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Frank Fournier, Words of Wisdom


So as I posted before about my first day of my NYC field trip, our first meeting was with Frank Fournier. He said a lot of amazing things so I’ve decided just to throw them up on here for your pleasure and my record.


  • Don’t follow the pack or you’ll look like the pack
  • Open your mind and go for what people aren’t doing
  • There’s nothing more rewarding then being in the field
  • You can do ANYTHING
  • Read everything you can because it will shape you… Read what interests you… it will help you to feel and understand.
  • Find an author of the country in, it will give you an idea before you get there.
  • Shoot in colour.
  • Do something nobody has done, everyone goes and shoots poverty, but how about shooting the rich? Harder to access.
  • Impose upon yourself a deadline
  • When the shit hits the fan it’s the best time for you.
  • Nobody asks you for papers or documents. If anyone says anything to you you’re either on your way to the palace or on your way back from the palace.
  • It’s about people.
  • Your photography is not important it’s the STORY. You have to respect the story.
  • Pursue story’s, not events.

These next quotes are more about Contact Press and work advice for getting in to the field. Some of these, especially at the end, the romantic side of photography.




  • Contact (Contact Press) was a guarantee that the story or plot would not be misused.
  • Adapt constantly
  • Your have to exist as a person. Your not going to leg for an assignment but you’re going for a business transaction. You have to come with your head high because you have something they want. Work on things that are you. Establish yourself.
  • Be something different! They won’t take someone if they already have that style.
  • Only give pictures want published.
  • Create yourself, get a direction, then go for an agency.
  • When you do a story, you’re not alone, the message is as important as the photography.
  • If you copy someone else you’ll never be great.
  • If you hate someone, then tell them visually.
  • If you love someone, tell them visually.
  • Don’t worry things will work out. Trust yourself.
  • [When in the field] Try to work like African fighters. They fight in their shorts and no shoes. Not like an American fighter, with elbow pads and shoulder pads, I don’t know how they move. (point here is to not take
  • ALL your equipment out, go with as little as possible)
  • If you can do it alone, that’s the best because your actions can get someone in trouble.
  • You do your own reporting. Know what is there.
  • Carry our equipment on your waist, not on your back, carry little and cover up from the sun. You might miss the shot but you won’t miss the story.
  • [What motivates you?] You have to be pissed!
  • [How have you avoided becoming cynical?] You have to be a little cynical. :-/
  • Get up and get angry or get anger and get up.
  • Don’t trust what people say, check it! If your mother says, “I love you” check it.
  • The best school is in the street.
  • Leave when the story is done, not before.
  • If someone is dying your first function is to help.
  • Don’t be a missionary, it’s not your job; you’re to go learn and report.
  • As a photographer you’re nothing but a bridge that connect people.

One Response Subscribe to comments

  1. Matt Hyatt

    Looks like you had a great trip. Thanks for sharing!

    Apr 10, 2011 @ 7:45 am


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