"A Stockholm Syndrome" by Amandine Joannes

Mar 12, 2018

Amandine is a French visual artist who creates fascinating narratives that illustrate the mental images that we collect during our lives and how we transform, create and recreate them with no end. Her photographs are explorations of our memories, dreams or even our unconscious mind. As Amandine puts it: "These images are like leftovers of a dream in the morning, they tell stories but you can't remember which one, they are metaphors that you can't understand, and all are mixed together."


Following we present an interesting interview that we had with her:


am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?

AJ -  Thanks for having me! I'm a French visual artist born in 1991 and I currently live and work in Paris. I graduated from "Les Beaux Arts de Paris", studio Patrick Tosani and I am a former exchange student of the photographic department of the "School of Visual Arts" in New York. As a photographer I feel lucky to have evolved, studied and worked in different environments, from catwalks and backstage to jail, mental hospitals and abandoned places. Today I work as a fashion photographer and photo editor in parallel with my artistic practice. I am also involved in the world of psychology working on psychotherapy based on artistic mediation and art therapy.


am - How did you start in photography?

AJ - When I was 13 it was the beginning of the Internet, and I started to discover wonderful images and photographers thanks to it. Seeing all these images and beauty as a teenager saved me from feeling a lack of creativity and a lack of sense. I started to get fascinated by this medium and discovered the magic of analogue photography. I was also visiting lots of photographic exhibitions and got quickly into photo reportage, fashion photography and performances. Then I read "On photography" and "Regarding the pain of others" by Susan Sontag, which particularly marked me at that time.


am - What inspires your work?

AJ - I'm inspired by humans and how they live and evolve with their past and the images from their past, images that stick in our unconscious and our memory. I see my work as a collection of fantasies, images that are both real and surreal, past and future, images that we transform because they are too hard to bear; in other words all kinds of translations of the interior world. I'm inspired by observing the familiar space, the way it constructs itself and the way it deconstructs itself. I feel inspired by the communicating lines between the child and the adult. Melancholy, anguish, sorrow, strangeness and fetishes are parts of my inspiration and search for meaning in my work.


am - What is “A Stockholm Syndrome” about?

AJ - My work tends to describe floating spaces, how we live inside our heads and bodies with our own images like in a parallel world, made of the unconscious, dreams and memories. Those images live in us as latent pictures that we transform, create and recreate with no end. These images are like leftovers of a dream in the morning, they tell stories but you can't remember which one, they are metaphors that you can't understand, and all are mixed together.  The title “A Stockholm Syndrome” translates this kind of sadomasochistic relationship that we maintain with our past and its actors.


am - How would you describe your visual language?

AJ -  I'm a photography obsessive maniac. I like all kind of photography, but I prefer to work in the real life, to let reality come to me, to be physically involved and in search of my subjects in the real life. Very often I follow people and steal moments. I like to work with natural light and to play with the accidents of analogue photography. I work mostly in black and white and with grainy images, but I can also introduce spontaneously some color. Visually I like to loose the notions of space and time, to recreate a feeling of certain strangeness in my pictures. I always conceive my series as a whole, the pictures work together and dialogue with each other. I like repetition and recomposition of pictures and to work with old or found papers to translate this notion of fragility and of construction-deconstruction. The close and precise framing are also very important to me.


am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?

AJ - I could mention hundreds of them, but in photography I will say Diane Arbus, Winogrand, Emmet Gowin, Debbie Fleming Caffery, Daido Moriyama, Roger Ballen, Hellen van Meene and of course Sally Mann. Sandra Vasquez and Henry Darger in drawing; Kiki Smith and Christina Bothwell in sculpture; and Balthus and Georgia O Keefe in painting.


am - What are your main interests as an artist?

AJ - To transcend the verbal language, to sublime ambivalent things, like mixing beauty and violence or melancholia in the same space and look. I'm also very interested in the connection and confrontation of the medium and what it represents. Photography manipulates life and death at the same time.


am - What’s your favourite movie?

AJ - Hard to pick one, but I will say "Persona" by Bergman, and as an autobiographic video/documentary I will say "As I was moving ahead" by Jonas Mekas.


am - What is your favourite photo book?

AJ - Hard again but I will go for "Coney Island - 40 years"  by Harvey Stein.


am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

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