How did the idea to create Studio Fontaine come about?
Well, it all started when I stumbled upon this place. It was like a revelation, an epiphany. I thought, this could be the perfect spot for an amazing photography and film studio, a true creative workshop. The concept of the studio emerged as I laid eyes on this place, even though I hadn’t specifically planned to settle in Hendaye. Everything I’ve done in cinema, photography, advertising, documentaries, it all just clicked with what I love about the Basque Country – the mountains, the ocean, and the breathtaking light. It was a no-brainer.
Were you originally from the Basque Country?
I was born in Toulouse, but I grew up in Bigorre, and I had family ties to Guethary, which brought me here often. I was more drawn to the ocean than the mountains, especially for surfing. So, the idea of creating a studio in Hendaye made sense, not just for me, but also for my friends who are photographers, filmmakers, and videographers.
Could you talk about your background in cinema?
I started as an assistant on Luc Besson’s films, mostly in the stunt department. After that, I directed numerous music videos in Paris, London, and Los Angeles. I also worked in advertising, particularly for cosmetics brands like Lancôme, Chanel, and Hermès, as a cinematographer and director. More recently, I worked as a cinematographer on series for Netflix. My experience spans fiction, beauty, fashion, advertising, and music videos. I even made a documentary in Japan. Strangely, whether it was working with minimal light and resources or tons of equipment and lights, I realized that the essence of creative visual ideas can be distilled down to very simple elements. Natural light, a reflector, diffusion, mirrors, bulbs, glass fragments, a lens – that’s what truly matters. What’s actually more precious is time. Being in a place where you can let hours slip away while tinkering with techniques, that’s invaluable. When I rent out the studio to photographers or brands, they appreciate it because they feel at home.
Is it significant for Studio Fontaine to be located at the border?
Absolutely, I’ve recognized the power of being in a border town with a dual culture – always Basque but also Franco-Spanish. There’s a unique energy to it. The proximity to the southern coast brings a distinct work ethic. Plus, there’s the equipment, the people. Moreover, Hendaye’s strategic position on the map, with the bay, the beach, and the mountains, is truly remarkable.
What are your future plans for the Studio?
Collaborating with other artists. The more artists come to the studio, the more it absorbs their experiences and creativity. I want to develop photography, portrait, and film projects. Currently, I’m working on adapting a graphic novel. Collaborations and idea exchanges at the studio are what inspire me the most. My aim is to create an authentic, natural space for artists.