PROFILE

Franck Seguin

A diver and his team on a dinghy making preparations. The camera is half submerged so the diver's fins are visible beneath the water.

French freediver Arnaud Jerald, 24, achieved the world bi-fin record in 2020, reaching a depth of 112 metres without an oxygen tank. This image, taken by Canon Ambassador Franck Seguin one month before that attempt, captures a moment of concentration as Arnaud and his team prepare for a dive. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM) at 1/4000 sec, f/8 and ISO1250. © Franck Seguin

An experienced French sports photographer, who is also Editor-in-Chief in charge of the Photo Production department at L'Équipe group, Canon Ambassador Franck Seguin has shot a huge variety of different sports, specialising in freediving.
Born in Dunkirk, north of France, Franck's thirst for adventure led him to first join the Navy at the age of 17. Then his father-in-law, an amateur photographer, helped him discover photography. And quickly it became more than a hobby, into an all-consuming quest. A self-taught shooter, Franck began as a skiing photographer for a ski resort in the French Alps, before moving to Paris to work for a publishing house and make a series of books on various sports.

Franck spent the next 17 years working for three press agencies, starting by covering sport before broadening his focus to take on news, politics and social issues. As Editor-in-Chief of the Photo Production department at L'Équipe, the highly-respected daily French sports newspaper, he now manages a team of 10 staff photographers and a raft of freelancers.
An enormous wave breaking with the tiny figure of a surfer just ahead of it.

For a couple of days at the end of October 2020, there was a historic swell in Nazaré, Portugal, a paradise for big wave lovers. Kai Lenny, 28, an extreme sports athlete from Hawaii, rode the biggest wave of his life, a vast mountain of water between 20 and 30 metres high. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM) at 1/5000 sec, f/5.6 and ISO400. © Franck Seguin

Franck has covered all the major sporting events in his long career, and has specialised in in-depth sports features with a particular focus on freediving. He remains in demand for the quality of his work. Impeccable timing and the ability to keep a cool head in intense situations, along with his skill in building mood through the considered use of shadows and colour, elevate Franck's sports photography to an artistic level.

As well as being exhibited at many French photography festivals, Franck has twice won the Les Photographies De L'année photography prize. In 2007, he won first prize in the World Press Awards Sports Features category. And in 2016-2017, he was among the 170 photographers (current and historical) whose photographs were selected to be displayed at New York's Brooklyn Museum in its exhibition, Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History from 1843 to the Present.
A stuntman in a tan suit with his back and lower legs set on fire, pulling a face.

To film action scenes where someone is set on fire, a performer wears fire retardant clothing coated in flammable gel. This picture was taken near Paris, France, as part of a special issue on stuntmen for the French magazine L'Equipe. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM) at 1/1250 sec, f/5 and ISO2500. © Franck Seguin

A black and white image of a woman wearing a dress lying on the seabed in the centre of a large frame, a series of bubbles rising close to the camera.

Julie Gautier is a talented French freediver, dancer, underwater cinematographer, film director and author. Here she performs underwater choreography on the seabed in the port of Nice, France. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM lens at 1/400 sec, f/9.9 and ISO1250. © Franck Seguin

Franck's passion for freediving photography continues to shine through, despite the risks that the sport poses to its participants and the photographers who document it. He has built close relationships with the champions of the sport, including former world record holder Loïc Leferme, also from Dunkirk, who tragically died in 2007. Franck was the only photographer allowed under the water for the entirety of Loïc's record attempts, and together the two men pushed the creative boundaries of freediving photography, with Franck sketching out his ideas above water and Loïc helping to realise them in the deep. The two were also among the first to shoot digitally underwater without the use of flash.

The breathtaking images he's brought back from the depths of the world's oceans have earned him significant acclaim. His photo of 24-year-old Guillaume Néry training for his attempt to break a world freediving record off the coast of Nice won him first prize in the Sports Feature category of the 2007 World Press Photo contest.
How do you think the sports photography industry will develop in the next 5-10 years?

"The equipment will become lighter and more compact, it will stay connected to the cloud and offer voice control, enabling images to be transmitted even more easily than today."


What is the most useful piece of advice that you'd offer to sports photographers who want to raise their game?

"I think you have to draw your inspiration from others without imitating them. You need to express your personality and you have to be yourself. You have to have a point of difference. For instance, I might restrict myself to using just a 600mm lens to cover a football game in order to get different images."

One thing I know

Franck Seguin


"When you're working underwater, everything becomes more complicated. You have to concentrate on several things at the same time – the way you breathe, the way you swim, the way you handle a camera and lens inside underwater housing – and it makes everything that much more difficult. Your time is limited, so you absolutely need to prepare well for a dive and to have a clear vision of what you are going to do in terms of images. You can't afford to rely on luck being on your side."

Facebook: Franck Seguin

Instagram: @franckseguinphoto

Franck Seguin's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Canon Ambassador Franck Seguin's kitbag, containing his Canon cameras and diving kit.

Cameras

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

The newest version of the camera Franck relies on. "My top piece of Canon kit!" Franck says. "An efficient and reliable camera, you can use it everywhere to shoot everything, from portraits to underwater action."

Lenses

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

The professional's wide-angle lens with L-series optics, with a fast f/1.4 aperture, ideal for low light. Franck says it's "a versatile lens which I find unbeatable for shooting reportage".

 

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