Words Jessica Blandina
How do you take criticism?
I’m always interested in having feedback about my work when it comes from people working in fashion, or photography. Positive or bad criticism allows me to improve my work. It’s very important to have different points of view. Before fashion week I have a few appointments with designers or with their team who could be interested in hiring me to develop backstage photos, and according to how they react while looking at my work, I modify the book I show them between each meeting. For personal work, I often show it to good friends before publishing it.
Do you believe in rules?
Yes and no. I think that rules are here for good reasons, following them to get a good level is the best way to progress quickly but at a certain point you need to override them if you want to make something not usual. As an artist your work will never get noticed if it looks the same as a lot of people who have strictly followed the rules. Being good is nice but being different is better.
What do you think you have learned as a photographer? What are some of your goals?
It’s very enriching to do this work. All year I meet different people that I couldn’t get across if I wasn’t doing this. The fashion industry is full of uncommon people with interesting personality I like that. The fashion world from outdoor is seen as unreal, it’s amazing to get inside. I rarely read magazines, but today I opened the last Vogue and I realized that I’ve seen in real life a couple of people who are inside, it was a strange feeling. Also, as a photographer I’ve learned to considerate everything I see as potentially artistic.
About my goals, I am a bit superstitious so I prefer to keep them for me otherwise they might not happen.
How was your first approach towards photography?
At first, photography was just a way to show my everyday life. Then it became a way to create, tell stories and express how I see some subjects like I do now through fashion.
When did you start taking photographs and what took you towards fashion photography?
I grew up with a camera between my hands. My father was very enthusiastic about the digital when it appeared so he bought different cameras with every year, and each time he had a new one he gave me the previous one. I remembered that I did my own horror short film at 12 years old while I was in England. And it became more serious while I was a college student.
I came into fashion photography by chance. I was walking in the street when I saw well-dressed people and a group of street-style photographers, I didn’t know what it was. I learned after it was Paris Fashion Week and theses people came out Stella McCartney show. I found it cool to have the opportunity to photograph stylish guest and models outside a show, so I began to frequent the surroundings of fashion shows. Later I sent my photos to some designer’s agents, they liked it and I got my first backstage accreditation.
What's the most exciting thing about being a fashion photographer?
There is a lot of energy and creative people in this environment; I love to meet designers who make great work or good photographers. I’ve met some celebrities too, I’m not really fascinated by them but it is always interesting to see how someone famous is in real life.
You've got some incredible backstage photos. What is that you're looking to capture when you are in backstage? In your opinion, which is the thing, that defines your style?
Thanks. When I am in backstage, I like to use the light atmosphere to make photos with a particular atmosphere. I rarely use a flash for this reason. I make different portraits using this light, I try to enhance what I’m seeing and to make it aesthetics and not necessarily faithful. I also make some photos of details which are more near « photojournalism ». My wishes are to make photos, which speak to people and not just a report of the show. I think that my style is easily identifiable by my use of light and colours.
Which artists have influenced your work?
I follow the work of a lot great photographers, famous or not, but I try my best not to be influenced by them. I don’t want to make photos, which look like someone else’s. It’s quite difficult but I try. I have a huge admiration for Gregory Crewdson, Erwin Olaf, Philip-Lorca diCorcia. Linked to backstage photographers, I like a lot the personal work of Ulrich Knoblauch who is doing this sometimes and Dina Litovsky.
How is the art scene in Paris?
There are hundreds of good exhibitions all over the year; I particularly like the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and the Palais de Tokyo.
Which exhibits have you visit lately and what did you take from them?
I’ve been very interested by Carol Rama, at the Musée d’Art Moderne. I always like controversial work. There, I’ve also discovered the furniture made by Rick Owens, I only knew his work in fashion.
Do you see yourself in the distant future working in Paris as a fashion photographer?
Paris is the city who made me… so yes. But I would like to travel more, to see how it is to work in a different fashion week like in New York for example. I would love to move all the year and to work in different places.
You also took some very interesting urban photos. Is urban photography something that you would like to work at the same level as fashion photography in the future?
I’m doing urban exploration; I’m very interested by discovering secret abandoned places with the illusion of suspended time. This is just a hobby, nothing else, but I would love to make a book about the places I found one day, or an exhibit.