By: STEPHANIE DAVIS SMITH
Miami-based French photographer Frederic Pinet has traded fashion shoots for the art world. His latest photo collection titled “Poolside” is touring the world’s most stylish resort destinations and the jet set can’t get enough of his dreamy prints. But it may be Pinet’s honest take on what’s lacking in today’s culture that has us intrigued.
Back in 2019, Frederic Pinet was in Miami on vacation and about to head back to his beloved New York City. “I said, ‘It’s too cold there,'” he says with a thick French accent, “and I decided not to go back.” While he’s called Rio, London, and Paris home, Pinet has settled nicely in Bay Point, where he is very much at peace and in demand. In fact, he photographed the award-winning, first cover of this magazine. Before that, he spent 30 years capturing iconic personalities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Penelope Cruz for Vogue, Elle, and Glamour. He has also shot campaigns for luxury brands such as Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, and BMW.
Miami has inspired the artist to push past his comfort level. The result is an intimate collection of oversized prints entitled “Poolside” shown at SoHo Beach House Miami during recent Swim Week. “I have been working for 10 years on my art, but never felt like it was ready,” he says. “The pandemic gave me the idea to do less commercial work and to focus on my craft.” He let go of his commercial agents, kept a few clients like Bloomingdale’s, and went all in on his artistic endeavors. “All my creative inspiration is my childhood holidays in St. Jean Cap Ferrat in the South of France… great memories,” he sighs. “All those women were so chic then. They’d hold a cigarette and a glass of wine. Long red nails. They were just really confident. I’ve been raised by women-two older sisters and my mom. My father died when I was 11. My art is very female-focused.”
Indeed. If you look at Pinet’s work, women and summer are all central imagery. “Poolside,” available for purchase through his website, is the most literal expression of his inspiration, yet. His images of abstract water effects and tan swimsuit-clad women exude modern-day Slim Aarons vibes with a distinctly French flare.
“Lounging. Friendship. Beautiful woman,” he says, as if it’s a Justin Timberlake song lyric. That’s the essence of his work that celebrates a bygone era, where elevated style was the definition of elegant sophistication. “Lee Radziwill, she was chic. Today a lot of people wear brands, but they’re not chic like her. Now we have a lot of beautiful people, but then they come to the pool with socks and flip-flops. I have the nostalgia of this time when you go somewhere and make an effort,” laments Pinet.
The lensman still goes to Europe every summer. In fact, he’s doing a private show of his work in St. Tropez which will be followed by one in Nantucket. And while he is one to embrace changes that have led him to this new chapter in his career, the simple pleasures and the creative ethos that define his work are never too far behind. “I still go to St. Jean Cap Ferrat every year. Same beach since I was born. I go to the same cafe. I know the people from the village. A bottle of the rose and I forget the world for a few hours. I drink too much, then take a dip. I can spend an afternoon like this. Laughter, food, friends, and beauty. And for the record, I never wear flip-flops with socks.” fredericpinet.com