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Photographer Profile: Sarah Meysonnier

From issue 96 • The Photo Annual

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When did you start shooting professionally? I started professionally on the Tour de France in 2015. I was the assistant photographer for the American agency BrakeThrough Media. I was very impressed with the scale of the event and its impact everywhere we went.

Who have been your photography influencers? Before being passionate about photography, I was a cyclist. And by observing photographs of the racing, I developed a desire to do photography. I was first inspired by the work of BrakeThrough’s Jim Fryer and Iri Greco, my mentors. Later, I really appreciated the work of Marshall Kappel and Scott Mitchell, who both seek a very artistic aspect in sports photography. Today, it is photographers like Russ Ellis, Pauline Ballet, Brazo de Hierro, the Grubers or Anne-Christine Poujoulat (in another style), who inspire me.

When you shoot soccer, because you are on the perimeter of the field and not real close, is your approach different than that of cycling? What I like a lot about cycling is that it’s up to the photographer to get used to and adapt to the demands of the surrounding environment. Once you’ve tamed one place, everything is turned upside down. New stage, new place. You have to reinvent yourself every day. In football, the photography is more static; it is the athletes who ultimately move around you. Both exercises are enjoyable—and the atmosphere in a stadium is incredible!

Sarah Meysonnier ||| Lille, France ||| Image: Jules Beaumont

Has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the way you see the world? It must be said that the pandemic has done a lot of harm to everyone, professionally and personally. At the time of this interview, I still have not found the atmosphere of a cycling race or the edge of a field with my camera. My activity was completely stopped. Luckily, I am a student and my activity was already a “bonus” next to the lessons—it was not a vital need like with other photographers.

Have your images changed since you first started shooting? I started professionally at the age of 16, 17. Obviously, my outlook has evolved, because I have evolved as a person, gaining in maturity and confidence. And I feel that my gain in self-confidence has been felt in my editing. From a photo with a lot of artifice (including retouching), I’ve arrived at a more sober result, but one that ultimately expresses just as much.

What cameras and lenses do you love? My favorites are my Nikon D3s with a 70–200mm f/2.8 lens. Also, I really like using fixed focal lengths like a 50mm f/1.8. And to mix it up, I use a 17–70mm and a 10–20mm.

Where is your favorite place to shoot? I don’t have a particular place where I like to shoot. For me, photography is above all about discovering new places, new perspectives; it’s a constant discovery.

Name a sport that you haven’t shot that you would like to shoot? One sport I would particularly like to shoot is athletics [track & field]. I love its complexity with a lot of speed. The diversity of the sprints makes the photographer’s work very complete, and I’m very interested in discovering this universe!

Instagram: @sarahmeyssonnier
Twitter: @SarahMeyss

From issue 96. Buy it here.