Hugo Qaherabear shot by Maynard Luis Terry

Did you grow up in France?

I’m native French, but I grew up in West Africa. I was born in Senegal where I lived for ten years. I then moved to Cameroon and Gabon in the 80s and 90s. Through all these years living abroad my mind was opened to different cultures and visions of aesthetics which aroused my interest in art.

What is your heritage?

I’m half French and half Italian. In my family’s origin resides my heritage with a mixed passion for classical painting and oriental antiquity (I lived a couple of years in Egypt). I enjoy combining these various inspirations in my artwork to create a link between different kinds of people. 

How is life in Lille for you?

Even if Lille is not as known as Paris, it is a beautiful city in the northern lights of France, half between Brussels, London and Paris. It is a crossroads -- a dynamic area with many Universities. Many artists are living there too, we even created the hastag #ecoledelille in order to promote and showcase each others artwork. When I came back in France, I found many opportunities and benefits to living there.

What do you do for a living?

Apart from being a model and creating art, I work as a teacher in French language for foreigners at the Universities of Lille which is always a great opportunity to exchange with many nationalities and cultures.

What is your experience like shooting with Terry?

I’ve known Terry for a long time. We work together frequently on several creative projects. We met on a common vision of art and masculinity.

In spite of our artistic universes being different, we always meet with confidence and creativity on each project and shooting. We like to joke around — I’m his number one Diva! 

Our creative collaboration is always an awesome moment based on confidence, artistic exchange and a great admiration we have for each other as human beings and artists.

When were you first aware of your own body type?

I started making self-portraits on my own at the end of the 90s when selfies were still in the depths of the Internet’s realm. It was a first step to tame my own image. Then, picture after picture, I got nice feedback and great impressions. So, I decided to make it my art. The pleasure I felt shooting myself and sharing it around me gave me the inspiration to start taking pictures with models.

Do you feel connected to a body positive movement locally and/or globally?

I am not interested in labels, but I love showing the masculine aesthetics of a natural man which doesn’t conform to modern beauty ideals. Being a part of a body positive movement is showing the diversity of body type in order to make people feel better and accept themselves as they are.