Rupert LaMontagne has recently joined the ranks at Chivalry as our Lead Photographer. It's his fundamentally creative approach and eye for portraiture that makes him such a valuable part of the team. Last year, he published a book of portraits entitled 50 Girls of Summer. Originally published as a series by C-Heads, an online arts and culture magazine, LaMontagne’s project has since been published by Hypebeast magazine, VFILES, and more.
We spoke with him to get an idea of what his creative process is like and what led him to debut 50 Girls of Summer:
Your portraits are very intimate. The models have a clear strength to their vulnerability. What sort of dynamic do you try and manifest on-set while shooting?
On set, I just have fun and pick people’s brains. But most of my (favorite) pictures are taken before or after shoots.
In an increasingly digital world, what drove you to put out your pictures in this analog book format?
I really craved my own book. I always loved Self Service books, I used to spend all my money on them haha.
Why 50 Girls of Summer? Why not 50 Girls of Winter or Spring or Fall?
Summer is life. Winter is death. I wanted to explore colourful themes and locations. Also, at first, it's a compilation of pictures from test shoots with agencies from Montreal. And most of the time, those test shoots happened during summer.
You haven’t been very active on social media this year, despite having 32 thousand followers on Instagram. Any plans to come back to the dark side?
True, I haven't been active in ... 2 years now? Haha, I still think there is enough bullshit being posted all day every day on the media, I usually can't stay more than 5 minutes, I answer DMs and dip. But I'm definitely coming back. I have been stacking content for a little bit now.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Your book sold out relatively quickly. Any plans to print more copies?
No reprints of 50GoS PT1 but more projects are coming.
What advice would you give to more emerging artists in the industry?
First things first, kill your ego, it will only get in the way of creating.
Secondly, listen and learn from the experienced artists.
Thirdly, shoot or RND every day.
How has your process and identity as an artist changed over the years?
I'm still too in the midst of it to even talk about it. I have a hard time describing what I work on as well, I think that's why I went towards visual arts.
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
A first short film, a zine and a few editorials in the works.
Who are your favorite artists, visual, musical, or otherwise?
Jodorovsky, Tarkovsky, Bergman visually.
Thom Yorke, Aphex Twin, Erik Satie musically.
Daniel Johnston, Frank Zappa spiritually.
What role does photography play in your life?
It helps me to stop and look at things more than I would initially. It kinda makes me re-filter life through a new lens (as cheesy as it sounds), it really teaches about perspective and how nature is complex and beautiful. We live in a beautiful simulation.
Animation by Chivalry