Meeting with Sab Will, a British photographer in love with Paris

Foreigners love Paris. And Paris loves foreigners. Both are true. And I just met someone who couldn’t say the contrary.

His name is Sab Will. He is a photographer. He lives in Paris. He is not French, but British.

We met in a cosy salon de thé called “Le Valentin”, passage Jouffroy, drank  a cup of “thé des poètes”, the time for Sab to explain me his story…

MissaParis : Sab, you are British. Why have you chosen Paris to live in ?
Sab Will :Yes, I am British. I was born in Scotland and my family moved to England when I was 2. 17 years ago I kind of wanted to run away from UK and to go around the world, looking for inspiration. As I found it in Paris I stopped there and quite never left it.

MissaParis : So you have a particular link with Paris ?
Sab Will : Of course, yes. In fact the decision to stay was made for me by Paris. Paris grapped me.

MissaParis : You are a photographer, a painter, a poet… First of all when did you start the photography ?
Sab Will : I first got into photography over 20 years ago in the UK. I’m self-taught because I’m not a big fan of people telling me what to do, and irritatingly stubborn. I pretty much dropped it when I came to France back in ’93, but got back into it in a big way a few years ago following a stay in Greece.
It became clear to me that this was a great area to get into, and digital photography was just starting to rival traditional SLRs, and since then there’s been no looking back !

MissaParis : How does the French capital inspire you ?
Sab Will : Paris inspires my photography, and my photography breathes life into my passion for this city in particular – no other place has anything like the same effect on me. I sometimes don’t even bother taking a camera with me when I go on holiday !
I’m passionate about the city in many different ways and on many different levels. For a start, ‘Paris Set Me Free’, in all its senses, really says it all. I feel creatively liberated and yet some sort of sweet prisoner at the same time.
But as a street photographer don’t think I’m taking chocolate box postcards of sunsets behind the Eiffel Tower every day – far from it! I’d say that roughly 50% of my work, such as my words-and-image vignettes I publish on the ‘Paris and I’ blog, include some sort of irony or indication that not everything is as perfect as we would like to kid ourselves it is…

MissaParis : You publish your photographies on many websites you created. Could you enlight us about that ?
Sab Will : My main creative hub is the Paris Set Me Free site. This name came from a poem I wrote which is one of my simplest but also most significant for me; it’s when it became clear in my own mind just how important Paris was for me.
Also, apart from a lot of blogs, I’ve just started a new site, Paris Photo Walks, to focus on my Paris photography. My aim is eventually for it to be the most complete personal photographic record of the city out there.

MissaParis : But why on the Internet ?
Sab Will : Because what I like of Internet, that is the possibility to touch people all over the world. I publish a photo in Paris and 3 minutes later an Australian will be able to see it.

MissaParis : And why several websites and not just one ?
Sab Will : Because people can choose what they are interested in : photography, painting, poetry…

MissaParis : You seem to have so many passions…
Sab Will : One of my biggest problems has always been that I try to do too many things and end up being pretty crap at all of them. Right now I’ve finally managed to restrict myself to just a handful of artistic domains, and I’m working like crazy producing photos and paintings and words which I hope will have some sort of meaning for someone, starting with me !
Paris is a bit like a creative heart pumping colours and words and pixels around my body ! If someone took that out of me I don’t know what I’d be.

MissaParis : Could you tell a little more about your projects in paintings ?
Sab Will : I have imagined a concept about the idea of infinite with 9 squares and moving them you can create your own composition. This is a painting with no beginning and no end. It’s a metaphore for life. That seems to be complete, and when you move some parts of it, it creates a new one. This is like the river of life, with all the generations. People can choose their own configuration.

MissaParis : And what is your next project ?
Sab Will : Street art ! And it will be an unofficial part of Paris… [Since we made the interview this project has been realized and you can see it clicking here.]

MissaParis : Now the MissaParis question as usual ! What is your favorite place in Paris ?
Sab Will : That’s a funny question… and imposssible to answer !
I love the Eiffel Tower of course; I’m trying to take different pictures each time. But I also like the parks : the Parc Montsouris, the Parc Georges Brassens… I think Paris entirely !

MissaParis : And do you have a good address to advise to the MissaParis readers ?
Sab Will : Perhaps this salon de thé where we are right now, “The Valentin”. And all the curious shops in this beautiful passage. [Passage Jouffroy, in the 9th arrondissement.]

MissaParis : A last word for MissaParis ?
Sab Will : I wish you luck and will continue to enjoy reading your blog for a long time to come !
Many thanks again to Sab Will for this amazing meeting and the photo shoot ! More than an interview, Sab Will showed me one of this paintings, his way to wait behind a window for the good picture…
Sab Will a “real Parisian artist” to discover…

Photos : MissaParis upon Sab Will’s idea.

Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

2 Comments on this post

  1. et bien!!!!! missaparis prend du bon temps

    Bénédicte / Reply
  2. Merci beaucoup pour cette belle rencontre – un vrai plaiser, MissaParis, courage et à bientôt !

    Sab / Reply

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