Born and raised in Paris, Franck Berthuot has been living and shooting in Hawaii for more than a decade. After a back injury while surfing, Franck naturally dove back into the water and began photographing athletes in the famous waves of Maui. Starting out as an action sports photographer, he soon became interested in capturing beautiful images of women in raw nature but focusing on the fashion aspect. His current body of work experiments with heavily contrasted black and white photography and explores working with additional lighting elements combined with outside natural lighting.
“I love the un-known water environment as well as capturing the beauty of people interacting with nature.”
Franck Berthuot, PO Box 790332, Paia HI 96779
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Here is an interview portrait from malendyer.com
"Maui felt home when I landed the first time, which was during a vacation trip. It’s the kind of feeling you sometimes have when you discover a new place. I knew it would be home someday,” shared photographer Franck Berthuot. “2 years later, I quit my job and left evertything in France. I came to Maui with bad English (still the same) and bright future in front of me. I trusted life and never looked back. No one at this time supported me. All of my friends thought I was making a mistake by leaving my “perfect life” in Paris.
Franck is a Paris-born and raised photographer, who now calls Maui, Hawaii, home.
Although, Franck’s journey from the French capital to Maui didn’t end there. Upon his move, he could often be spotted surfing and windsurfing. In fact, he did this every day until injured his back. At that point, Franck had a choice - going for surgery or try a different option.
“Swimming was an alternative to the surgery, so I took my chance. I was so bored not windsurfing, and I thought it could be fun to swim out to Ho’okipa (a beach on the North Shore of Maui) and photograph all of y friends, professionals and amateurs. At this time I also bought a housing for my DSLR camera, a Canon 40D,” Franck shared.
The pictures didn’t come instantaneously though.
“For the 6 first months, I was literally swimming for five hours a day to take photographs,” Franck commented. “I learned so much. I also noticed my best action shots were in the first years where the random shots were bringing magic. These not so perfect shots are what make the moments magic. I find a perfect shot is boring.
Franck added, “It’s all about getting out there and trying.”
Not only did Franck get out there, but he would come to capture some amazing images. Images that caught our attention.
Yet, it was not just the action shots. Later, Franck added a new dimension to his photography - women.
“Women are just beautiful in all aspects,” Franck shared. “A woman’s body in the water, playing with elements is the definition of beauty and feminist, in my opinion. I love to feel the moment when the model is connecting wth the ocean - it brings peace to the image.
And, it is with this portion of his portfolio that he has been especially able to tap into his French roots.
“French women have this natural elegance. I take photos of my wife often for my portfolio. She was in the fashion world, working for Saint Laurent in Paris,” Franck noted.
Franck highlighted how new places are essential. Yet, he has some favorite locations in Maui he revisits. He emphasized how that even if you have the same location, there is one thing that is not ever the same - the lighting.
Now, for those looking to capture their own memorable shot, Franck had some advice.
“I think people try to copy others too much. It takes time to bring confidence and to capture what you see. It’s all about your own vision of what you see. Put two photographers in front of an orange, and the two images will be totally different. It was the same fruit and the same camera, but it was different eyes.”
For a man that left Paris for Maui roughly 15 years ago, and since then, overcame a back injury and then became a successful Maui-based photographer, Franck’s journey is inspirational while his work truly speaks for itself.