Have you heard about Les Instantanés?
Les Instantanés (the Snapshots) is a 100% local brand of souvenirs – of Bordeaux, made in Bordeaux – perfect to bring home with you. More precisely, Les Instantanés are Camille and Florian, two devoted Bordeaux fans and creators of colourful illustrations of the city they love. Having this passion in common, it is only natural that we met with them for a chat.
Hello Camille and Florian!
Anaïs: If you had to explain your project to a stranger, how would you describe Les Instantanés?
CAMILLE: Les Instantanés are posters and postcards created by and for lovers of Bordeaux and more broadly the south-west of France! Some of these images come from our own polaroid photos while others are illustrated from scratch. In both cases, everything is created and printed here in Bordeaux. “A real brand Made in Bordeaux”!
Anaïs: Let’s talk about the team, Les Instantanés, who are you?
CAMILLE: I am a blogger on www.camilleinbordeaux.fr and freelance community manager. My thing is the discovery of cool addresses and good deals, especially in Bordeaux, and sharing this on my blog and on my Instagram account. Les Instantanés are therefore a logical continuation of the blog. So if I can showcase Bordeaux in all its forms, I’d do it anytime! I also co-wrote a guide to the city about two years ago.
FLORIAN: I live in Bordeaux but I was born and I studied in Toulouse. I have a degree in Decorative Arts and I created my design studio “Studio 71 Bis Edition” which allows me to share, to experiment and to become kind of a “global designer”.
Anaïs: How was the project born?
CAMILLE: I met Florian three years ago and it we connected immediately! I wrote an article about him back then because he is so good at illustrating cats. After our meeting I told him about my desire to create a brand of postcards of Bordeaux, and obviously I asked him if he would be interested in working with me. He said yes right away!! And so much the better because without his drawing talent, we would never have created Les Instantanés!
FLORIAN: Referring to the above except that she forgot the cakes. Yes this project was born thanks to or because of a common addiction to sugar, which led us into this crazy story – launching a brand, become friends and associates. As if nothing is worth good cakes!!
The creative process
Anaïs: Tell us about how you work, from the idea to the final poster.
CAMILLE: Overall we both take part in all stages of the creation. Obviously it is Florian who draws and illustrates the posters, I am not capable of it. There is a lot of exchange like “well, here I would change this element, and there I would try with another gradient of red, and so on”. We never do anything, from drawing to communication, without having validated everything together. But if we had to delimit the roles, then Florian is the artist and technical expert on the printing side, and I work with communication and the relations with our points of sale.
FLORIAN: I am a bit old school, even though I am product of the digital age. I always start with the pencil before going to the computer. I draw a lot, which allows me to set up and choose the details I want to work with to tell my story better. I tend to overload things as soon as I have a pen in my hand, so I use software to trace and synthesise the image so that only the essentials elements remain. Although my work is mostly done digitally, my favorite tool is a black pen which I carry with me everywhere I go, “just in case”.
To create an illustration I need a lot of time to reflect on it, usually more than a week, and in my head I choose the point of view. I continue by imagining, step by step, or layer by layer, what is going to happen. Then comes the part where I sketch my idea, and this is where the conflict between the drawing and the final illustration begins, and where it is necessary to simplify the content in order to bring out the essence of what I want to create.
In general, I make two proposals that we examine together, Camille and I. I tweak two or three things, and then we get some feedback from our spouses, mostly to have their approval rather than a critical look, we don’t like too much criticism (laughs), and finally we print it at our super printer in Bordeaux. We then feel proud of ourselves, and sometimes we have some doubts while waiting for the printed proofs, but we’d never tell anyone!
Above all, we enjoy working together on such a beautiful subject as Bordeaux!
Anaïs: It’s your city, all right, but what do you like about Bordeaux, to the point of wanting to illustrate it from every angle? And what is your relationship to the city?
CAMILLE: Yes Bordeaux, we love you! Visually it’s a city full of characteristic monuments with strong lines, from the Chaban bridge to the Grosse Cloche (the Big Bell) and the Miroir d’eau … there is a beautiful variety of forms and styles. And then we launched Les Instantanés with the postcard photos. The illustrations came later. Talking about photos, Bordeaux is also very photogenic! There are all these variations of the light, the sunsets and an incredible atmosphere.
FLORIAN: Simply because Bordeaux is beautiful! No seriously, I love architecture and I find that there are some very symbolic buildings here, with identity, that the people of Bordeaux as well as the tourists like to look at, to photograph. Well, I wanted to illustrate them! There is still so much to do!
Anaïs: How do you choose the monuments you want to illustrate or the “moments of life” to photograph?
FLORIAN: Having come from elsewhere, we wondered what we would like to have as an illustration of Bordeaux. It was therefore obvious that I wanted to represent my or our favourite monuments. What’s good is that everyone else loves them too.
Anaïs: Do you take custom orders?
CAMILLE: Yes! Florian loves this type of challenges! We did it for Médoc Atlantique (the tourist offices) and we are preparing to do it for castles (chateau)!
FLORIAN: Of course, and with great pleasure. I love getting proposals for new subjects to illustrate!
The Bordeaux blues
Anaïs: It is often said that Bordeaux is a blue city and this is also the colour which dominates in your posters – a coincidence?
CAMILLE: Yes, from the first poster we found that this blue was blending well with the colour of the (blonde) Bordeaux stones. But there is also another favorite colour in our posters: they all have a red detail. This mix of blue sky and a red detail is our hallmark!
FLORIAN: For me it’s the light of the ocean. It’s not a coincidence that it is so present in our creations because I tried to reproduce these tones which for me are “non-natural”. Coming from Toulouse, a pink city where everything is warm, it is a light that still remain intriguing even four years after moving here.
I really like these rather cold and crystalline blues found in the skies here, they are so very different from those of the south and the Mediterranean, they are the essence of this region. Each region has its own sky, and each illustration has a piece of the one here.
Anaïs: If you were to be one of your posters or postcards, which one represents you best and why?
CAMILLE: Ouch… difficult to choose! I think I particularly like the poetry of the Water Mirror and the red balloon that flies away. But I also love the Chaban-Delmas bridge with the red bike, firstly because I used to live close to this bridge and secondly because I find the graphics particularly successful!
FLORIAN: To me, no doubt, that would be… La Grosse Cloche (The Big Bell). It’s the first building I saw in Bordeaux, when I came here as a child. I adore the light there, which changes all the time. It’s the unmissable monument of the city.
Getting a print
Anaïs: Where can we purchase your posters and postcards?
CAMILLE: We have about thirty points of sale between Bordeaux, the Bassin and the Tourist Offices of the Medoc Atlantique. In Bordeaux you will find the majority of our posters and maps at WAN in 1 Rue des Lauriers but there is also a nice selection at the Moop Shelf in Shed 18 on Quai de Bacalan.
FLORIAN: In the best shops in town of course!
Anaïs: Finally, I have an afternoon to kill between two trains. I don’t know the city and I don’t know what to do or where to go. What would you advise me to do?
CAMILLE: Go on my blog, camilleinbordeaux.fr! I wrote an article that answers the questions tourists always ask me: 100 ideas for activities and outings in Bordeaux. Its a compilation of monuments to visit, unusual things to see, gourmet places etc.
FLORIAN: The best way to discover a city is simply to get lost in it! With a few hours to kill, we can discover much more about a city, its people, its atmosphere and its way of living by going around randomly rather than following a marked path. It may sound a little confusing but that’s how you really meet a city. Chance always favours you and it is often when we expect the least, at the turning of an alley, that you find yourself in front of a place like the Colosseum, or the Big Bell – la Grosse Cloche – since we are in Bordeaux!
- See more about Les Instantanés here.