Thomas Lemaire is one of the region's youngest artists, but his photography of the Côte d’Azur has already been featured on websites for the tourism board, professional corporate campaigns and in several exhibitions. His popularity only continues to grow. Riviera Insider speaks with this rising star before he blasts off to stardom.
Passionate about nature and architecture, Thomas has a way of capturing the look and feel of the French Riviera. Whether a series of the classic blue chairs on the Promenade at sunset, a crashing wave, or the pastel hues of Old Town Nice, his photographs capture a certain magic only found here.
At only 21 years old, he has a portfolio that would be the envy of many established artists. Thomas has exhibited in Nice, St. Tropez, Grenoble and is now preparing a show in Paris. In 2017, the prestigious art estimation board AKOUN granted Thomas an Estimation du prix d’art, giving his work solid market value and listed him in the Coté list for ‘youngest artists in France.’ This year he was awarded the Prix d’excellence de jeune talent (Excellence award for young talent) by the town of St. Tropez.
His sweet demeanour only adds to his charm as he tells Riviera Insider how he started: “My very first photo was at six-years-old and I fell in love with it instantly.” From then on, all he wanted to do was take photos. But this wasn’t the fleeting dream of a child; Thomas became a photographer while he was still in grade school.
It was while photographing family events like weddings and birthdays that he realised his passion for nature and cityscapes. “I started posting my photos on social media and it gained attention,” he explains. “I got my first exhibition at the Nice Airport when I was 18. I showed eight photographs, and it led to other exhibitions.” His success at such a young age is not lost on him: “It was exceptional,” he gushed, “most people get this much later in life.”
Despite his sudden rise in popularity, Thomas kept a good head on his shoulders and enrolled in the Lycée d’économie to study business administration. Two years into the program, he opened his own photography business, selling his photographs to businesses and corporations. He admits that photo requests can be very specific, although he has been ‘lucky’ to work with companies that give him a certain level of ‘artistic liberty.’
His business photography earns him a living, but his artistic photography is earning him accolades. Les Vagues (Waves) was his 2018 artistic series, capturing the raw power of nature in a split second. “I really like to photograph waves,” he explains, “it’s like stopping a moment in time—it’s something you can’t capture with landscapes.” His waves (which he insists can only be waves along the Côte d’Azur), is what garnered him a spot on the Coté list.
His second favourite subject is architecture—specifically New York architecture. “I like architecture because I can show what man has made with his hands, without showing man himself.” His latest series focuses on the architecture of the ‘Big Apple’ and he reveals to us that he is currently working on an exhibition that compares New York and Niçois architecture, which he describes as very particular and specific.
It’s clear that the Côte d’Azur flows through his veins and is the vehicle that drives his passion. When asked why it is so important to him, he lights up, jumping at the chance to share his love for his region: “I’ve had the chance to travel a lot but each time I returned, I realised that we have the best variety of landscape. We have the sea and the mountains; we can go skiing or boating; we have it all.”
It’s no surprise the tourism board nominated him ‘Ambassador of the Côte d’Azur,’ a title he’s held for two years. “Foreigners love the French Riviera and it’s an honour to represent my home.”
His upcoming exhibitions will be in Arles for the international photography festival and in Strasbourg, where he will be interviewed by France 3. Keep an eye out for this rising star, as the sky’s the limit for him.
View Thomas’ portfolio on his website: www.thomaslemairephotography.com
Follow him on social media: @ThomasLemairePhotography
If you’d like to get in touch, you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org