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April - Dominique Amphonesinh.

Born in Vietnam, Dominique Amphonesinh emigrated to France in 1978. After ten years spent in an advertising agency he started up as a photographer and in 2004, opened his own studio in Paris shooting still-life and beauty Parallel to his commercial work, he continues with his personal projects. His present interest involves "bodies, faces, glances, solidified by time" as he puts it.

Despite photography being the second most important thing in Dominique Amphonesinh’s life – his wife and children come first – his initial interest in the subject was ignited by a chance, rather than planned, encounter.

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In 1982, aged 14, he was hanging around in the school yard one evening, when a teacher who wanted more participants for his course on developing photographs, invited Dominique along to make up the numbers – a grand total of three in the end! Nevertheless, it really was a case of ‘love at first sight’, for Dominique, who comments, “My passion for photography appeared at the same time as the photograph began to appear in the developing tank.” Although Dominique’s creativity is innate - and had he not become a professional beauty and fashion photographer, he would have gone into advertising or some other similarly creative profession – he developed his technical photographic skills mainly through training on the job.

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In 2003, however, having dismissed the idea of a three year photographic course at college as taking too long and being too complex for someone in his position, he decided to invest the same amount of money in private courses. So over the year he took specialist courses with experts in light and image capture, a far more productive approach from his perspective, “As I was their customer rather than their assistant, my tutors were able to give me their full concentration and it was far less time-consuming for me.” The courses were clearly good value as he considers them to have been crucial in his success to date.

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 Other factors he rates as important have been his knowledge of IT and the Internet, his blend of creativity gained by working with both film and digital photography, his willingness to embrace change and to understand his customers while accurately anticipating demand, and his passion and patience. His only regret is that he never took a course in the history of art. Even so, he is enormously satisfied with what he has achieved in the photographic field, but he feels that “there’s still so much to discover” and in fact, because he is doing so much commercial work, plans to present a ‘truly personal work’ within the next two years – a still life, which will depict a story, using dolls to represent man. Perhaps he will be inspired by the work of some of the photographers he admires, photographers such as Guido Mocafico, David Lachapelle, Andreas Bitesnich and Gregory Crewdson.

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In the meantime, he continues to work with clients that include Dolce & Gabanna, Diesel, Adidas and G-Star. Dominique may have acquired a range of technical skills through his work with film, but he is now a ‘digital only’ professional photographer - “I love it. I don’t use anything else” – and uses a Hasselblad H2D, which, thanks to its technology, build quality and design, gives him the image quality both he and his clients demand. His use of Hasselblad camera systems is also driven by other more businesslike reasons, as he remarks, “I was impressed by the intelligent fusion of Imacon and Hasselblad, which reveals a credible, global, long-term vision for the new, digital Hasselblad. Compared with many other brands, Hasselblad clearly understood digital convergence very well very early on, and for me, one word encapsulates Hasselblad – ‘professional’.”

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Delighted to have been named a Hasselblad Master in 2007, Dominique also hopes that the award will help him to reach his goal of achieving international recognition as a professional photographer in beauty and fashion within the next three to five years. And to those young photographers who are looking to join the profession, he offers the following advice, “Have faith in your ability - when you really want to do something, you can do it. Anticipate the difficulties, prepare your way forward, plan ahead and be patient!”

For more examples of Dominique’s work, go to www.amphonesinh.com