-art photographer, Bo Bridges.
Ian’s Instagram - @iandeveau
How would you describe your style of photography? I like to put together full frame compositions in camera to capture people how I feel we truly exist: overpowered by the scenes around us, but somehow balanced in there among the chaos. I don’t think anyone is bigger or more important than nature, but when we’re lucky we can sometimes fit perfectly into her framework, even if it’s just for a split second. These are the moments I live for. I like to think of my images as a glimpse of the bigger picture by focusing on the little things.
Now, that being said, sometimes I like to go out and just shoot stuff as differently as possible. Sometimes maybe just focusing on light or only shooting with a really slow shutter. It keeps it fun. And that’s my favourite part of being a photographer. You’re always changing, growing, trying new things, and your overall style floats along with you. It’s definitely a never-ending project.
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I don’t really remember one specific ah-ha moment where I was like “this is it! I love photography now!” I feel like my love for photography has steadily grown with me throughout my life. Growing up I first started shooting with my cousin Adam, documenting days spent skateboarding, snowboarding, biking, surfing, and just about anything else we could do that involved jumping off things or possibly getting hurt. Looking back, this is definitely why I still love shooting people midair. Something about that moment of anticipation.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? Shooting “The Eddie” in February 2016. The Eddie is the most prestigious surf contest in the world, named after legendary Hawaiian surfer and lifeguard, Eddie Aikau. It’s held in Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore and is only called on when waves consistently reach heights of at least 20 feet. It’s only been called on nine times since its founding in 1984. I flew to Oahu on a whim the night before it was greenlit to run, slept in a yellow Volkswagen bug in the Waimea Bay beach parking lot, and woke up to the wildest ocean I’ve ever seen.
Who/What inspires your photography? I am inspired by my friend Josh Gross, who passed away in August. Through the pain of losing Josh, which I don’t know will ever fade, something else has become clear to me that I hadn’t fully understood before. Josh shaped the way I look through the lens of a camera and is a huge reason why I fell in love with the art of photography. Looking back at old photos and seeing the beginnings of my style as a photographer develop and being able to connect that with Josh has been inspiring. I like to think that his daredevil spirit will live on through the images that I make.
Camera & Editing Process? I shoot with a Canon 5d mark iii with Canon L series lenses and edit and in Lightroom and Photoshop. Some images I can edit in a minute, others I could spend an entire day on. It all depends on the specific image or group of images I’m trying to make. Sometimes I have a specific look or feel that I want to create and other times I’m just playing around, letting the creative juices flow and seeing where I end up. Editing is definitely an art form in and of itself. I enjoy it. I often revisit old images I’ve made and completely rework them as well, so nondestructive techniques are important to me. Now, this all being said, I think composition is the most important thing I look for, and I do most of this work in camera. When I’m reviewing a folder of images I won’t touch an image that doesn’t make me feel good composition wise.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? One tip would be to pay more attention to your surroundings, even when you don’t have a camera or you’re not out specifically to shoot. I’m constantly making images in my mind, framing people and things in the scenes around them, and looking for beautiful light. It’s kind of addicting actually. I think it helps when you do get a camera in your hands, you know what you like and what to look for.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? Matt Clark, for his ability to shoot surf and wave images and make it authentic. Will Adler because of his raw, timeless and unapologetic style. Onne van der Wal because of his technical mastery of making powerful images, and because he’s been doing it well for longer than I’ve been alive.
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? I’d like to sail through Fiordland on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a place where I feel like scale is so hard to comprehend. I like places where the landscape overpowers you like that. Makes you feel small.
The coolest place you’ve ever been? Oktoberfest in Munich. And that’s saying something, I’ve travelled to over 30 different countries so far… It was a good party.
Do you have any upcoming photography trips that you would like to share? I want to explore South America. No set plans yet but I’m looking at Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
Anything extra you would like to share? Yes please! I do a lot of custom fine-art printing of my images. This is a skill and passion I learned while working at the Bo Bridges Gallery in Manhattan Beach. If anyone is interested in a print, whether that’s a 16 x 24 rolled paper print or a 40 x 60 aluminum install for your apartment or home, let me know! I love working with people to create custom pieces for their wall space and can really work with any budget. Please don’t be shy to reach out to me with any questions. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can browse different images/installs at iandeveau.com/prints and on my Instagram.
Also, if you’ve gotten this far in reading the interview I’d just like to say thanks. It means a lot. You and your attention span are much appreciated.
Ian’s Instagram - @iandeveau
Ian’s Website - www.iandeveau.com