My work is primarily focused on coastal areas
“Above all, I am interested in human activities and traditions. I seek to portray the sensitive side of my subjects. I spend time with them so they can accept me. Better understanding them allows me to capture their emotions through images and show their connection to their environment. My passion is to focus my eye on the present, whether in French Polynesia or anywhere else in the world.”
The son of a renowned painter, Julien Girardot had a childhood immersed in the pastels of his father’s studio. It is in this space dedicated to creativity that he started to have an eye at a very young age. His father Philippe installed him a small easel so he could paint like his Dad.
After studying graphic design, his first professional gig behind the lens took place off the coast of San Malo. During the 2006 Route du Rhum, he worked for his first customers who were skippers on the famous offshore solo race.
He continued to sail with races and regattas for a few years but the pebbles at the end of the world were calling him; those islands that dreams are made of hide so many exciting human stories. “Across the horizon, there is always a mysterious island to be discovered. Reaching them on the wind is so exhilarating.” Whether it is the sandy islands of Saint Brandon, the captivating Rodrigues, the incredible Andaman Islands, lush Sri Lanka, Madagascar, the Azores, Easter Island or Hawaii, Julien is at ease in these isolated spaces.
He then became acquainted with the Tara project, a famous scientific research vessel whose mission was to better understand different climatic changes in order to inform the world. After having proven himself, he embarked on the mythical schooner for a 4-year tour around the globe as a “cuisto-graph,” a nickname he earned from cooking for the 16 members on board while also in charge of photo reports that communicated the project to the international press.
It is while on the Tara Oceans Expedition that he discovered French Polynesia.
That year in 2011, he met Ato Lissant in the Tuamotu Islands. Traditional sailing canoes had virtually disappeared from this archipelago. Together, they led the community project Va’a Motu (an outrigger canoe with a sail used in the lagoons), and in 2015, with the help of experts, they built a 30 ft. canoe that today sails the Fakarava lagoon.
After having spent several years documenting the Tuamotu Islands, the Leeward Islands and the Australs, Julien has been involved in a comprehensive project over the Marquesas since 2016. This long-term venture living among the locals will result in a book, several articles in the international press and a featured article and cover for Geo, a French magazine.
Publications: National Geographic (France), Geo (France), Paris Match, L’Equipe, Nature, Animan (Switzerland), VSD, Morning Calm (Korea), Reva (Air Tahiti Nui)…
Agencies: DPPI, Sea & Co, Lightmediation