At Home With Jason Renaud
An interview with the photographer and videographer
April 23, 2020
Let’s get the profile stuff out of the way—what is your name, age, city, and profession or craft? For how long have you been doing what you do?
Jason Renaud, age 24.5 (almost to 25), living in Los Angeles as a freelance photographer / videographer. I’ve been working in the visual realm for about five years now.
How would you describe the style of your work?
It’s always interesting to hear that question—style is so nebulous and fluid. I feel like some days I wake up and know “this is my style” and other days I feel like I’m still finding my voice. I think it’s always a process.
If I did have to define it right now, I think my style is more candid than posed, focusing on nuances of model movement and personality in a more classic editorial and fashion context. Or that’s just the style I perceive in my own work!
Who or what inspires your work?
My biggest inspiration and the reason I really grew fascinated with photography is Juergen Teller. Beyond his mastery of film and medium format shooting, he has a distinct style that’s very stiff and rigid, but at the same time feels effortless. He’s known for getting amazing shots out of hard to shoot people or subjects, and his book HANDBAGS (a 500 page book solely of shots he’s taken with handbags somewhere in the frame) only exemplifies how diverse he is.
How does nature or the outdoors play a role in how you work or live?
I grew up in a small town in Connecticut, so I’ve always been more akin to the woods than the beach (ironic living in Los Angeles now). Trail running, hiking, are all regular aspects of my life that I use to creatively and mentally clear my head and body. In that way, the outdoors are a very healing and holistic part of my life.
I love shooting outside when the concept feels strongly suited to it, but I try not to say I’m a primarily indoors or outdoors photographer. I think both can be equally beautiful in very distinct ways.
What are three brands or products that inspire you?
@imogeneandwillie—a small denim and cotton company in Nashville, TN. They were one of the first brands I really resonated with on a personal level. They create an amazing product and carefully curate everything they do to ensure it’s really high quality. There’s a timelessness about a well made pair of jeans and a perfect t-shirt that I’ll never get over.
@headspace—the meditation app. The mental state is just as important as physical well being and I can create better when I feel grounded. This is a clean, well designed app with not a lot of bells and whistles—it’s really easy to use on the fly to slow yourself down and regroup, before charging ahead.
@dimshome—I’m typing this on a Dims trolley right now. Every detail, down to the product boxing and presentation, is excellent. They create things that are beautiful, as well as useful, and I think it’s a tough balance to find sometimes.
What are your thoughts on life after the lockdown? What do you imagine will change?
I think we’ll be forced to reconsider and reevaluate the role that some things we used to do have in our new lives. For example, I don’t think going out to bars and clubs will hold the same appeal—whether it’s a new rhythm in one’s life, or they just realize it’s not what makes them happy. I hope that we will stay as united as I’ve seen during this time—it’s always a terrible event that brings people together and forces us to become creative with how we connect and collaborate with one another. I want that spirit of industriousness and openness to continue.
What defines “making it” for you? But much more important for us... what are your thoughts on the journey to “making it?”
I’d love to continue to pursue fashion photography to the fullest extent I can, and I’d be honored to shoot large magazine covers or campaigns for a fashion house. But this also ties into the journey for me. The journey is fluid—I’ll do whatever it takes to achieve the goals I want and fulfill the ideas I want to see through the camera, but I also don’t have a rigid five or ten-year plan.
Jason can be followed at @jasonrenaud on Instagram.