With a fascination for photographing artisans around the globe, from Japan to Peru, Roman Jehanno turns his attention to the craftspeople of his own home country in France. Creating his dream roadmap that took him from Monaco to Bordeaux with all the stops in between, Roman discovered the rich multitude of craftwork and ancient practices still being used by his fellow countryfolk, preserving it all beautifully with the H6D-100c.

THE START OF THE FRENCH ARTISAN SERIES

Initially planning an artisan portrait series in the very north of Sweden, the pandemic brought Roman back to France after spending 3 days in the Nordic region. Forced to stay in France, Roman brought forward his French artisan series idea, which he had initially planned to execute in 2-3 years’ time. With a loose lockdown during the summer, it was possible for Roman to travel around his home country using proper precautions. “I think the main difficulty in all of this was to properly connect with each person I shot the portrait of while wearing a mask as it raises a facial communication barrier and complicates the creation of a link needed to capture a good portrait,” says Roman.

 The final image output from the H6D-100C still amazes me after almost three years of using it intensively. The quality is remarkable for sure but the flexibility of the sensor gives so many rich tones and details in the shadows, making it perfect for shooting in a space like a craftshop.

FINDING ALL THE ARTISANS

Much of Roman’s work lies in the pre-organization of the series, which requires combing through pages of content, reportages, travel TV programs, blogs, Instagram posts, magazines and more in order to identify an interesting list of profiles. The chosen artisans’ locations are plotted out on a map followed by contacting everyone to discuss the project and to try scheduling a meeting that fits within the right deadline and driving route – a lot of moving parts, to say the least. In the end, Roman’s dream roadmap took him from Monaco to Bordeaux, including stops in the Landes, French Basque Country, Marseille and Montpellier.

There is actually not so much editing in my pictures – it’s usually 75-80% close to the raw file shot in camera. I might just add a tiny touch of contrast and a really light color balance between the highlights and low lights. 

ROMAN’S MAGNIFICENT LIGHTING SETUP

Recognized for his impeccable lighting, Roman gives an example of some of his setups:

Welder at Atelier Fer Emeraude

In the portrait featuring the welder at Atelier Fer Emeraude, I have a 90x120 softbox above the man in addition to a 60x60 softbox on the right side of the background to create a soft light and provide details in the dark spaces. I also have an open flash source in the far background to produce sun-like light and shadow.

Shepherd, Maïna Chassevent

In the image of the shepherd, the lighting setup is even simpler. I have one one single light source above her with a 90x120 softbox and natural sunlight coming from above and behind her!

The sensor [in the H6D-100C] is absolutely perfect in every way, the lenses are incredibly sharp, and the whole setup is just a real pleasure to use.

ABOUT ROMAN JEHANNO

Fascinated with photography from the age of 17, French photographer Roman Jehanno graduated in 2008 from the Paris-based photography school, Gobelins. There, he was introduced to Hasselblad as his class shot on Hasselblad 503CW cameras. In 2014, Roman won the prestigious title of Hasselblad Master in the general category. See more images from his French artisan portrait series here.

Roman is currently working on a coffee table book featuring his portraits of artisans and craftworkers around the globe set to launch in 2022. Stay up to date with the book release through his Instagram @romanjehanno.

A huge thank you to all the artisans who took part in my project and especially to SHOTINMARS Production for helping me organise everything!

-Roman Jehanno

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