Today, I am chatting with a French photographer who has been snapping pictures since elementary school. Her name is Anne, her shop is Magalerie, and I have to tell you, her photographs are beautiful.
But I don’t want to waste anymore time with small talk. So, let’s get down to business. Here’s my interview with Anne…
1. I read somewhere that you’ve been taking photos since you were a child. Is that true? And if so, I am curious to know what similarities exist in your work from the time you were a young girl to now, as an adult?
Yes, it’s true. I don’t remember exactly when I started, but it was definitely before I turned 10.
One thing that I can say is when I was little, very often people around me were wondering and asking “what are you photographing?” And this is something that hasn’t really changed. They keep asking. When I was younger I was taking pictures of street signs, phone booths, advertising billboards, doors, etc. I wasn’t really looking for the “pretty” picture.
So to answer your question, I would say that I always pay attention to details.
The other thing that has not changed is the joy I still have when I’m making photographs.
2. What three words would you use to describe your photography to someone who has never laid eyes on it before?
It’s difficult to answer this question without sounding presumptuous.
I would probably say “simple” as I’m trying to show the beauty of everyday things around us that we don’t really see anymore. I would say also “poetic” because this is something that I’m trying to express through my pictures, but I don’t know if I always succeed. And the last word would be “French.” This is not something that I’m really aware of, but one day when I was following a workshop at the ICP school in NYC, one lady said to me “your pictures are ‘so French’” (even if the subject was Coney Island in NYC). So I guess I’m influenced by the French painters and photography masters and in an unconscious way it shows up in my pictures.
3. Browsing your collection of prints, it is difficult for me to pick a favorite, though I have a few that I am quite drawn to. If you had to choose just one, what photograph speaks to you most right now and why?
It’s difficult to choose as I have a dozen favorites in my shop. But right now, I think it’s the giant ice cream sign. I can’t really explain why. I’m just drawn to this one.
I love the pastel colors and the Ice Cream is an icon of childhood. I guess I enjoy the quietness and the soothing effect of this photo.
Fun fairs are great photographic subjects for me but what I really enjoy is going there when the attractions are still, the alleys are empty, the tickets booths closed.
Over the last years, I found myself more and more enjoying photographing very popular and crowded places when they are deserted.
4. You currently reside in Paris, but you’ve also lived in Montreal, Canada and even spent some time in the states in New York City. What area has been the most interesting place to live, in your opinion, and why?
Well with no hesitation I’d say New York City. I don’t think there is another place like this on the planet. New York city is a mini world with such a great diversity of people, architecture, artists, museums, stores, restaurants, parks, musicians, etc. … all fantastic subjects to photograph. Just being there is very inspiring and stimulating. And on a personal level, this is where I gained self-confidence in my work.
5. How do Canada or New York differ from a place like Paris from an artist’s perspective?
The main challenge for me is to photograph Paris, as everything looks really familiar. But I think it’s actually a challenge for everybody else, photographing a subject that you are really close to. Finding the ability to look at subjects you’re familiar with with a fresh eye. Photographing new things that I had never seen before always seemed easier to me.
6. Typography creeps up quite a bit in your work, in your Paris Letters and Typography series for example. This is not something that you see a great deal of photographers gravitate towards, but I love how you have done it. Can you talk a little more about your interest in letters and type and how it has made its way into your work?
In the everyday life, I’m a freelance journalist. I’ve been writing articles for French magazines for more than ten years now. So letters, words, signs, quotes, fonts, typography are a big part of my life. I have to confess that I have kind of an addiction to newspapers and magazines. I can spend hours in front of a news stand or in a book store. So that’s probably the reason why it creeps up in my photos.
7. And lastly, your photographs have been featured on sites such as Real Simple and Decor8, and you’ve recently graced the pages of Australian home and lifestyle online magazine Adore, as well. Where do you see yourself in the next three years with your photographs? What do you hope to have accomplished by then?
I was really, really happy that my typography photos were featured in those professional and stylish home decor medias. And thank you, Brittni, for giving me the opportunity to thank Holly Becker (Real Simple and Decor8) and Loni Parker (Adore Home magazine) again. Interior design is another thing I’m interested in, so it’s great that my photographs can be seen as a part of the design of a room. Making more photos that will be hanging in homes or offices is something that I would love to develop.
And last but not least, there is also one project I hope I would have accomplished by then. When I was living in NYC, I started to experiment creating collages with street photographs. I made a photo book with those pictures for myself but I would love to present those pictures in an exhibition. And maybe later create the same body of work in Paris.
Thank you so much, Anne, for chatting with me!
Please visit Anne’s shop, Magalerie, which means “my gallery” in French, for more fine photography for your home.