In Conversation with Adam Amouri
A French model-turned photographer is bringing back Parisian chic and redefining the modern timelessness.
He is a regular at Givenchy HQ prior every Paris Fashion Week, you’ve seen him in Harper’s Bazaar and on the catwalk for Gucci. Represented by Paris-based agency Rockmen, Adam Amouri now spends more and more time behind the camera embarking on a new creative journey.
He is a model and photographer whose current body of work focuses on the beauty of simplicity and attention to detail - he balances the duality of his creative profession with the technical knowledge of the process. After turning his hand to photography a few years ago, he has since worked for likes of Swedish magazine Odalisque, British Schon, and French Beware, as while directing and shooting his personal projects. As suggested by his carefully curated Instagram feed, minimal website layout, and his distinctive dressing (black leather jacket, tall black boots, long black puffer coat), his work reflects him. It’s clean, precise, carefully organised, but intuitive. “Neat and relaxed" is his self-imposed directive.
I first got familiar with Adam’s photography work back in August 2017 after having just graduated with a Womenswear degree. I was continually getting contacted by stylists and photographers who wanted to use the pieces from my collection in their editorial projects, one of whom was Adam. Looking through his portfolio, I was immediately drawn to his clean aesthetics – his work is minimal but sensual. He has an eye for a certain kind of arty, intellectual type of woman and her dressing (see the low-heeled white shoes worn with black pants and an oversized wool coat, effortlessly thrown on shoulders), the exact kind of woman my garments were made for. Particularly nowadays, with an overdose of the exquisite, it was a refreshing way to see someone’s work reinforcing the individuality of the outfit (usually monochrome and subtle) — and the sense that these were pieces that will serve their wearers, not the opposite way around.
Growing up in a small medieval town of Perpignan in Southwest France, Adam studied in Toulouse, where he was scouted by a model agent and started modelling. He eventually moved to Paris to get a degree in electrical engineering and continue with the modelling.
Photography has always been a hobby beginning from the age of 16. “I had Samsung D850, the one with a very shit camera, I was just taking pictures of everything” — he smirks — “then I bought a first small camera and then upgraded, again and again, just doing things I love.”
Adam admits that he is all about “trial and mistake approach.” “I was thinking of going to school, but I also felt like it’s something I wanted to explore on my own and enjoy the liberty. Now you have a lot of classes on the web by specialists, who go really in-depth on the technical side, especially retouching, so that’s one way I educate myself.”
By the end of the first year of University in Paris, Adam was offered a trip to China as a model and decided to drop out to take this opportunity. This experience brought him straight to the fashion industry – he modelled for Harper’s Bazaar for the first time while working in Beijing. He describes it as “a fantastic opportunity not only from a modelling perspective but also from a self-thought photographer point of view” – he got an incredible insight of the professional process, and he loved it.
These days, although still busy with regular modelling shifts, he reveals that he prefers photography. However, for him it is still impossible to maintain his photography work separated from his image – even the people he works with are often the ones he met through modelling shifts.
“I would like to keep it separated, but they are just so connected,” Adam says. When he goes to a shoot as a model, he gets contacts of stylists and make-up artists, who he would eventually contact as a photographer. When he shoots as a photographer, people keep asking: “But you’re a model, right?” “I was shooting a girl recently, and I was talking to her about her agency, and then she looked at me and asked: “And how is it going with your agency?” I asked her how did she know I was a model to which she replied: “Oh, come on!”
The young photographer is now mostly focused on editorials and personal projects. He admits that he’s a massive fan of the ’50s and ’60s, which he does most of his research on, noting that “anytime I want to do something, but I don’t have a clear idea what it looks like, I just flip the Demarchelier book that I have at home and I always find what I need.”
“What I love so much about masters like Patrick Demarchelier, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon,” he continues,“ is the fact that their work looks so simple and so easy, but this type of work is the hardest to make.”
“Now that there is a big trend in the photography scene – ‘young London photographer, shooting film only and doing weird pictures’ and ‘ugly fashion,’ I feel like I’m going in a direction, different from a lot of photographers,” he confesses.
No doubt, the industry has always had a thing for transforming the uncool into the covetable. In the past few years the trend has reached its apotheosis: the uglier the item, the weirder the picture – the higher the social-media status. Awkward shapes, huge silhouettes, clumpy shoes, and weird headwear are dominating the catwalks and editorial fashion.
“I’m not too into the being ‘as weird as possible’ trend…” – Adam laughs - “it’s just a direction that I’m not sharing and not something that makes me excited.” He describes his personal style of photography as simple, effective and timeless.
“In a certain way I’m trying to discover new ideas and conceptual directions, but I would love to do it in a very minimal way.” For that reason, the photographer is happy with the freedom to choose what to work on and how to apply his taste, mentioning that he “would be mad to take a bad photography job just because of the need of the money.” He explains that he hasn’t been in that situation before, thanks to modelling and other side jobs.
Although Adam is looking forward to continuing working as a photographer, he is also searching for other opportunities of self-fulfilment “I would love to get something outside of the fashion world and not be too dependent on it.”
Separating fashion and another business is vital for him “not from just a financial point of view, but also as an additional source of knowledge and inspiration.”
Adam says that it is crucial to pick up your inspiration from as many people, activities, sources as possible, and make in your own style. Indeed, inspiration doesn’t come from nowhere. “It doesn’t have to be fashion all the time,” he suggests.
“I always have this saying on my mind” — he concludes — “copy from one, and they call you a copycat; copy from everyone, and they call you a genius.”