Michelle Gagne is a self-proclaimed weirdo. Lover of everything strange, but you couldn't tell just by looking at her. Blonde, beautiful and a picture of professionalism, Michelle uses art to express her inner "weirdo".
She says that as a kid, she had a harder time expressing herself and as she got older, she discovered different means of self expression like tattoos, which have allowed her to externalize parts of herself.
When Michelle was in school, she read Marilyn Manson's autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, which she says really changed her outlook on being "different" or "weird".
The Montreal photographer is best known for a few big local collaboration projects she's worked on such as her #girlbosses of MTL series where she showcases Montreal creatives through portraits.
She's also garnered media attention for a project she worked on amidst the Pitbull ban in Montreal, taking photos of pits and their faithful owners.
Michelle claims that as a commercial photographer, she isn't often afforded the ability to express herself creatively the way she would like to, and rather, is forced to conform to her clients' visions.
Gagne describes 3 different types of clients:
1.The client who knows exactly what they want - shot for shot.
2.The client with a clear vision that is open-minded to ideas and suggestions.
3.The client with an idea who is looking for creative input.
Gagne takes on personal projects on the side of her commercial and freelance work. These projects are what allow her to put her voice out there and use photography as a means for self-expression instead of it only being a way for her to make a living.
Her advice to young photographers is to understand that there will be jobs that you will have to take on to make ends meet. They might not be the best, they might not be in alignment with your vision, but it will give you experience as a photographer and help you get to where you want to be.
This year, Michelle says that she doesn't know what her big project will be yet. She's confident that it will come to her at the right time. We can't wait to see what she has in store.
Follow Michelle on instagram @michellegagne.ca and check out the rest of her work at www.michellegagne.ca