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Interview Kevin Couliau


Who is Kevin Couliau?

A French Basketball player, Photographer and Director.


Where do you officially reside? And how many days per year are you there?

I currently reside in Paris, France. I might spend four months total in Paris per year.


Which athlete you get out of bed for to watch? And why?

I used to watch the NBA Playoffs and All Star Game live at night, but I’m not that much of a geek anymore, even though I enjoyed watching Steph Curry & Klay Thompson with the Warriors during the last NBA Finals. Live Basketball is way more fun and excitement :)


Which sports team gets your blood pumping? And why?

The Golden State Warriors for their unseen-before style of playing, when they are playing together, making their shots and run up and down the court…it’s the most exciting team in the league.


You clearly play basketball yourself as well. What position do you play and what is your go to move?

Growing up I used to play point guard because I love dribbling, going through the defense to drop a lay-up, but getting older I got lazy and went on the wing to become a shooting guard. I like to cut, create motion and shoot three pointers. I guess shooting behind the arc has become my go-to move due to a recent ACL Injury - I’m not as fast as I used to be.


Do you play any other sports?

I used to do skateboarding for 14 years thanks to my brother David who was a professional skateboarder. But now I have bad knees.


Who’s your favourite artist?

That’s a tough question - I don’t have a favorite but multiple I like - painters such as Jose Parla, Justin Bua or photographers such as Richard Avedon and Stephen Shore


What was the key moment your love for art grew?

I guess as a teenager skateboarding, subconsciously opened my eyes on arts. Through simple things like photography, architecture, cinematography. By essence it’s a creative environment because of the sport itself, but also the people from the community constantly producing art. 


How did your love for sports come about?

Sport has always been part of my life, I couldn’t even tell what triggered my passion for sport. I guess the first time I touched a basketball was the starting point, I was 6 years-old.


When did sport become a subject of your own art?

In 2004, my brother gave me my first film camera so I started capturing my friends on our local basketball court. I was fascinated by the aesthetic of one dunker and started to shoot him doing crazy stuff in the air. Dunking is an art into itself, maybe one of the most beautiful way to express yourself on a basketball court - so it needed to be captured.


What is Kevin Couliau’s style?

My style is all about perfect composition, whether I shoot an empty basketball court or an action shot my priority is to make sure everything is perfectly composed. I almost shoot like an architecture photographer, always searching for the vanishing point or detail that will make the photo unique.


And how did you get to this style? Or how did the style choose you?

Through my father, an architect, and my brother who taught me the basics of composition and witnessing him too being super rigorous in everything he does. 


What is your favourite sport artwork you made? 

Doin’ It In The Park, an 83 min documentary about New York City Basketball. 


If somebody wants to see your work in real life, where do they have to go?

In real life ?! The only permanent work I have outside in the real world is a collaboration I did with the Memphis Grizzlies. The NBA team renovated several basketball courts in Memphis and used some of my photos on the backboards. That’s the best way to see my work live. If you can’t travel to Memphis, just go on my website :)


Did you ever dare to dream when you were younger you would travel the world and photograph the sport you love and heroes from the sport? How does that make you feel?

I never imagined I would end up being a photographer. My dream was to play in the NBA and art wasn’t in my mind as a kid. Today I have been fortunate to travel the world and document the game who shaped me as a human being, it’s humbling and rewarding on many aspects of my life.


Which sport, sports team or athlete has always been on your mind, and is on the list to make a work of?

I guess Barack Obama! There’s nobody I would like to capture more that the president himself on his White House basketball court. 


Which sport artist/colleague of yours do we have to check out?

My friend Steven Counts, the new face of sport photography.


If you could choose one athlete you could make photographs with together for a day and he would teach you his skills, who would it be? And why?

Stephen Curry. 


Julius Caesar used to say (freely translated): “Give the people bread and games, and they will be quiet.” If you were Julius for a day, wanted to keep everybody relaxed, what food and which games would you give them?

I would give them mango smoothies and playing cards ! Haha, that’s a weird question :)


When I say Art Loves Sport, what’s the first thing that pops up in your mind?

That Sport needs to love art too and embrace it. 

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