" I aspire to be as close to Nature as possible, keep my mind open, show what I see to other people. I want to show the true side of Nature through my images. Because in everyday life, in your home, in cities, you don't see the true face of Nature. Nature is not the tree down your street, it is not the grass in front of your door. It's deeper, it's impressive, huge, a perfect and harmonious system. And if you search for it as I do, you can live incredible moments in it. Just be open. ... Fairy tales aren't only in books. You can live them on a beautiful autumn misty morning."
(Florent Courty, 18, France)
He is 18 years old, a self taught photographer, and he lives in the soft mountains of Central France.
I discovered his work while browsing photos on Deviantart. The photo he took was so beautiful it inspired me to write a poem. Since then, I always went back to his gallery to pull his photos and share them along with my verses, of course, with his approval. And he had no problems with my request. He openly and proudly shared them with me.
I don't think I have ever seen a gallery as breathtaking as Florent's. All his photos speak to me. I don't think I have ever shared any other photographer's work as much as I have shared his. I am such a fan. Each picture is so alive and captures the soul of the subject, may it be a leaf, a mountain, a set of clouds or the woods. He also showed me a video of the storm chase he participated in, along with a friend, and it was nothing like anything I've seen before. Yes, he's a storm chaser too! (See vid)
There is no denying the gift that this young man has. I only see great things coming for him, and I am blessed to have this chance to share with the rest of the world some of his wonderful insights on Nature, the world we live in, and living our dreams.
Your life in a nutshell.
Since I am young, I'm very much attracted to Nature. I never felt comfortable in society, even in my early days in school. Those feelings have increased with time. I never wanted to "follow the herd". I'm always searching for peace and inspiration outdoors.
How did you start working on photography ?
When I was 14, I started to do some walks in the local woods, with a good friend of mine. We discovered how it can turn into pure magic at times. We became more and more attracted by this world. I tried to take a picture of what we saw, with an old compact camera, but it was bad and I realized I needed more than words to explain to my friends and family the beautiful things I see in Nature. So I bought a small dslr camera, and I rapidly improved my photographic skills. I was already losing interest in school and couldn't find any conventional work that I could do without getting mad. I was first thinking of going to an art school but I didn't like it, they did only portraits and urban things, mostly grey, pseudo "artistic", it looked very depressing and soul-less to me, and it was very far from Nature in all aspects. So I decided to train myself to become a photographer, even if that was a hard choice, and even if it wasn't accepted by my parents to this day.
What's your greatest achievement ?
My greatest achievement was to find a way to live that would not encourage me to end up living like a robot. If one day can capture my passion and achievement it would be the 12th of January 2010. I was still studying then, and depressed. I had many problems in school and family. Everything was going wrong that time. On that day I slept just an hour and woke up at 4:00 am with very strange feelings (call it psychic or whatever) I had the strong feeling that instead of going to school, that day I must leave my home and simply head into the local mounts to the highest point. It was a very precise feeling. It was so strong that I did this---It was a harsh winter day, very cold. I walked by night for about 4 hours, I was walking very slow too as the snow was falling, it was hard but I had some incredible energy inside of me that guided me and allowed me to endure the conditions. At the end of the night I was almost at the top, I was in the clouds. And some minutes before sunrise, all the clouds went down a little, so I was just above an infinite sea of clouds and the sun was rising above this sea exactly as I arrived on the top. That was one of the most beautiful moments I've experienced! I took this morning as a strong message, as if Nature sent me a "Do it!". After that day I seriously thought of leaving school and spending my time improving my skills in capturing beautiful scenes like this one.
Your biggest realization, so far.
We should take inspiration from Nature. There is great harmony between every single element in Nature. I feel it. Everything has its particular role to play in the whole, every living being takes just what it needs to live and everything works well in deep harmony and respect. Our system should not be based on growth or "make as much money as possible"... We have forgotten Nature and all She has to teach, we're killing our world but we can't exist without it. Actually what dominates our world is egotism, and many other human vices, that are promoted every day by TV and many other things, it keeps the people in a very low vibration so they can accept anything. We should base our system on harmony and respect instead of vices and blindness.
You chase storms too right? Could you say this is your most memorable quest so far?
Indeed, I'm interested in storms. Each season has its beautiful moment, and even if storms can be encountered in any season, it's of course in the summer that they are very common, and they are the main beautiful Meteorologic event that can happen in this season. I'm very interested in Meteorology ... It is necessary if you want to chase the storms.
It is important to have some knowledge about storms before getting in it, because the main danger if you're close to a storm is to misunderstand what is happening and to think you are safe when in fact you are in a dangerous situation. This leads to terrible surprises like close lightning strikes, sudden hail, and so on.
Having said this...You asked me my most memorable quest? There are many! But there's a day this year I will not forget. A friend of mine took me for a chase into the nearest great plains. We saw great storms all the afternoon, but it was during the evening and night that Nature showed us Her fury. A bit after sunset we tried to chase an incredible storm, but we've been eaten by the monster just as we were about to go ahead of it and we got stuck under a violent hail fall, followed by enormous rain fall and many many lightnings. A bit after this, we saw the firemen, the storm caused some damages.
Then, a new storm came from West, it rapidly grew in size, it was as strong as the last one. This time I was able to capture the storm's structure, totally awesome : http://fav.me/d3uorr8
It was taken on the 12th July of this year. Many super cell storms crossed my region and caused serious damages, mainly due to large hail and wind.
Your dreams and aspirations.
I dream of the rebirth of a new, totally different system, where we would have a very different way of living... in harmony with the world we live in, with deep respect with Nature and between ourselves. Actually I aspire to be as close to Nature as possible, keep my mind open, show what I see to other people. I want to show the true side of the Nature through my images. Because in everyday life, in your home, in cities, you don't see the true face of Nature. Nature is not the tree down your street, it is not the grass in front of you door. It's deeper, it's impressive, huge, a perfect and harmonious system. And if you search for it as I do, you can live incredible moments in Nature. Just be open !Fairy tales aren't only in books, you can live them on a beautiful autumn misty morning.
Your next steps.
I'm planning a website with my brother, you can see his works here : http://maximecourty.deviantart.com/. He's a photographer as well and we are sort of a team. We plan to do a common website as we work together more. The French Laws are particularly boring concerning the image sale and it slows us very much at this moment, but I assure you, it will not stop us.
Do you have other passions aside from photography?
Yes! As mentioned I'm really interested in Meteorology. It's quite essential in Nature photography for me as the weather conditions are very important. It helps me very much to find the beautiful moments, but of course... magic can't be predicted.
I'm interested in plants too and more particularly in the art of Bonsai. I'm fascinated by the world of vegetation. Sure they have a very different way of living. But they do feel things, and have a very particular perception of their environment, the communicate with air, and do have emotions.... and even tastes I'd say : there exists a plant (desmodium gyrans) that "dances" if it listens to music. Seriously, the leaves move delicately if the plant listens to music. It does not react to other sounds, no matter how loud loud. A plant who can distinguish the difference between noise and music and then moves along with it. Amazing, isn't it? There are tons of other examples of interesting things like this in the plant world.
Now, about bonsai, just a few words to describe it... bonsai isn't a specie of tree as some people may think. It's the art of shaping and miniaturizing a tree, whatever the specie you use. You can start from seeds and be much more patient, or take a little tree in nature and then you can enhance it in a few years. There are tons of bonsai styles and forms. You shape it along the years, you choose which face your bonsai will have : You compose it like an image, but the beauty here is that you do it with something living, it has a true soul, and it evolves and gets better with time. There exists some wonderful living pieces of art, and of course each one is unique. It's the ultimate kind of art for me. I started working on some bonsai a year ago but I already expect them to look almost fully grown in 2 - 3 years. It's pretty fun to "build" your tree along the years, and very satisfying to see its evolution.
Your thoughts on LOVE.
If we speak for human beings : Strong and warm feeling of passion, inspiring a deep admiration and mutual respect, and providing a lot of energy - it's the case for me and my girlfriend at least. But sadly love has been forgotten by many people nowadays...
If you had ONE MESSAGE to the whole world what would it be?
BE OPEN ! Simply enjoy the true beauty of Nature ! Looking at Her you will understand that peace and harmony exists, and that we can live in harmony between us and with the world we are in.
For more information on Florent Courty , visit his pages
This interview also appears on Before Its News