Francis Leroy
Francis Leroy

Francis Leroy

TIFA 2023 Interview with Francis Leroy
Photographer of the Year, 1st Place winner in Fine Art, Professional, “Shifting Sand, Beach Dream”

Q: Can you briefly tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue photography?

In the 90’s I started to cultivate my passions: discover the world and fly with my weightshift microlight (the one with a flex wing). To share all the beauties seen around the world or from the sky, I started photography which became very quickly my third passion so I decided in 2007 to stop my career as an engineer in industry and become a professional photographer to live my passions. 

My favorite subjects are landscapes seen from the sky, favoring particular lights or more graphic or minimalist subjects, as well as life scenes, landscapes and portraits of encounters in the countries I discover.

Q: What drove you to submit your work to the TIFA competition and your thoughts on how being in the curatorial selection impacted your artistic journey?

The photographer is alone behind his camera or computer trying to represent his own view of the world, but does that vision offer any echo to other people. The second problem of the photographer is how to share his work. Submitting my series to TIFA was an attempt to answer these 2 questions and the unexpected joy of having been chosen by the jury definitively did.

Q: Could you describe any challenges you faced while capturing this moment (winning image/s)?

I live in a small village in France, near the Atlantic Ocean. The seaside is only 3 km from my house and so we are very concerned by the problem of sea level rise. The theme of my series « Shifting sand, beach dream » is to show a passive humanity facing the disappearance of the beaches (50% of the beaches should disappear before the end of the century). All the photographs are shot on the French Atlantic coast from my ultralight; I am alone onboard, I pilot and I take the pictures. The first difficulty was finding the right beaches with people at the right weather flying time and the right sea tide. But the other difficulty was finding the best post processing in order to create a dreamy atmosphere and make the photographies more beautiful, just like what we will remember in our dreams when the beaches have disappeared.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important factors in creating great images?

There are certainly different answers to that question depending which kind of photography you make. In my case, image must be beautiful, easy to read and create emotion and/or interrogation.

Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of photography?

Finding the right style, the right atmosphere you feel or you want to convey is for me the most challenging aspect of photography.

Q: What motivates and drives your photography?

Desire, desire to create, desire to create beauty.

Q: What’s next for you in your career as a photographer?

In the coming future I will try to increase my participation in exhibitions to share my work (what I really neglected up to now). I will continue to work on the beach subject… or new ideas that might appear during my dreams.