A Family Affair: Photographer and Cool Dad Clément Pascal Gets In Frame With His Son
If you had to guess what happens when a noted fashion photographer decamps upstate with his family during lockdown, you’d be correct to assume plenty of family photoshoots. Clément Pascal, the lensman whose work can be found in The New York Times and Dazed & Confused, took off with his wife and child for their home-away-from-home two and half months ago just as the city was closing. The photographer says, “It took us a really long time to figure out if we wanted to leave. My wife is a New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan, so leaving the city is not a thing that she takes lightly.”
But time away from the city has allowed the French-born creative to find himself a new muse–his adorable 15-month-old, Lucian. Putting creative projects temporarily on hold and taking on full-time parenting duties while his wife, a therapist, continued to work, Pascal began filling his iPhone with images of his wildly photogenic son. “We had a nanny in the city that is amazing and that we love. The nanny would come and I would still spend time with them but it’s just completely different to be two months straight every day, non-stop with Lucian. I feel much more at ease doing everything with him. I’m probably a better father for it.” Their remote country life helped the photographer gain a new perspective on home and his own role as a father–and making it all the easier for Pascal to capture home life for his recent shoot with The RealReal. Turning his camera on his new-found interiors and placing his child in the center of it, the photographer was able to get back to work–and make it a family affair.
Here, Pascal tells Real Style how he’s managing fatherhood, home improvements, and the camera these days.
New Meaning Of Home
“We’ve never spent more than a weekend in our upstate home. And we’ve always thought that it would be nice to get to spend some time here and do all the projects we have never been able to do. And lo and behold, we’ve been here for two and a half months. We still don’t know when we’re going back to Brooklyn. We went back to Brooklyn twice–I went back to pick up my computer and my printer and all the stuff from my studio that I need to do real work here. And we also went back for my son’s doctor’s appointment. Going back into the apartment was a very weird thing. I grew up in France in the countryside and there were a few abandoned houses around, so we would just go in and see. There would be things left behind and you would always ask yourself like, ‘Huh? I wonder how that happened? How does somebody leave a place and doesn’t pack their stuff? It just seems strange.’ And that’s how it felt going back home. It felt like all the things that we left behind a month and a half ago, two months ago, are still there and just felt almost foreign.”
Creativity In Lockdown
“I’m with Lucien all day, so I have little time to be really productive except for taking pictures of him, which has been awesome. I have a lot of great photos of him now. When this whole thing happened, I went into survival mode. I was like, ‘Fine. I don’t need to work. I don’t need to be creative. I’m just going to take care of my family. And then I did this project for The RealReal and I have some other things in the pipeline. While doing this, I realized that I missed being creative so much and that I just feel so much better as soon as I do that. I really didn’t realize that before just having to do it again.
Fatherhood In The Time of Corona
“Being able to spend time with Lucian right now at this age is just so amazing. I speak French to him. My wife speaks English to him. He’s saying so much stuff right now because we have been able to spend all day long with him. When would that ever happen? My wife is a therapist and she still works. She does FaceTime sessions with her patients which means that I am with Lucian pretty much every day.”
A Frenchman In The Making
“Lucian has a little beige beret he wears. It suits him really well and when we take walks around town everyone comments on it all the time. We hear people say things like, ‘Oh, my God. The hat. He’s just so cute. The hat.’”
Forging A Community Of Like-Minded Dads
“It’s been cool to have friends around with babies the same age or a little older. You see what to expect and it’s been really rad. It’s a lot of creative people, so it’s cool to see that. Yeah. It just sucks right now because obviously we just can’t see them and the babies can’t see each other.”
The RealReal Shoot Became A Real Family Affair
“I take a lot of photos of Lucian on my phone and not with a certain goal in mind. I just want to take pictures of him being him. And this was a little more directed. He’s not a good model, but it was cool. It was really nice. And my wife helped me out. She was the baby wrangler a little bit. It was really a great opportunity to do this. I really enjoyed it. And, being creative while being with my son was awesome with the added bonus of getting good photos of my son out of it, it’s just like, ‘Hey. This is a really cool project.’”