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Expat Focus: Paul Oatway

Riviera Insider catches up with photographer Paul Oatway to find out more about his sources of inspiration as well as his dream subjects in the south of France and Monaco.

What first brought you to the French Riviera?

In 2007, Ryan Air had return flights from Dublin for €20 so I started flying down for long weekends. I could depart Dublin at 7am and be on the beach or in a restaurant by midday. How lovely to get away from grey Ireland and be in the sunshine!

How would you describe your photographic work and style?

People. Most of my photography is of people, from corporate portraits and family groups to media events. My photographic training was in fashion and beauty, but the demand for that here is not great, so I have adapted happily to shooting events, yachts and property photography.

Living in such a beautiful place, inspiration must be aplenty…

Living in Cannes makes it possible for me to turn either west for Spain or east for Italy. I get to shoot in Monaco for corporate events, Italy for wine producers and the huge mobile world congress in Barcelona. I get great inspiration from all of these places and the wonderful people I meet.

The south of France is full of fascinating people – celebrity and otherwise. If you could photo any current or former residents of the Côte d’Azur, who would they be and why?

Gosh, that's a tricky one. Yes, there are some amazing characters down here. One person I would very much like to meet is June Newton (pseudonym Alice Springs), the wife of the great, late photographer Helmut Newton. She lives in Monaco and I bet she has a few stories to tell!  

Do you have any upcoming events/exhibitions?

Because of the amazing 'characters' on the streets, I have started a photo project entitled CANNETASTIC. It's simply street photography capturing people: ladies and their dogs, men and their cars, etc. I’m looking for a place at the moment to have an exhibition in Cannes and also sponsorship. 

When you’re not at work, where do you like to spend your time in the region?

I love road trips so for me jumping on my Triumph, taking the coast road and heading into Italy is perfect relaxation. Vivi (of OuiCannes Design) and I adore Sunday lunch anywhere so finding somewhere new is always an adventure.


*Originally published in the March-April 2018 edition of Riviera Insider (#177)