‘Photography has been a bridge for me to connect with the entire world and live the life I’ve always wanted.’ Theo Gosselin lives and learns life through photography. Obsessed with music and cinema, he started to photograph as a way to celebrate love, beauty, friendship and freedom. With a style that is both raw and atmospheric, he captures the world around looking to really feel alive.
Hi Theo, tell us a bit about yourself. Where does your interest in photography come from?
I’m a 30 year old French photographer. I grew up in Normandy and then travelled the world. My photo obsession came from cinema, music and graphic design.
How did music and cinema help you to shape your style?
Most of the time when I’m travelling or taking pictures there is music playing. Like the soundtrack in a movie, songs create a special atmosphere. You don’t need to use words to describe a feeling, just play a good song. There’s a song behind each of my pictures, it helps create a cinematic atmosphere and tells stories. I see my pictures like screenshots of a movie and I like to give freedom to imagine what happened before and what will be next.
I’m very influenced by folk music, rock’n’roll, and especially the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. For me they represent the freedom of a generation who fought for human rights and love. My dream is to be able to work on my own feature film.
You often explore intimate moments of freedom, and the result is somehow compound, but also spontaneous. How do you achieve this balance?
Most of the time it’s very, very spontaneous. I’ve spent years and years taking pictures and waiting for the right moment to press the button. It’s a lot of patience and observation. I also try to make my life as much visually interesting as I can. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful talented people who let me get a glimpse into their lives and intimacy and follow me in my adventures.
You have recently published Roll. You describe it as ‘a timeless trip over the course of six years on the roads that made me the person I am today.’ Would you say the book is like closing a chapter?
Kind of! I know I’ll always be the 25-year-old guy who travelled across the USA in a rusty car with a bunch of smelly guys, but I also wanted to slow down for a while. Covid-19 has made traveling really complicated and I’ve taken this time to step back and reflect on what I did. Those 10 past years were beautiful, absolute rock’n’roll. I wanted to celebrate this amazing journey by printing some pictures of this life-changing trip. But, fuck yeah, I’ll always be ready to hit the road!
What did photography teach you over these years?
I basically learned life through photography. This is how I met my wife, my friends and so many people. It’s been there in all the good and the bad moments in my life. It also makes me less shy and it’s been a bridge for me to connect with the entire world and live the life I’ve always wanted.
Where do you find beauty?
In those little things that everyone know–love, friendship, nature, music... This is universal.
How would you define your relationship with nature?
This is one of the most important things for me. She is my friend, my ally, my gateway, she makes me feel alive and she gives me everything I need. She gives me the freedom that we don’t have in cities. She’s scaring sometimes, but she is always full of beauty. One of my favourite things in life is to be under the stars, either in the desert or the forest, sitting around a bonfire with the people I love.
How does your work reflect this engagement?
In my pictures I always try to show the beauty of freedom, and nature is always there. Wind, rain, water, lakes, oceans, mountains, deserts… If there is beauty, there is nature. I try to show the connection with people and nature and how important it is to really feel alive.
Tell us about the story you’ve shot for ROWSE?
I wanted something more serene than what I use to do. No rock’n’roll, no guitars, just the sound of the waves, the beauty of two hands, a nap behind a tree, a cold shower in August. I wanted to do really simple things but full of life and feelings, something that could make you smell the salt of the ocean and feel the last sun rays on the skin.
How would you like to evolve as a photographer?
I’d love to make movies and tell stories.
Photography by Theo Gosselin