Can you remember when you first held a camera?

My father’s hobby was photography. I always saw him taking pictures or developing prints in the dark room. So at a very young age I would assist him ! (well just look at him !) At the age of 9, he gave me my first camera. I would take pictures of my toys, animals, (especially my cat whoI would actually dress up!), and nature. 

What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?

The lake with the white swans in Wimbledon Park (London).

Can you tell me an iconic photographer whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images?

I like and get inspired by many photographers… 

Here are a few names :  Harry GruyaertIrving PennSteven Meisel ...

Steven Meisel I love for his way of being able to shoot anything in every possible style and way and always make it look perfect and sophisticated.

Harry Gruyaert, I love for his colour style and the way he uses sunlight and shades.

Irving Penn, I love for his portraits, and the intensity.

Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?

I personally in Art, do not make the difference between the male and the woman gaze. I think a good artist sees what he sees. Some woman havea masculine view on woman. Some men have a feminism view on women. 

In photography some people might see the « male gaze » in images shot by Helmut Newton, or Araki Nobuyoshi. But then some men have also shot men in the « male gaze » way ! such as Robert Mapplethorpe. In my opinion, some women have the « women gaze » like Bettina Rheims for example. 

In politics and society , I think it’s different, I think indeed there was a « man gaze » but since the 60’s, many things have changed and are still changing.  

What was your first beauty shoot?

My first beauty shoot was when I was a teenager. I would do beauty shoot sand portraits of my friends. I would even dress then up and do their makeup !

And my first beauty publication and cover was for Nova magazine. A magazineI used to love but sadly that does not exist anymore.

What do you love most about Beauty Photography?

I love to catch an attitude, to be close to the person, to have an emotion.I also love the texture of skin. And of course the different ways of lighting aface.

What do you most hate about Beauty Photography?

Having to wait hours for the hair and make up to be done ! but then every artist needs their own time !

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?

If I would start now, I would be doing the same I am doing now. I think each person has a character, an eye, a way of seeing things .. So I would probably do the same in matters of images. The only thing is I would be better with social media ! 

I would love to work with Fabien Baron. And would love to collaborate with Baron Magazine.

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 photographers out there?

Indeed I think that is not normal ! I think in the business there are many art directors or clients who either make their friends work, either choose famous photographers just to have the name on their CV ! Many times I think the chosen photographer is not appropriate  For example taking Coco Capitan (even though I like her work a lot), for a Givenchy Perfume advertising where you do absolutely not recognise the style of the photographer is something totally wrong. But the art director or client just chose the name by snobbery. This is just one example … but the list is for sure very long ! 

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?

I was doing my test and trying out many things as a teenager. So at the age of 21, I was still trying out lights and things but had already quite a « baggage » ! Also I arrived when internet did not exist. It was the beginning of magazines like Jalouse, Nova, Technikart. I started working with them, found an agent and started advertising. So I must say I was quite lucky everything happened in about 3 years.

Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?

I like many female photographers : for example Nina Leen and Sarah Moon, and in the new generation, I think Harley Weir is the one to watch.

Who is your female fashion designer icon and who is your the one to watch?

Ahhh !! again many !!! …

I loved Coco Chanel, for the strong woman she was and for the style she created.

I love Vivien Westwood for her crazy style and the fabrics.

I love Stella McCartney for her style, her way of thinking and of not using animals. She was the 1st one, she was "avant gardiste" and for me she is the one to follow.

What makes you feel comfortable on set? 

The team.

How important is your team?

That really depends .. On some sets we are minimum 6. And on some sets we can be 20 ! If it’s a film we can be 50 or more. Really depends of the shoots.

What do you say about the charge that all fashion photography is predominantly sexist?

When I started in the early 90’s there were not that many women fashion photographers. Before the 90’s it was worst ! 

Today, in 2020, I see as many women as men.

Also I have never personally been a witness of sexism or paid less than a man. 

But all I know of is the fashion industry. 

It’s probably very different and much harder and more sexist for women photographers in photojournalism, war reports , politics , DOP on movie sets, etc .. 

There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion & Beauty Photography?

No not fashion or beauty photography.

But for sure report photography , contemporary art, journalism and more ..

What I think is not normal though is that some male photographers who have had a bad reputation these last years due to women harassment are still shooting for clients ! 

When I look at your work, I really love your Glitter shoot for Grazia France. What is your favourite shoot? 

Thank you !

I am very and have always been very influenced by Dadaism. So in general my favourite images are the ones that look the most dadaist !

What was your relation to design/fashion/beauty prior to working in this industry? Has it changed?

Before working in this industry , I was obsessed by going to buy FrenchGlamour in the early 90’s and The Face magazine. They were my bibles ! I would get inspired by the fashion, the designers, the beauty, the photographers, the models .. I didn’t know anything about a professional photoshoot and didn’t know anyone in the business. But now I realise, that my teenage shoots with friends were actually made in a quite professional way ! (laugh ! )

What qualities do you value in an agent?

1st we need to get along fine character wise. 

2nd an agent needs to understand and like my images and I need to like his or her eye !

3rd an agent needs to have good relations in the business and or needs to follow up my relations, because I don’t have time to create and follow up all the time !

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? 

Actually, too many people want to give advice in this business. Looking back I honestly wished I had more listened to myself and less been influence by others.

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