Putting in the heart & capturing the soul
Stout got the inside story from Mathieu Bitton on what fuels his pursuit of mastering his craft- and it starts with passion.
Grammy-nominated artist, art director, designer and master photographer Mathieu Bitton has worked on over 850 albums, books and posters and dozens of corporate, band and event logos. He is a Leica ambassador, creative director and personal photographer to Lenny Kravtiz, and the select photographer on the Road with Dave Chappelle. Check out his latest venture, the ultra-Stout Dom Pérignon x Lenny Kravtiz collaboration.
What are the top 3 things you’ve learned from pursuing your craft?
That anything is possible.
That I can go beyond my wildest fantasies if I put my heart and soul into it.
That my entire life experience shows up in the images I capture.
Just like I capture the subject’s experience in their eyes or hands for example.
That I can time travel while capturing images.
I sometimes look back at my street photography and feel like I’ve captured another era. That’s very prevalent in my Darker Than Blue exhibition.
Who have you learned the most from?
Myself. I know this sounds weird but you can only learn from your own actions and mistakes. I have many great friends who have acted as mentors but I’m stubborn and have had to teach myself everything. Some things would have been a lot easier if I had just sat down with a pro who could have told me how lighting works for example, or how these cameras work. But I’ve gotten moral support from friends including Quincy Jones, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Jeff Ayeroff and Herman Leonard for example.
Where do you source inspiration from?
From the subject. I try to read their aura and capture it and their souls. And music helps a lot. Whatever is playing while I’m working, will inspire my photos. Conversations I’ve had previously can also inspire.
I think why I’ve been chosen to do such amazing projects is that they are very often related to my passions and the music I know inside out.
What’s your signature and the one thing you consistently do to maintain it?
I am always told that I capture the soul of my subjects. I try to make memories that will live way beyond my time on earth. So I challenge myself to get the best shot every time I have a camera in my hand. I never take this luxury for granted.
How has your style evolved?
I think the craft has gotten better. I’ve developed my own look. I always love when people tell me they knew a photo was mine before they even say my name in a caption.
Portrait by by Mr Wattson, all other photos by Mathieu Bitton