Childhood puzzles

Someone gave me one day a box of pictures. They were bad photographs, snaps, mostly taken in an artist studio and representing unfinished garment creations on vintage mannequins.
The person offering me this gift knows that I sometimes need material for my own creations and thought these pictures could be useful at some point.

A rainy and cold Sunday afternoon, I started a little workshop. Inspired by the subject on these images, I started creating my own garment out of these pictures.
I had fun doing this, and ended up with a strange and unique west coat.

While making it, I remembered a story I use to read when I was young.
“Donkey Skin” , from Charles Perrault, is the story of a King who promised his dying wife he would never marry a woman more beautiful than her. Sadly, as the Queen was the most beautiful woman, the King didn’t find any woman that would fulfil his promise, unless his own daughter. Under the pressure of his advisors and his entourage, he finally takes the awful decision to marry her.

The Princess, full of sadness and despair, went to find her Godmother and cried for help. Her Godmother advised her to ask her father for impossible request, as a condition to their union. One of these request in a dress “colour of time”.

As a child, even though the dress is described in the story, I could never visualise how this dress could be.
But today, I understand. What could symbolise the concept of Time better than photography ?
A photograph is literally the capture of a fraction of second, or more, on a piece of paper.

I created this dress from a fairy tale in the form of a west coat, in my bedroom, became a child again and solved one of my childhood puzzle.

If you want to read the end of the story “donkey Skin”, here is the original story.
You can also watch the movie “Donkey Skin”, directed by Jacques Demy and starring Catherine Deneuve.

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My inner child

 

This is a very personal creation symbolising my thoughts about closeness and childhood.

Having a baby is, for most of us, the ultimate point of closeness between two people. But a baby is also for me the symbol of another strong proof of closeness.
Sometimes, when spending time with someone, one self can have a feeling of how this person was when being a child. Being able to communicate with this inner child can offer playful and creative moments, but also gives a understanding of the feelings of each other.

I am constantly in a quest to find my inner child. I found a way to communicate with her, which is through photography and art in general.

Allow yourself to have fun and free yourself up from the adult world.

Photo etching

Photo etching is also known as photogravure. It is an interesting process, invented in the early age of photography. It was very useful at that time, because it gave the possibility to reproduce an image more than once. Creating a negative, which takes the form of a metalic plate etched in acid, is long and fastidious, but once this is done, the printing process is fast. It was used a lot by artists  from the Pictorialist movement at the beginning of the 20th century. Later, this term is also used to describe some similar commercial printing processes.

Photo etching gives huge creative possibilities. The image can be printed on any kind of paper but also on fabric and other different services. It also allows to create effect when using the ink, or by the use of colour or by the way the ink is applied. Collages are possible as well, using a technique called Chine-collé.

These four images above and below are some prints I have done in May 2014, using photo etching.

Double exposures

These eight images are from a series called “double exposures” that I created between February and March 2014. They are analogue photographs, taken with a medium format  camera, and I printed them by myself in a darkroom.

I have always been fascinated by the work of Man Ray and his “rayograms“. He was experimenting a lot with processes and I think this is what photography is all about. I also love the Jerry Uelsmann’s work, who is a specialist in combination printing and multiple exposures.

Inspired by their work, I decided to create a series of eight images, which would be achieved by using different process of multiple exposures. I did a lot of experiments and really enjoyed spending time in a traditional darkroom. All the magic of photography reveals itself in that place. Seeing the image appearing on the paper when developing the photograph provokes a feeling that can only be experienced there. It is very exciting and intriguing.

I said “magic”, when it is actually very scientific and precise and it reminds me that people who invented and start experimenting with photography, as Fox Talbot among others, were originally scientists, but were also seen by the public as magicians. It is a bit how it feels when working in a darkroom. Photographers all know there is a scientific reason behind this process, but they are all still carried by this illusion of practicing an unbelievable magic trick.

Camera Obscura

I always had a conflicted relationship with my hometown. I grew up there and when I was around fifteen, I started being so fed up. I wanted to travel, I wanted adventures ! But I was stuck, and bored, in that city. As soon as I could leave, I did. I came to live in London at the age of 19. But after a year or so, I realised how badly I was missing my hometown and my family. Nowadays, I go back there almost every two months. I always look forward to it, and always feel sad and lost when I leave.

When I go back to my hometown, I often try to capture these strong feelings of attachments and loss with my camera. But for some reasons, my images are never strong enough visually. They seem to be interesting for me, but not for any other audience.

In april 2014, I went back in France to see my family for two weeks. I had the project to build a camera obscura in my bedroom. I had a completely different project in mind and was thinking to work on relationship between boys and girls during adolescence. I was inspired by the work of Abelardo Morell. He is a photographer famous for using this technique.

I built the camera obscura the first day I arrived. I was very excited about it because it was the first time I was using this process. When I finished, it was night time and the installation wasn’t working as it needs a lot of light. I went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning, something amazing happened. The camera obscura was working. I was thrilled. I could see the street outside of my house on the inside wall of my bedroom. I lied there for a while, enjoying the strange feeling of being inside a huge camera.

The same day, I started experimenting with my digital camera inside the camera obscura. I started taking self portraits and played with the projection on walls and objects.

After a few days working in my bedroom, I realised this process was perfect to express my feelings about my hometown. I forgot about my original project about relationship between boys and girls and started working on my own relationship with the place where I grew up. I worked on notions of absence, presence, loss, attachment and childhood.

Besides the fact that I am pleased with the images I created during these two weeks, I also lived one the most wonderful experience in my photographic life.

 

If you want to create your own camera obscura, here is a very helpful link.

Collages

 

 

I made this series of collages in March 2014. My idea came from a french expression : “being a vegetable”. It doesn’t express something funny but I always found the saying hilarious. I can’t help myself visualising someone becoming suddenly a potato. I decided to express this metaphor in photographic collages. Creating these images was quite a long process.

By working on these pictures, I also thought it could symbolize the way human beings tend to forget that nothing, including us, is forever because we are all made of organic matter. Besides being funny, this project also deals with ephemeral and death.

Hiding from the light.

In December 2013, I created a series of images on the theme of “hide and seek”. I love experimenting with lighting in my photography and I wanted to create a colourful and mysterious body of work. I was very inspired by Erwin Blumenfeld. He is a great fashion photographer. If you want to read more about him, click here.