Car Category winner Sébastien Mauroy discusses his confidential winning photo and shooting motion with emotion
We are proud to introduce you to Sébastien Mauroy, winner of the Spotlight Awards 2019 Car Photography Category. Read the exclusive interview below to learn more about the winning image, Sébastien’s style, inspiration and shooting secret prototypes.
Production Paradise: Tell us about the winning image – the idea behind it, how was it shot?
Sébastien Mauroy: I got commissioned by Toyota Motor Europe to shoot this race car prototype announcing the return on the market of the iconic Toyota Supra. This project was strictly confidential until the reveal of the car at the 2018 Geneva Motorshow. This meant, for security reasons, the car wasn’t allowed outside the manufacturer’s photo studio. But the client wanted the car on a race track. My in-house production company, scouted a couple of potential tracks in the south of Spain. We selected the Guadix race track because of his very clean environment and has beautiful views on the Sierra Nevada mountains. I shot backplates with a stand-in car. After that I shot the prototype in the studio reproducing light and perspective. The process is pretty technical.
The winning photo was an added shot I did on top of the client’s shooting list. It’s my own vision of this concept. Being a former amateur race car driver helped quite obviously for motion and angles.
Production Paradise: How do you feel about winning the Car Category Prize of Spotlight Awards 2019?
Sébastien Mauroy: I was in a very special place when I got the news. Shooting on London’s Tower bridge. Fortunately, the weather was so bad that nobody noticed I got emotional about it. It’s not about the prize itself. It’s about being chosen over the greatest photographers in the automotive industry. It’s about all the efforts and sacrifices made since I started my career. It’s a milestone.
Production Paradise: How would you describe your style?
Sébastien Mauroy: My style could be described by motion and emotion.
Production Paradise: Name three photographers that have inspired you.
Sébastien Mauroy: Helmut Newton – I had the chance to meet him a year before he passed away. He was president of the jury of an international photo contest for the 50 years of Corvette. I got shortlisted in that contest. Although I didn’t win it, he told me he gave his vote for my photo. That was even better than winning. I was 23.
Anton Corbijn – He shot all my heroes.
Marc Lagrange – He created an amazing and very personal photographic universe. Very refined. A must-see.
Production Paradise: How did you end up behind the lens? Tell us about your career path.
Sébastien Mauroy: My family wanted me to become a lawyer – I didn’t try. I went straight to photography school. Aged 20, I worked as an intern in an international car magazine and quickly became their lead photographer.
On the side of that, I was working my way as an advertising photographer. Shooting campaigns for VW, Peugeot, Bobcat, Miracoli, Nivea, Twix, Ikea,… Then I stopped the non-automotive work. I wanted to concentrate on car shootings only.
Production Paradise: What do you think is necessary to become a successful commercial photographer?
Sébastien Mauroy: I think you need to know what you want and what you don’t. You also need to be a good listener and a good communicator. And as for everything you want, never give up.
Production Paradise: If you weren’t a photographer, what would be your alternate career path?
Sébastien Mauroy: A drummer. Dave Grohl or Matt Cameron kind would suit me fine…
Production Paradise: We believe you are not resting on your laurels – what are you working on now?
Sébastien Mauroy: Right now I’m finishing a secret prototype shooting for Lexus. An incredible project! But as it is secret…shuttt!
Production Paradise: The Spotlight awards had a judge’s panel composed of potential clients for commercial photographers – did that influence your choice of image(s) selected for your entry?
Sébastien Mauroy: Absolutely not. I think I would have entered the same photos if it was the public judging. I do not think you choose a winning picture on industry standards or technical reasons or even aesthetic reasons.
You chose one because it inspires you something, some sort of emotion. It awakes something deeper in yourself than the other ones around. Of course, the judging panel here is amazing and it is extremely flattering to have your picture chosen by such high profiles but I still think the human in front of the professional makes the final call.
Production Paradise: What made you want to participate in these Awards?
Sébastien Mauroy: The extremely high level of the entries. Who you are competing with gives all the value to the final prize. Also for the prestige and the exposure.
Production Paradise will publish a special edition of the Spotlight Magazine featuring all the winners and their images. Make sure you subscribe to our blog and Spotlight Magazine so you won’t miss out!