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An Interview with Gerald Larocque


Gerald Larocque uses otherworldly ethereality to communicate deeply human emotions in his photographs. His work reads as almost mythic, yet precisely because of its elements of illusion, it also reveals an intense truth. The Toronto-based photographer has worked with Girl Gaze, Material Girl Magazine, and Format Spotlight, bringing his unique quality of surrealist authenticity to each organization.


Larocque's photographs express a desire to capture his subjects, more than they do a yearning to understand them. Many of his shoots place femininity and the female form at the forefront; they are often heavily art directed, featuring girls embracing each other against a backdrop of wilderness, sporting vintage-inspired fashion, looking at once both futuristic and retro, reminding us of the timelessness of sisterhood. But Larocque-- and the viewer --are outsiders, observers to this bond, and that's what makes his work truly enchanting. This saves his work from being pretentious or pandering. He conveys and appreciates this beauty without having to pretend he understands it completely. Furthermore, he communicates to his audience the melancholic beauty of never being able to understand someone else completely. Perhaps that's why his photos possess an element of bewitching alienation or isolation, despite often focusing on friendships and relationships.


What photographers inspire you?

The photographer that inspires my work the most and how I photograph my subjects directly would have to be Sally Mann. I believe she plays a huge role in shaping my portraiture and has for some time now. The way she focuses on the female form is truly breathtaking and incomparable to anything I have ever witnessed.


What's your favorite shoot you've done?

My favorite shoot would had to have been those that were driven by nostalgia, sisterhood and the raphaelites period: The Anderson Sisters, The Beaumont Sisters and The Sisters of Silver Creek. 


What's the best piece of storytelling you've ever encountered?

Brief Encounters by Gregory Crewdson. I had the opportunity to see these pieces in person and they were the most gorgeous yet haunting and meticulous large-scale narratives of small-town America I have ever witnessed. The way he is able to capture a narrative while still showcasing the history of the medium is absolutely breathtaking. 


What's your daily routine?

During the day my routine consists of performing graphic design tasks for companies such as Ford Motor Company, Toyota and Honda. Following that I build moodboards, message clients/brands/agencies and plan for my next big thing whether it be for a gallery, magazine or an editorial. I also like to try and squeeze a healthy workout no matter the workload. - A healthy body is a productive body!


What's your favorite location to shoot at?

High Park, Toronto. Which is where I composed all 3 photo stories addressing sisterhood and had the pleasure to work with some of most talented individuals I have ever meet.


If you weren't a photographer, what would you be doing?

I've honestly never thought of myself as anything other than a photographer. At a young age I was introduced to photography. My parents use to always have a 27 exposure Kodak Max disposable camera somewhere to be found throughout the house and as an adolescent I always remember myself with a camera. I had such a fascination with the human form. Most children were outside playing and I would always find myself looking through old family albums and holding up negatives to the window as if I was going to decipher this "secret code" of whom this being truly was. Photography has always had this way about it and being able to capture someones essence in an a single instance has always been remarkable to me. I don't think I'd personally want to be anything else.


What do you think you'll miss about this time in your life?

The freedom! I find the younger you are the more freedom you get to express yourself and explore what comes to you naturally. I just have this feeling the older you get the more people will start to question and analyze your pieces with a fine tooth comb.