In Nice, where I live, it rarely rains. The sun is powerful and pervasive. It is a city in the south of France that is still very much an old town—it has kept its charm and authenticity over the years. It’s also the location where I often shoot, and therefore, a crucial part of all my photographs.

For me, light is an important factor—even the subject—of my work. I try to frame moments where the light connects the figures and graphic elements in the scenes I capture.

Sometimes I make a point to photograph near bodies in motion because I like this proximity—I like to feel embedded in the photo, to hear fragments of a discussion, to smell the perfume of the people around me. That way, even though I am not in the photo, I feel part of the picture.

At other times, I like to be distant from my subject so I can incorporate them into the composition of the surroundings. This is less intrusive, and here, it is the light itself that guides my gaze.

But the subject is also key. Whether it is a human or an animal; surprising, funny, endearing, sexy, or plain, it’s the subject that will ultimately decide the direction of the image.

Ultimately, I try to create pictures that mix this feeling with the light and the uniqueness of my subject. I build my street photographs by synthesizing, playing with, and marrying all of these criteria.

—Rudy Boyer

Editors’ note: this project was singled out by the jury of the Street Photography Awards 2017. See all of the inspiring work by the 37 winners, finalists and jurors’ picks!