Artful Vision | Jean-Christophe Lemay

"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams

If the technology is now more advanced than ever, the purpose hasn't changed: photography is still a means of communication. For Jean-Christophe Lemay, a biologist by formation and self-taught photographer, this art form allows for him to capture fleeting surfing moments and document the beach lifestyle he adopted growing up. Equipped with a Canon DSLR camera, two lenses and a waterproof protector, he is never more happy than when in the water shooting, swimming, surfing, diving or floating.

As a coordinator for a Natural Environment Park in Rimouski, Quebec, Lemay serves his passion for biology: part of his job includes promoting the park's ecosystem. But that's not the only way he wants to raise awareness. It was about six years ago when Lemay first picked up photography. At the time, he wasn't serious in his practice, but at the age of 18, it dawned on him: the ocean was something special we needed to cherish. "Our Saint Lawrence River is a vast resource!" he tells me. "I want to make people realize it's not only there for us to give a quick glance at it, but there are also things going on in it and it's amazing."

Lemay's shift from photographing as a hobby to selling his art is quite recent: "I purchased my first legit camera and published my website about a year ago." During the first few summers he spent in Virginia Beach, he did nothing special with his pictures. However, there was this one time when he realized he had a particularly beautiful crisp ocean wave shot, so he framed it. When people would come to his room and see it hanging, they would often point out how great it was. That's all it took. "I started shooting a bit more, but the theme has always been surf related." Now, similar to a travel buddy, his camera takes part in every trip he goes on. "[...] Sometimes, the pictures go on my site, but it's never the idea behind my shoots. Thinking that a picture could or not sell comes after [creating a memory, and they either do or don't]. While his preference lies in shooting anything nature related, Lemay currently also shoots for local companies. Observing a migration movement to bigger cities when it comes to consumer goods, he claims: "It's not easy [to have a stable revenue from photography], especially here, as we have a smaller population base."

It'll be interesting to see where Lemay's wave brings him. Who knows, maybe one day you'll catch him opening a shop in which he'll be selling his framed photographs and derivative products!

Jean-Christophe Lemay, upcoming fine art nature photographer based in Rimouski, Quebec, for this week's Artful Vision.

Instagram: @jclemayphoto

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