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    © Philippe Echaroux

    Gueules du Rugby

    A photographic Odyssey

    One year in the making, more than 20,000km in a car touring French rugby clubs,  600 portraits taken and retouched. This is the challenge that Philippe Echaroux launched himself into: "Gueules du Rugby", a recently released 400 page photo book.

    What more natural than bringing the ELB 400 into the Scrum.

    Philippe, what inspired such a great book?

    We wanted to bring out a book coinciding with the Rugby Football World Cup, which is taking place at the moment. Our goal was to produce a work that marks a milestone, a real moment in time of French rugby, both of today and in the past. We wanted to really bare the face of the sport, provoke anecdotes, and talk about newcomers as well as legends.

    I’ve had carte blanche to produce astonishing, expressive, and offbeat portraits. Photographing so many symbolic figures in such a short period of time over such a vast country as France was a real challenge!

    © Philippe Echaroux
    Guilhem Guirado
    © Philippe Echaroux
    Jonny Wilkinson

    One year of travelling around France for this project! Tell us a bit more about this.

    There are 14 top rugby clubs in France, which is already an incredible distance to travel. They’re spread practically over the whole of France. If we add around 300 rugby players around the country, that’s almost 20,000 km added onto the route.

    "When you only have a minute to photograph a legend like Johnny Wilkinson in the back of a dark damp changing room, you’re lucky to have your ELB 400 flash!"

    © Philippe Echaroux
    Sébastien Chabal
    © Philippe Echaroux
    Census Johnston

    You were always on the move, did you have to constantly try to cobble together a studio out of thin air?

    It would have been absolutely impossible to produce this book with a fixed studio, it was up to me to come to each athlete. I was constantly on the move and I needed to be able to shoot in locations as strange as steamy changing rooms, dodgy bars, motorway service stations or even the players’ homes. Luckily, I had my trusty ELB 400 with me. Small, powerful, light and easy to transport, it was a crucial part of the success of a project like this. And I needed to be quick! The 2015 Rugby World Cup needed to coincide with the release of the book, the timing was crucial. I spent 8 months working at an intense pace to a deadline I couldn’t miss.

    © Philippe Echaroux
    © Philippe Echaroux
    Erik Lund

    "I want people

    to feel the slap in their face when they turn the pages!"

    © Philippe Echaroux
    Vincent Debaty

    The photo project is very focussed on the “facial” aspect of the players. This has been quite well accepted given the somewhat quirky images.

    What I’ve kept from this project is that among the 600 people that I photographed, I didn’t meet a single person who was unpleasant and I’m not just saying that. Everyone was very welcoming and hospitable. From the beginning we had to explain the project to each player, but as time went by, we could show them the rest of the portraits and we started to be recognised by the rugby world. I’ll always have the memories of fantastic meetings with these people, often in pretty strange situations!

    The world of rugby is, I think, an intelligent world. What I mean by this is that the people often have perspective and distance, they're able to take themselves not too seriously, and that makes my job a lot easier!

    I wanted the supporters who find their idols in this book to feel bewildered and confused, and I want people to feel the slap in their face when they turn the pages!

    © Philippe Echaroux
    Benjamin Fall


    "Gueules du Rugby"

    A book by 

    Eric Blanc, Philippe Echaroux,

    Jean-Pierre Pagès, Patrick Roger.

    Available Now!

    More information on


    © Philippe Echaroux
    Gérard Sutra

    Philippe's To Go Set

    • Rotalux® Softbox 70x70 cm

      Rotalux® Softbox 70x70 cmN° 26178

      Ideal for head and shoulder portraits, products or for use in small spaces. The catchlight can be similar to windows. 

    • Rotalux® Softbox Octa 135 cm

      Rotalux® Softbox Octa 135 cmN° 26184

      Very popular among beauty and fashion photographers, as they prefer the round catchlight given by this softbox.

      You can make yourself a great folding beauty dish just by removing the front and inner diffusers and adding one of the optional deflectors. 

    • Q-Reflector Adapter MK-II

      Q-Reflector Adapter MK-IIN° 26342

      Enables photographers to use any accessory of the Elinchrom range such as Rotalux and Litemotiv softoxes or any other EL accessory on the Quadra flash heads.

      Beware when using heavier third-party accessories, as these might put stress on the Q-Reflector Adapter MK-II.