Can you remember when you first held a camera?
I was 16. It was a digital camera I received as a present for my birthday. Might have used my dad’s camera in the past but my first intentional pictures where shot when I was 16.
What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?
A portrait of myself made by my parents when we celebrated my 1st birthday. My head is literally in the apple pie, the candle so close to my hair that it could have burnt it all. I am still the same.
Can you tell me an iconic photographer whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images?
So hard to pick one and only! I would say Raymond Depardon and especially his work “La ferme du Garet”. I felt so close to the subject he photographed. It felt like he entered my family, my heart as well. To me the subject and the lights where so emotional and depicted so perfectly my feelings when I was at my grand parents in the French countryside (Limousin) for almost every holidays.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
No at all! But I definitely think that women have and still are in some ways encouraging it. The male gaze is a strong cultural habit we have to deconstruct entirely. See each other as human of all sorts. We have to stop defining each others (and ourself?) by simply a gender. We are much more complex than a binary vision of male/female.
What was your first fashion shoot?
Well as a still life photographer it is always funny to hear “fashion shoot” as in most people’s mind “fashion shoot” means a shooting with models, stylists, HMU, etc… In my mind, a fashion shoot is a shooting in which you display fashion items. Nevertheless, my first fashion shoot was with model tho :) It was for a small designer called ADEM IN ASPIC, here in Berlin, where I photographed a man! It was a lovely moment!
What do you love most about Fashion Photography?
I love that it is a team job! Any fashion shoot, even in still life, implies to be working together with a team of people you have to connect with in order to deliver a collective successful piece! From the designer of the pieces that you honour by your pictures to the set designers, stylists, HMUs, art directors, assistants, retouchers, models,…
What do you most hate about Fashion Photography?
That most of the time it encourages an industry that is no willing to be more respectful towards human rights and our planet. This is definitely the paradox that keeps me questioning myself quite often.
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about // who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
I think I would do just as I am doing now. Collaborating with great complementary artists, aiming always a bit bigger than where I stand now. Maybe I would try to be a little more confident than what I was and still are sometimes. Confidence is I think what most women lack and keeps us away from jumping into the big pool and putting ourselves out there. This feeling of “my work won’t interest anyone”, “it is not worth it”, “it is not as great as …”. These thoughts have to get out our minds because if it is interesting for us, it is for sure gonna be interesting for some others!
Statistics show that only 1 in 10 of the big money jobs i.e. womenswear- beauty and perfume campaigns are shot by women. Is there just no qualified female fashion photographers out there?
Oh there are! Plenty! Why is that number so low? I don’t have the answer and I don’t think there is one answer. It is a complex sociological/psychological/cultural mix that brought us there. I guess but once again I’m not sure, two important factors are still that womxn (please keep it written this way) are lacking confidence when it comes to handling “big campaigns” and in most of decision making people’s mind men would be better in handling stress, managing the group and probably more driven to bringing a successful campaign.
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 took me 4 years of school and 7 years after school. Don’t even want to convert it into hours as I might cry seeing the number!!
Who is your female fashion photographer icon and who is your the one to watch?
Icon: Rineke Dijkstra To watch: Crista Leonard (but it’s unfair to bring just one out of all the amazing ones we have out there!)
What do say about the charge that all fashion photography is predominantly sexist?
We live in a sexist world. It is changing but we can’t expect fashion photography to be different than the world we live in. It goes all together and if we start changing the codes we might be able to change the world :)
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion Photography?
Of course it will! How many women being represented in big agencies and getting the big campaigns compared to 10 or 20 years ago? It’s coming! That’s for sure. Will be more and more. I have no doubt about it.
When I look at your work, my favourite image is the two still lifes of which you kindly sent me the prints. What is yours?
My favorite picture out of all my work is the one of this young lady in a red swimsuit, kind of levitating over a fountain in my series “somewhere”. This isn’t about fashion photography as it is a personal series I did in my early 20’s. But this image is since years the one I cherish most in my entire body of work.