Light ,Camera, Action
It is a little bit of a cliche and a generalisation but professional photographers are known to be gloomy and to be taking themselves seriously. It is far from being true for Xavier Merchet-Thau. It is actually the opposite, there an eternal smile on his face expressing his <joie de vivre>. The pleasure he takes in doing is job is infectious. Taking a picture is for him a moment of happiness and that is what making the difference.
Xavier is a Chti...a guy from up north. At the age of 18 he set off to discover the world . He was one of the few people who could say that they where at the right place at the right time.
He started working at the famous Club Mediterranee at it's peaktime, at the beginning of the 80's , as a < Gentil Organisateur) litteratly Kind Organisers . The Club Med's GO's were well known for being very lively and friendly envied for their livestyle and very liberal approach to work. The GO'S were travelling a lot , had plenty of opportunities to meet people on a friendly o romantic basis and seemed to be on a permanent vacation. At the club he learned his trade as a lighting engineer and it was a revelation for him. He was in charge of lightning all the opening shows of the company in some of the wold 's most beautiful places for 5 consecutive years.
He came back to France and settled in the red light district of Pigalle . Xavier worked as a lighting engineer in two of the most exclusive clubs of Paris , les Bains Douches de Claude Challe and he was the main engineer of La Locomotive the famous club with the biggest light show of Europe at the time. When he needed to rest his ears , he worked on fashion or tv shows. However he got tired of living in a big city and while on vacation on the French Riviera he heard the sound of the waves again and felt that he was not in touch with his dreams anymore . He could hear the nature calling . He got an offer he could'nt refuse: going to Uruguay to set a night club . He settled in Montevideo , but since it was to civilised for him he soon moved to the city of Punta del Este , ( the south american St Tropez ) .
Xavier met his wife , had babies and settled down for a while. He stayed in Uruguay for a total of 10 years . During that time he managed to set up a fashion boutique and a huge club in Paraguay , sold restoration equipment and even managed the lights , pictures and videos of the president Uruguay campaign.
His daughter 's heath forced him to come back to France again. He started working in some of the most renowned ski resorts and one thing leading to another ended up being hired as a photographer at the Nikki Beach in saint Barthelemy . As the climate seemed to be ideal for his daughter , his family soon came to join him .
He quickly became independant and the rest his history .
Xavier 's pictures leave a mark of one simple reason . they are beautiful accomplished snapshots of festive moments . He takes them during parties in hotels, restaurants and beach bars always in a very relaxed and happy atmosphere . People are having fun , having a good time and enjoy being able to keep a memory of their evening on a paper print. The idea had to be a success . He has since then become the official photographer for Carole Gruson , the queen of the nights of st Barths. Soon all the celebrities visiting the island started to play alond and Xavier has now a very impressive track record of actors , singers , writers , buisinessman,producers who have all been in front of his camera , Kate Moos, Johnny Hallyday, Sting ,Uscher or Jean Dujardin to name a few.
However ,Xavier is not big headed and hasn't lost his smile. He still very humble. Even if most of this work is done at night , Xavier still finds time to do a lot of things during the day ; fashionshoots, children and family portraits and photos shoots for famous bijoutiers, architects or for the St Barth collectivity. He also works for magazines like Vip , Guests Book in St Barthelemy or Fine Magazine in San Diego . Weddings are also a big part of his work . It's his trademark . From the most basic one to the most lavish . He captures all the magic moments of the most beautiful ceremonies of the island . And the best is yet to come as Xavier has now a partnership with wedding planners from Dubai , New York and South America and starts surrounding himself with more and more photographers and video makers in order to build his own network and develop as an agency . He is full of projects and always think about the future by constanly investing in new equipement . He has always been a Nikon kind of photographer and is thinking about going into medium format using bigger sensors and supersize printers .
It is more expensive but the beauty as no price.
by Mathias Durand - Reynaldo