Interview with RENE ROSSIGNAUD
Where to begin? Rene Rossignaud, blunt, to the point, adventurous, a non-conformist and above all talented, incredibly talented. A true magician with the lens who is always ready to shoot something amazing, something particular, something which confirms why irrespective of whether people like him or not, they all agree that he is certainly one of Malta’s best talents. Rene recently shared with Atelier his passion for photography, what attracts his photographic lens and why he feels at home working in war zones.
Were you born with a camera in your hand or at what point did you start?
No, and I never expected to follow this line. It was however sport that got me into photography. I was a BMX fanatic for 20 years of my life, I travelled to the UK on many occasions to compete in international events. I had bought myself a good camera back in 1994 to capture photos of us jumping high up, or water jumping into the sea. This is where the love started. At the age of 15 I started snapping lightning storms and had an image published front page of the Malta Independent. I later was employed by them until 2004. In 1996 I started an arts, photography and sculpture 3 year diploma course. And I had excelled in photography so I choose to try this out for a living.
In a recent interview you noted, “my work is my life.” Can you elaborate?
I cannot imagine myself doing anything else, it’s my life now, my income, my passion and most importantly something I love to do. They say, choose a job which you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.
What does the term creative mean to you?
Thinking out of the box, looking for things others don’t see. Being different and at times I feel being weird helps too.
What inspires you?
Music is key to me, and today I feel I have no idea where my life would be without music. Obviously travel also inspires me and makes me more creative, but travel with music is always a better mix.
Who were your early influences?
No one to be honest with you! However when I started photojournalism I read a lot about Steve McCurry , the famous National Geographic photographer who snapped the Afghan girl photo, possibly the most famous image on earth. I had the opportunity to have dinner with him a few years ago, and in 2019 I crossed into the border of Iran and Afghanistan to capture portraits of these beautiful eyed Persian / Afghan kids.
How would you describe your style?
It’s purely casual, reportage, journalistic. I hate posing people, and my style is all about capturing the moment without disturbing the person or the scene
In what way is photography an art and a means of expression?
It’s an art because each person can be different from each other and visually an image can tell a full story if one is creative. As for a means of expression, a photographer at times can portray his mood and feelings with the style of image he shot, but also he can show the love, pain or suffering of others with his image.
Why do you love working in war zones?
It’s a short and simple answer, because I feel like I am home. It’s what I am meant to do, it feels so right to be there. Plus let’s admit that I’m an adrenaline junky.
What advice would you share with aspiring photographers?
Start young, I started at 15 and by 18 I had already a full time job in this field. And also don’t let anyone tarnish your dreams. Back when I started, people or even family would laugh at me, saying I can never make a decent living from this. Today I look at them and I smile and think how wrong they all were.
What’s next for Rene Rossignaud?
Well in 2014 I published my first autobiography book which was sold out in a number of months. In 2020 I had promised myself a new book and also a nice exhibition of one specific country I was going to visit, this country is known as the most dangerous place on earth for foreigners. Unfortunately COVID changed my plan and dreams, so all these plans are on hold, but still waiting for the right time to start working on this again. In the future I want to keep growing my international clients and keep traveling the globe.