The colourful, evocative, and often risqué photos of Philippe Shangti entered TCS’s radar last year when Pra had a bit of a hedonistic galavant to Saint-Tropez.
She ended up at L’Opera one evening, a glitzy and fabulously fun restaurant with live entertainment, and noticed Philippe’s provocative photographs displayed throughout the venue. They all but beg to be explored and inquired about, which is exactly what Pra did.
And thus the larger-than-life world of Philippe Shangti collided with the indulgence-loving world of TCS!
Philippe Shangti’s photographic adventures started when he was fourteen years old, living in the city of Toulouse in the south of France. Expressing his ideas through photography was already a passion then and he continued to nurture this artistic pursuit all the way through his move to Saint-Tropez in 2006.
That was when his passion began growing into a successful career. The previous owner of LE QUAI (a restaurant-lounge Philippe now manages and considers one of his live galleries) saw his talent and encouraged him to use it, trusting Philippe to imagine the concept of the restaurant/art bar/club. When LE QUAI was sold, the new owner asked the on-the-rise artist to continue creating a new atmosphere every year.
Now, Philippe Shangti is an international multidisciplinary contemporary artist who, in addition to photography, also practices sculpting and works with video and various other creativity and design tools. He is also a conceptor, creator, designer of establishments, and puts together live shows which are part of his artistic universe.
Many of his images are extremely off the scale, which we love (but for modesty’s sake, we’ll leave you to go take a look at them on his website 😉 ). His inspiration stems from the jet-setters of Saint-Tropez and “their failures to blow the whistle on denial and sublimate the trash messages”. What he means by “blow the whistle on denial” is that he wants to highlight the dualities of jet-setters (and even of humanity). There’s the glittery side and then there’s the dark side with all of the hypocrisy that results from it.
Philippe likes to point out the difference between words and actions and how people sometimes (or maybe even quite often?) look the other way when it’s about their own behaviour. He enjoys staging the complexity of human psychology, which is evident in what he considers his best shoot to date—“No Cocaine Here”. This is the series that really launched his career and is at the root of his current success. His work has caught the eyes of celebrities such as actress Eva Longoria and French pop singer Ève Angeli and you might also catch sight of his photographs around the world, from London to Verbier and beyond.
Early on, he found inspiration in the extravagant works of Guy Bourdin, the provocative French artist and fashion photographer and you can detect hints of influence in his artwork. For Philippe, it’s all about looking at simple but extravagant people and personalities. The whole world is his playground for him to analyse and observe human beings, their behaviour, and psychology. He loves big productions, where the situation is realistic without special effects, such as in Roman frescoes.
Despite creating and being immersed in this “Philippe Shangti” universe that continues to be a source of inspiration for him, the artist himself maintains a healthy lifestyle in order to keep his creativity at peak levels. In fact, you’re likely to find him playing sports or riding motocross when he’s not working.
Not quite the personal image you were expecting, was it?
If you could shoot anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Person you’d love to photograph (alive or dead)
One word to describe you
We love the over-the-top imagery of Philippe Shangti and the titillating nature of his work—hang one of his pieces in your home and it’s guaranteed to be a conversation-starter!
Also, Pra can’t wait to head back to Saint-Tropez in July! (Oh yes, she’s going back!)