How did you become a Production Manager?
In fact, I didn't even know it was a job when I was looking for what I wanted to do while I was still a student. Then in college (Master in Multimedia and Audiovisual) I had courses in production management, and love at first sight, that was it, that's what I wanted to do.
What are key characteristics a producer needs to succeed?
I think my gift is getting inside the heads of photographers and directors... and be their logistical right-hand man.
You need to be organized, see the big picture, be comfortable and patient with people, and handle the stress well.
Can you tell me an iconic image maker whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images/films?
In pictures I like to be pushed around, the forbidden, the subversive, the “What the fuck”….
I've always liked the pictures of Pierre and Gilles, I feel fun and poetry.
Nan Goldin's work has always fascinated me, for the intimacy.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
Haha, no! I'm totally convinced that the male gaze is a thing, but we're soaked in it that it's hard to see it.
What was the first shoot you ever produced?
The first shoot I produced on my own was a TV show, so nothing glamorous. But even if I like the beauty of the image, I take my pleasure in the logistics (I know, it sounds crazy for you artists!), so I was served.
What do you love most about this Industry?
I started in the TV industry and I've been in advertising for 5 years.
What I like is the power of the mass media, being able to entertain millions of people for example or to get a strong message across with a simple image.
And personally, what I like is the fact that it's fast, that it's project-based, that it's possible to meet a lot of different people on each project.
What do you hate most about this Industry?
Eco-responsibility is an important part of my life for a few years. So pushing people to over-consumption weighs heavily on me.
And as for everyday life, pedantic people who think they are above others, how is that possible?
It's been a guideline for years, I try to work only with cool people. You can be serious without taking yourself seriously. And have fun!
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about it// who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
Frankly, I'd do pretty much the same thing. Maybe work on more artistic projects. But I've had so much fun and I have so much freedom in my professional life, it's such a luxury when you come from a modest background like mine.
Statistics show that only 1 in 12 of the big money jobs i.e. Womenswear-, Beauty- and Perfume Campaigns are shot by women. Is there just no qualified female image makers out there?
I think it's going to take some time to fight the patriarchy that's entrenched in our society, but we're making progress.
It's a question of education; we're teaching little girls to be wise and pretty, not to be ambitious and to know how to defend their place and their salary. But we are moving forward.
What would need to change in your opinion to get more women shooting the big money jobs?
Ourselves. Women. WE need to change. WE must take power. And WE have to say it loud. I heard something at a conference I love about women's empowerment.
"If you can see it, you can be it." That's the key. We need to see women in Forbes magazine to make little girls want to be entrepreneurs.
And we need to see stories about women photographers or directors. Women can be everyone/ everything they want.
What do you think about the claim that creative authority on set is more often found in men?
It’s a fact that nowadays there’s way more men at creative authority than women. But it shouldn’t be… And like I said, I’m sure we are moving forwards.
One says it takes 10’000 hours to become a master of a craft, how long in hours/days/years did it take you to make a living?
It's a never-ending story. I’m not an artist so it’s not really the same for me.
So I could tell that it takes me 7 years to be really independent as a production manager. But I'm one of those who never stop evolving, for me that's what life is all about.
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?
My God, can you imagine that I cant’ name a female Image maker Icon… So sorry
The one to watch: Celeste Leeuwenburg. She proposes an intimate work on the woman's body, all types of bodies. (And she’s a feminist, you should interview her ;-) )
Who is your female fashion designer icon and who is your the one to watch?
Coco Chanel. I know it’s a classic answer, but she was bold for her time.
And the one to watch... Hmmm one with eco-friendly considerations.
I really prefer to spend my money on small brands now.
The "BRAI" brand.2 sisters in Paris, responsible clothing for children and adults. I really like their line of communication, artisanal, the models are their friends, it breathes happiness.
What do you look for in an image maker?
At work, I like when they really know what they want, even if it’s crazy or expansive, or hard to find.
My job is to get into their creative head and be the logistic one, so if there isa connection and they trust me, I can do my best and we can do Magic!
How important is it how an imagemaker behaves towards their team?
The image maker has to lead is team, is really the conductor. But we can manage a team being nice and having fun.
Since #metoo has there been a noticeable shift of behavior during all stages of production? If so how?
To be honest, I feel really lucky that I haven't had any big problems on my sets or in my career.
I've met a few misogynist people that I've reframed through work or humour, but no harassment or inappropriate behaviour.
What do you say about the charge that all fashion imagery is predominantly sexist?
I'm not sure it's just sexist. It's the whole construction of a woman's image that's disturbing. Even women by women for women. The fashion industry has created a perfect image of skinny, scaled bodies, hangers...
And instead of creating a dream, it's created frustration, it's a little sad.
It’s sexist, but It’s also reductive and guilt-ridden.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion and Beauty Imagery?
I hope so. To build a new imagery, to show that all bodies can be sublime.
Being fleshly can mean loving to eat (life!), scars tell a story…
We'll be able to get out of the perfect image by looking at it from the inside and the outside.
To have a new look at the body and the woman in general through images and if women expect something else as well.
And the feminist movement helps us to open our eyes (and say it loudly)
What was your relation to fashion & beauty prior to working in this industry? Has it changed?
I come from a modest background, so I've always watched fashion from afar and never thought I'd be part of it one day.
Working in it made me aware of the other side of the decor, the 3 hours of meetings to agree on the right grey to use for the background, changing accessories 18times to satisfy the customer and wasting hours...
It's a world that sometimes takes itself a little too seriously, I think we could bring a little lightness to it...
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were ever given and what advice would you have wished for earlier on in your career?
My parents instilled in me that nothing is impossible and that in order to achieve a goal in life you have to work, and that's what I did.
I wish someone had told me earlier that it's ok to have new desires, to try other things, not to feel guilty about getting tired of things sometimes, it's a good thing to be curious.
What is your next big project or goal for your career?
I'm convinced that we can shoot in a more virtuous way, so I'm trying to contribute to it. So I am now consultant in sustainability for the audiovisual industry, specially in the advertising shootings.
Is there anything in particular you'd like to accomplish?
Just be happy in my life.
It's a huge project, there's no magic formula, so I let myself go, I try to enjoy every moment and the people around me, being positive. While being aware that we are part of a whole, so taking care of living beings, and the planet.
Thanks a lot for this interview, that was really interesting to think about those things ;-)