After the recent tragic events in Paris, I would like to express the importance and strength in the ties that bind a family. By family, I refer to the extended family of friends, neighbors, co-workers and most importantly… the people we love. Jean-Paul Lefret is the founder of Nous Sommes Famille (We are Family). He is also a professional photographer, father and a dear friend. With Nous Sommes Famille, Lefret offers families a special gift: a unique portrait of your family, a personal and precious souvenir to keep and to cherish. In this interview, you can read a bit more about Jean-Paul and Nous Sommes Famille.
Are you a Dad? Yes. I have 5 children. 2 are not my biological children, but I raised them and I love them like my very own.
The ups and downs of being a Dad?
The ups: When my child passed his latest exam.
The downs: Worrying that my child will not pass the test.
What inspires or motivates you? Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by each individual’s story and how I can materialize this singular story into an image. I find inspiration when travelling. I have a special affection for Asia. I also enjoy the various exhibitions and cultural events that Paris has to offer.
Why did you create Nous Sommes Famille?
I created Nous Sommes Famille because throughout my advertising work I often focus on images of children and also what I call “real people”. I have always been attracted to family photographs. I used to spend hours at flea market stands admiring the old family vacation photos dating from the first paid holidays in France.
What is your dream for Nous Sommes Famille?
My dream is to imagine that in the far future, someone in my family will find that forgotten photo and will have the pleasure of discovering a part of their family history of their grandparents, great-grandparents, or great-great-grandparents.
Do you have any favorite photographs? I would like to talk to you about 2 of my favorite photographs that are in my personal collection.
A photograph by Japanese photographer Shoji Ueda. This is a photo of his mother and her children in the dunes in 1950. Ueda would say, “The dunes are my studio.” This image instantly conveys the joy of the moment. Shoji Ueda had a notion of graphic design that inspired many of our contemporary creatives.
The second photograph could also be considered a kind of family photo, not a blood family, but a family of close-knit friends. This image taken by Lee Miller in 1937 always amazed me by its modernity. One can recognize (left to right) Nush, Paul Eluard , Roland Penrose ( the husband of Lee Miller) , Man Ray and Ady Fidelin.
– Aigle Boots : for the entire family, whether in Paris or in the countryside. These boots are often with us whenever we travel.
– Tiger Balm : I always have this in our cabinets at home. My partner must have at least 3 in her bag!
– Calendula Oil : to help scars heal faster along with homeopathic arnica.
– Scooter : an easy way to get around with the family and less cumbersome than a bicycle.
– “On Mange Quoi ce Soir” by Sylvia Gabet : a very practical book with some excellent recipes that are fast to make, easy and original.
– Waffles & Madeleines : for weekend brunch or an afternoon snack. I love the tender and also crispy Madeleine recipe from my friend Pauline. The recipe remains on our refrigerator.
Do you recommend any nice spots in Paris with the family?
Coffee Club, 87 rue d’Assas, 75006 – I love this restaurant. It’s perfect for families and very delicious.
Dong Huong, 14 rue Louis Bonnet, 75011 – This restaurant is closer to my neighborhood. The food is great and the kids don’t have time to be impatient as the service is fast and very tolerant. This is the haunt of several Asian families, but also various locals. Dong Huong offers an eclectic panorama of what Belleville represents, young and old meet there, trendy couples, traditional families and a wonderful person of various origins.
Le Dragon Savant 36/42 rue de la Villette, 75019 – a true Ali Baba cave (and also toy shop) for young and old.
Du Pain et Des Idées, 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 – one of the most delicious bakeries. I love their “pain des amis” (“bread of friends”). I rediscover how bread tasted from my childhood with salty butter and a bar of dark chocolate.
Georges Restaurant, Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 – for its amazing view of a large part of the city.
Merci, Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 – we feel like we are a part of the Merci family because everyone in the shop is very attentive despite the heavy flow of shoppers each day.
Balthazare Magazine – The spot for all cultural and food discoveries. This also happens to be my daughter’s web magazine.
Thank you Jean-Paul ! Nous Sommes Famille is an excellent Christmas gift idea… 😉