Nicolas Quiniou

Verbier vacation memories

Yannick Nardin
Nicolas Quiniou
Winter 2023-2022

His photos capture the beauty of well-spent leisure time, with a nostalgic analogue touch. Rather than work in the frenetic bursts of images offered by digital cameras, Nicolas carefully frames his shots and patiently waits for the composition he envisions to come to light. His reward lies in his captured images that exude the fleeting pleasures of vacation, frozen in time forever.

For a select few, the COVID pandemic actually presented an opportunity for new perspectives. Nicolas Quiniou was one of them. Five years ago, this native from Lyon had arrived in Verbier to work in the flourishing local hospitality industry. Then the shutdown happened. While local businesses were shuttered for months on end during the pandemic, the mountains never closed their doors. The passionate photographer took advantage of the opportunity to develop his own way of seeing these fantastic landscapes, opting to shoot on film and then share his images on Instagram. Success came quickly: his fresh perspective delighted people from around the world.

“I like capturing the pleasure people get out of being on vacation,” explained Nicolas, mentioning his love of Slim Aarons’ work, who famously captured the lives of the jet set in the 1950s to the 1970s. Nicolas’ photos evoke a similar vintage feel, revolving around shots of people enjoying a moment of relaxation. “To create that retro effect, I use Kodak film,” said Nicola. That choice forces him to plan every photo carefully, as film simply doesn’t offer the same post-production retouching possibilities as the digital mediums most photographers use today. Nicolas’ compositions reveal his patience for that perfect shot, with an obvious gravitation towards symmetry and skiers that pop against a background of blue skies and majestic mountains. After taking his pictures, he must wait patiently for the film to be developed for the moment of truth. “Sometimes only 5 pictures are good on the roll, sometimes more,” said Nicolas.

A modern-day nomad equipped with an old-fashioned camera, Nicolas Quiniou loves to travel and doesn’t limit his work to the Alps. Italy’s seaside destinations are one of his other focuses, all while never ceasing to capture leisurely moments happening across the Valais region, from the village to the Val de Bagnes.