07/17/2015 06:16 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 06:59 EDT

Canadagram: Meet CandidCameraMan


This week, we featured one of Instagram's best photographers, @Candidcameraman. Patrick, lives in Paris, one of the most photogenic cities in the world. We're thrilled he's shared his photos and answers with us.

What an honour to be featured here, my name is Patrick and I have been making photos since I was eight. I'll date myself and say I started in 1978. I am a numbers guy and have worked with statistics and what motivates people to perform, sell, buy and stay loyal to a brand or a product, for well over a decade. Photography is and has always been my creative outlet, where more than numbers and averages can predict an outcome. You have to include in the mix emotions and aesthetics, art is not so cut and dry that it can be truly qualified. Photography is one of the things I once pursued professionally and will start shooting professionally shortly once I am registered as a photographer in France until my fundraising consulting business is fully ramped up and operational. It is first and foremost a passion as well as a tool for what I am working on to help non-profit organization raise funds. I am seldom in photos yet I tend to make more and more photos of me and my wife, here we are, I am on the left - during an afternoon walk in Paris.

What inspires you to take photos?

What always inspired me to make photos are people, because we, as people, are always full of emotions - much more so than a building or a tower and lately my drive to make photos has been this continuous search to improve and get better at what I do. Photography is a never ending learning process, a continual improvement curve with peaks and plateaus. I love making photos of people, street photography is my game and with photo sharing platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr I have learned to appreciate making sunset and architecture photos since these are some of the most trendy and popular images at the moment. A driven photographer is not unlike a race car driver, always striving to beat his previous time around the circuit, as a photographer the race is with myself, how can I get better at making my photos today, compared to yesterday. This brings back to mind the famous photography quote by Imogen Cunningham, "Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow"

Photos with people in them and an added recognizable element or something universally relatable is what drives me to make better photography.

What’s your favourite photo/instagram tip? Did you take a photo that demonstrates this?

My best Instagram tip is to make photos which will hook the viewer, something usual made in an usual way, which will push the viewer to ask questions, i.e. "How did he do that?" or exclaim, "Wow, I have never seen this view before" and "I had never seen it this way!" You need to develop your own style and approach to photo making and post processing. Just be yourself, in the Instagram age, we all seem to be making photos of the same subject - make that same subject your own by giving it a personal twist! To quote William Albert Allard, "You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper" Be original, as difficult as this may at times because good photos are like good jokes. If you have to explain them, they just aren't that good.

Giving a very photographed location my own twist by using a monopod to place my camera exactly in the dead centre of a spiral staircase, good thing no one saw me make this one.

Can you share an outtake or a photo from the cutting-room floor? For example, a picture you took but didn’t decide to use. Tell us the story behind this photo?

This is a photo I initially did not use, an outtake from my most stolen photo on Instagram, what I wanted was for Alyssa, the model, not to smile and it was difficult as we shot this right besides a McDonald and told her we'd get to eat there after the shoot. The problem was she loves McDonald and it was made in summer time, she was famished as it was well passed her dinner time, but she kept smiling thinking of the meal she'd get until at one point she asked with a frown, "Are we done yet" and that's when I made the photo I wanted.

Throwback Thursday! Pick a photo you love from your archive. Tell us about it.

One of my favorite photo of all times, because it is of my and my wife, a self portrait of us as a couple where I laid a camera on a piece of wood in a large puddle on a rainy day, an old Leica M2 and a new Summilux 35/1.4 set the mechanical self delay timer on the camera after setting the exposure and focus - ran back to my wife and we kissed under our umbrellas - our favorite photo as of now. It was not a spur of the moment photo, I had made it with only myself the day before, on a Thursday - testing it and on Friday I took her to that same very spot to make this photo of us. When you have an idea you visualize what it could be, then you test it, it often times turns out different than what you imagined, but when it turns out as your pictured it - it's magic, it is another reason I keep making photos, to see what else I can come up with creatively using different devices and mediums be it film, a smartphone or a pro-DSLR.

Follow Friday! Which Instagrammers do you love? Who inspires you?

There are so many great Instagrammers it would be difficult to pick only one or a few. People who knew nothing about photography and started with their Smartphone only when they discovered Instagram are the ones who drove me to get better at what I do. I used to carry a panoply of pro-cameras and lenses with me every where and these people made better photos than me with only their smartphones - it really drove home the point, it is not the device it is what you do with it and composition is everything.

The one person I would like to mention is from Toronto, because she mastered knowing what people love and built a feature account with close to 4 million followers, @melp_4 who built up @BestVacations she is truly generous and amazing at what she does.

This is a photo I made of her and her fiancé @aleporte who are getting married this September, I used two jugs of water to make a puddle and my smartphone to make and process the photo, it just drives home the point you do not need a great camera to make great photos and you don't need to have studied photography to be truly successful on Instagram. Plus she made me the official @bestvacations photographers, this is beyond amazing to have a reach of over 3.9 million subscribers when one of my photos is featured on her account.

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