Art Photography

Q & A With Mathieu Ajan


When and how did your interest in film and photography start?

My interest in the arts started from quite a young age, I’ve always been a bit of a storyteller and I was in love with the stories in cartoons and comics so I used to come up with my own characters. This grew into me having a short stint of acting in theatre in secondary school and I guess it just grew naturally from there.

A lot of your work seems to focus on portraits. What about a specific person inspires you to capture them?

I have this weird obsession with portraits. I believe human faces have so many layers and so much depth. The stories which are engraved within a smile or a stare just intrigues me. I find that I’m attracted to capturing all kinds of people as long as they are willing to let themselves go and just breathe. I’m a big fan of letting people be.

What message are you trying to communicate through your work?

A lot of my work comes from personal stories. They are almost fragmented pieces of a coming of age story which have no real beginning, middle or end. My images generally tend to revolve around issues from self love to social mobility. I guess my images are simply a snapshot of life.

What accomplishment pertaining to your photography or filmmaking are you most proud of?

Actually starting, ha! Being able to do what I love for a living, full-time, and mentor/help others embark on their creative journeys is pretty fulfilling too.

What defines a good photo or film in your opinion? What elements must it possess, what should it communicate, etc?

A good photo or film in my opinion merely needs to be a true reflection of the artist. As long as it ticks this box then I don’t really believe a piece of work can truly be questioned. I believe people create their best works when they stay true to themselves and trust their instincts.


What advice would you give to an aspiring filmmaker or photographer?

My advice would be to make films and take photos. Super cliche I know right, but the best way to learn is to just do.

What differentiates your work from others?

I don’t believe in comparing your work with others but I guess one thing I can say is my work tends to stem from my own personal experiences but I’m sure a lot of artists work does too.

Where is your favorite place that you have traveled? Assuming you took photos there… What is your favorite thing that you captured on film there?

My favourite place has to be Ghana and Thailand. The people there just have so much character and the countries are literally walking colour palettes: everything from the street signs to the buildings are just so vibrant and full of life.

What are 3 traits one must possess to launch a successful creative career?

Resilience, patience and be proactive.

What is your favorite camera brand?

I’m impartial to brands, I believe a camera is a camera it’s all about the person holding it. That’s the most important thing.


Considering the difficulty of pursing a creative career what pushed you to do so any way?

I’ve always been a bit of a nutter as cheesy as it sounds making stuff is just in my blood. I literally can’t help it. I’ll be in bed up all night thinking about making stuff. Also life’s pretty short and I would rather look back and be happy that I spent my time creating important work that not only fulfills my need to express myself but also inspires others to do the same.

Be sure to check out more of Mathieu’s work on his websiteVimeo and of course follow him on Instagram!

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