Our latest guest blogger is French photographer Hugues Lawson-Bodywas. Born in Togo but raised in the heart of Paris (in the Marais district), he’s a real Parisian kid. Since people appreciated being in front of his camera and posing for him, Hugues specialises in portrait photography. Now he’s traveling all over the world from one set to another, collaborating with worldwide magazines like GQ, Elle, L’Equipe, Liberation, Le Monde, and Les Inrocks. He is also shooting commercials for prestigious clients such as Nike, Ikea and Orange. Hugues kindly gave us an insight on his love of sneakers, check out what he had to say.
For me, sneakers rhyme with athletes. These gods of Olympus who wear fabulous and expensive shoes on the courts. When I was 14, only a handful of privileged people could afford a pair that could reach the amount of a salary ! I was already considering them as the absolute stars of the college. Adulated by some people, they were perceived as kings, reckless, or sometimes daredevils.
To collect sneakers at this time, you needed a certain amount of money… and boldness ! The owners were keeping them like a treasure and you could see the envy in your friend’s eyes. My first sneaker memories are red. Red like the colour of my very first pair of Fila, that I had bought in a small trendy shop in Paris. I had saved money for a long time to buy this pair of shoes. I still remember the excitement and the happiness I felt when I opened the box and smelt this particular smell. I was finally in sync with the trend… And this was my memory trigger. Today, I am 38, and I still have the same feeling each time I get some new sneakers. I confess that I was drooling over Jordan 4/5/6, and it was the subject of hard negotiations with my parents who had trouble understanding that I wanted to wear the equivalent of the rent on my feet.
Then I grew up, and my passion grew with me. A few years later, I got the chance to photograph the DVD cover of my friend and film-maker Thibaut de Longeville’s documentary film « Just for Kicks ». And 2 years later, I worked on a special issue dedicated to the iconic Nike « Air Force One » for their 25th anniversary. This work has been a true inspiration and brought me to publish my first photo book « Young Parisians »… where sneakers obviously play a key role!