Jan 28, 2019
Violette is a French self-taught photographer who creates compelling visual narratives finding inspiration in painting, photography from the XIX century and the cinema of the 70s. In her evoking images we can find a hint of nostalgia and longing for the past, due to her influences and filmmaking approach towards photography, which at the end results in fine chronicles that summon some great visuals from the past.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
VN - Thank you very much for showcasing my work! I was born in France near Paris. After a literary baccalaureate, I studied history at the Sorbonne University, I also studied by correspondence. Today, I try to live from my passion for photography; so I organize myself in order to professionalize myself and to go beyond my status as a self-taught person.
am - How did you start in photography?
VN - I started my photographic adventure really by chance. I have never been immersed in an artistic environment, the taste for photography came to me thanks to 19th century books; I discovered in particular the melancholic work of Julia Margaret Cameron, the emotion that emerges from her portraits fascinated me for a long time. The practice of photography came later following a convalescence that forced me to stay at home. First of all, I started to photograph insignificant details of everyday life and then very quickly I wanted to adopt a narrative style by telling poetic stories in images.
am - We can see that your work is both nostalgic and romantic, what attracts you about this?
VN - I often compare my photographic approach to that of a filmmaker. Most of the time, before taking a picture, I try to create a common thread, which is why I mainly do series. My inspiration for the cinema of the 70s as well as my love for painting naturally lead me to play with past eras, hence this impression of nostalgia that emerges in some of my photos. Generally speaking, I don't try to create vintage atmospheres because they are trendy. The atmospheres that are found in my photographic work are simply the result of my influences turned mainly towards the past.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
VN - I don't have any favorite photographers, but I do have references like Julia Margaret Cameron, Lady Clementina Hawarden or Francesca Woodman.
More generally in the art world, I feel very close to Camille Claudel's work in the themes she has addressed (the couple and the intimate portrait). I like the way she appropriated sculpture, an activity that was mainly reserved for men in the 19th century. On the other hand, my sensitivity embraces the elegant and delicate work of the Dutch painter Vermeer.
am - If you could travel and stay in a place for one year, where would you choose to go?
VN - I pursue this dream of travelling around the world like many people. I don't think I'll be able to choose because before leaving, you necessarily idealize the destination of your dreams. However, if I had had the opportunity to discover a country from top to bottom, I would have chosen Italy which was for many artists of the past an essential destination in their artistic learning.
am - Do you have any rituals or practices that help you get into the creative zone?
VN - For my film shots, I have developed the habit of making color filters myself with transparent book covers, which sometimes helps me to finalize specific atmospheres.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
VN - One of my favorite films is a French film from the 70s called "Série noire" directed by Alain Corneau.
am - Could you recommend us a photo book?
VN - I recently bought a book that includes the work of the Italian photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin. It is a well-conceived book that traces its photographic journey over 50 years by theme (Venice, Paris, women, Milan..)
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
VN - Thanks again for your support.
All images © Violette Nell