German photographer Sebastian Erras takes pictures of beautiful Parisian mosaic floors, which was first inspired by a trip to Marrakech. We chat to him and find out a little bit about him and what inspired his ‘Parisian Floors’ project.
You were born and grew up in Germany. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in the South of Germany. After my business studies I moved to Paris for a year to learn french. Afterwards I got an opportunity to work as a full-time photographer. I loved the idea of making my passion my job and I took a risk and went through with it. For 5 years I have been working as a freelance photographer specialising in interior photography.
I love design and working with geometrical and organised patterns…
You initially started taking photos of wildlife before moving into fine art and travel photography. How did your passion for photography start and how did the transition in your chosen style/subjects come about?
My interest for photography started with a trip Kenya in 2004. I went there with my family and my idea was to capture some of the beautiful memories from the journey on a camera.
So I got myself an analogue camera and started taking pictures of wildlife and the landscape there. Since then my passion for photography hasn’t stopped and it has even become my full-time job now. Since then I have specialised myself in interior photography. I love design and working with geometrical and organised patterns, so focusing on interior design was probably the right direction to go in.
For me it’s more important to have an eye for composition and capturing things in your environment that draw in your attention. Understanding light and how to use it is probably one of the most important aspects in photography.
You started out shooting with a simple analogue SLR. Do you have any tips for new photographers just starting out?
Yeah when I started digital cameras were still really expensive and it was only a few years after that the market became more affordable with the introduction of entry-level DSLRs. However the camera is just a tool to capture something your eyes see. For me it’s more important to have an eye for composition and capturing things in your environment that draw in your attention. Understanding light and how to use it is probably one of the most important aspects in photography. To know if you want to have backlight or side lightning for your subject is important and influences your visual language. It’s important to know your camera and to know how to operate it properly but if you passed that step the more important thing is to focus on light and composition and that’s where it gets interesting.
From all my travels I take different inspirations. I love to see the colours of spring or the different architecture in cities.
You enjoy travelling and immersing yourself in other cultures. Where has been your favourite place to visit? How do the places you have visited inspire your work?
The trip to the Massai Mara in Kenya was definitely an impressive experience. Being out in the wild surrounded by all those wild animals is so unique and lets you escape from the demands of a busy life. From all my travels I take different inspirations. I love to see the colours of spring or the different architecture in cities. Through food and people, you get to see a city as well from a different perspective and there’s a lot of inspiration to take from it.
How did the Parisian floors series come about? What inspired you to start taking these photographs of beautiful floors?
The idea of photographing the floors came after a trip to Marrakech, where I visited the Bahia Palace. There I found some beautiful mosaic floors and while walking through the monument I started taking some pictures of these mosaic floors and included my feet as a reference that it is actually a floor. I work a lot in Paris, where I shoot interiors, and when I came back to Paris I started noticing all these different colorful tiles and mosaic floors in hallways, restaurants, galleries and cafes. So I started to do the same there and that’s when the idea of the whole Instagram project “parisianfloors” started in May 2015.
Where in the world would you still like to visit and why?
I would love to go to Japan to explore the different cultures there and see the difference of the dense population in the big cities and the wild areas in this country. I also enjoy city travels a lot and for the moment there are still a few cities in Europe left that I would love to explore, like Lisbon or Oslo.