#003 – A moment, captured

Hey there, I’m Logan Louboutin, known by my online pseudonym “Zefyr”. I’m a communication student at ISCOM in Paris, currently in my fifth year and my final year in my master’s degree. Right now, I’m employed at OhMyGoal. They’re one of the biggest digital media companies in the world specialising in football. I’m a graphic designer there, but I work for a select few restaurants as freelance graphic designer. I branded myself “Zefyr” in 2011 as I was searching for a name a that was short, easy to remember and I thought was ‘catchy’. I liked “Saphir” so I remixed it to Zefyr.

I started graphic design ten years ago for entertainment because I wanted to create some content for a Call of Duty team. I enjoyed it so much that I continued, learning by myself and improving some skills at school. Now it’s my job. However, this post is not focusing on my graphic design experience and work, but my passion for photography instead. I started with my first camera two years ago. It was a Panasonic Lumix G7 I’d been given for Christmas. A cheap camera now, but I believe it’s one of the greatest purchases I’ve made in my entire life. I discovered a passion for photography and now I really enjoy what I do. I think I create some quality content and I have formed a little fan based community on my Instagram (@ImZefyr)

Most of my recognition as a photographer comes from Instagram. I think that Instagram is the perfect tool to gain and share inspiration. I follow some great photographers and featured pages and every day I discover new talents, ideas, places. My favourite photography Instagram accounts I recommend are: @georgesarmando, @pascoos, @dems.d, @ryadoug, @tomzzlee and for graphic design these; @emiliosansolini, @lj_stration, @ptitecao.

It’s hard to imagine my day without Instagram. Motivation for me mostly comes from the comments I receive on my photos, and most of all, my evolution and progress over time. When I look back on old work and I can really see an improvement; that’s one of the best feelings for me. Looking where you were two years ago and comparing it to today. Then taking that leap into account, and envisaging how good you can be in another two years! Private messaging is also a great source of inspiration and encouragement for me. Receiving unexpected messages from people I don’t know that state that they love my work – that’s motivation enough for me.

When I look back on old work and I can really see an improvement; that’s one of the best feelings for me.

Motivation from others aside, you need to rely on your own mindset and self-determination as well. You constantly have to believe in your dreams and never give up. You have to realise your ambitions and give yourself the means and reasoning to face the challenges. You have to invest the time, try again and again to get a little closer to your version of ultimate photography or the ultimate creation – the one of your dreams.

You constantly have to believe in your dreams and never give up. You have to realise your ambitions and give yourself the means and reasoning to face the challenges.

I’m happy with what I do. I’ve always been a creative person and now that I can work and earn money by doing things I love (photography and graphic design) – that’s perfect to me. Even more so because I work daily for a large and successful football media company. I am a huge football fan supporting Olympique de Marseille.

Above is my favourite photo. This is not my favourite photo for technical reasons, but more so for important and heartfelt reasons. This photo means a lot to me. I took this as I was moving inside a bustling and energetic mob of people. I was there, caught in the moment, and the amazing atmosphere was unparalleled. No words can begin to describe what all the people there felt on this day and in this moment. It was the 15th of July 2018, France won their second world cup. What a day. As a Frenchman passionate about football, this was the best day of my life. A whole country united together. No matter if you were white, black, African, Asian or whatever your ethnicity. No matter if you were rich, middle class or poor. No matter your political opinions. No matter anything. Everybody was united under the same flag held high with pride. We were all in the same country and even strangers were supporting the French on this day. Nobody can forget this day and I wanted to immortalise this day by capturing this lively moment. To strike a balance in the sense of living in the moment but also to create meaningful memories from it via the wonder of photography. I’ll show the pictures I took on this day to my children in years to come. I am so proud of my team and my country. In this photo, I hope to portray the intense feelings of joy unity, fervour… everything. This is a moment for life, and demonstrates the power of photography in the re-living and re-telling of incredible stories and personal experiences.

Relevant to the picture of the ‘mob’ during the France world cup victory, sometimes the right moment with the right subjects can be enough to evoke feelings and capture the scene. Often, for inanimate objects and locations however, post-processing is very much a necessity (for me at least) I use the brilliant and well-equipped Adobe Lightroom. I use this for basic adjustments such as crops, adjusting highlights, shadows and curves, but primarily for colour grading. I like to make the joke that colour grading is like my wife –  she was difficult to understand at first, but after a while now I understand her. In the beginning of my colour grading experience, it was very challenging as there were almost no tutorials in French. Now, over time and with plenty of practise, I know how to reach the image that I aspire to create, and quite efficiently too! Great software such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop can really unleash your creativity and open up a whole host of tools and options for your to explore. Tools you might not have had access to before, or routes and ways of creating you never considered to try your hand at. If you are a creative photographer, you need to try it! Even if you are not efficient or educated in it at first, keep practising. You will get better. I like my colour grading to convey and set an overall mood and atmosphere in my photos, so the object of focus is not the only emotive factor. For example, see the image below.

I’d like to finalise with a little tip for all your aspiring photographers. Take it from me, I’ve encountered a lot of dilemmas in my experience. When you begin something alone you have to work hard to improve your skills and be sure you never give up. It’s not easy, but nothing worth it rarely is. I learned with no money and no lessons. Just me and my exercised creativity. Working, again and again, trying again and again. You will get there. Every second of practise counts. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t think expensive equipment makes you a better photographer. Photography is about your vision, commitment to a shot and your creativity.

A camera is a tool, but YOU are the photographer.

Check out Logan’s social media:
 imzefyr   /imzefyr   @imLogan_