Influence Marketing: Power Posing at the Pitti Circus

A visitor being photographed at Pitti.
A visitor being photographed at Pitti.

There’s a major power shift taking place within the fashion industry right now. Some might say that things are becoming more democratic. Sure, the major brands have always paid close attention to what’s happening on the street. But this usually feeds back to the general public by means of a top-down process; dictated from on-high via the carefully curated looks designers show on runways, before finally going mass-market. 

Yet by bypassing the key players and disseminating street-level fashion innovation direct to the masses by means of social media, Instagram influencers have destabilized the long-established fashion industry power structure. 

Nowhere is this more evident than at Pitti Uomo. Taking place twice a year in Florence, Italy, Pitti is ostensibly a tradeshow for the buying and selling of high-end menswear. Yet due to the flamboyant outfits of many attendees, Pitti has become synonymous with a male sartorial elegance and extravagance that influences how many men around the world dress.

Indeed, the street style trends out on the Pitti piazza each January and June will likely prove to be significantly more influential over the coming years than any of the catwalk shows taking place as part of the official program.

The Pitti Circus

They come lumbering and lurching; strutting and staggering; parading heads-high, or skulking on the fringes. A ministry of silly walks; decked out in even more ridiculous outfits. Here a prancing fawn in day-glo sportswear; there a befuddled aristocrat, wearing the entire contents of his closet all in one go. 

Cigars are lit on approach to the entrance. And a suspicious number of phones receive incoming calls just as their owners reach the awaiting pack of fashion journalists: permitting biceps to be tensed, and expensively tailored sports coats to hang at a flattering angle. 

Some among the procession hold back: waiting until anyone who might deny the circling photographers a clear view of their sartorial handiwork has moved ahead. Only now do they advance: assured that their elaborately accoutered likenesses will be broadcast far and wide. Fleeting glory in the form of a #menswear hashtag.

It’s easy to poke fun at the outrageous vanity of some Pitti visitors, but there’s no denying that many possess real style. And whether the general consensus on the season’s dominant looks is a thumbs up or down, thousands of fashionistas worldwide are avidly following Pitti hashtags or Googling street style photos for pointers as to where trends will likely shift over the coming months.

Who Holds the Power?

Social media stars often belittle photographers, arguing that the latter would have nothing of value to photograph if it wasn’t for the celebrity-draw of influencers; to which photographers invariably respond that influencers would still be nobodies if it wasn’t for their own power as image makers. A more likely explanation of course is that the relationship between photographers and influencers is entirely symbiotic: one needs the other.

In any case, what’s clear is that the importance of both photographers and influencers has increased massively in recent years.

Within a fashion context, that influence is largely distributed in the form of street style photos.

Check #pittiuomo95 on Instagram and your feed will be filled with image after image of men’s street style –  encompassing everything from the smart and subdued to the more creative, outlandish, and even just downright trashy. Notably absent, however, will be much coverage of either the runway shows or even what is theoretically the main purpose of the Pitti tradeshow: over a thousand booths housed inside Florence’s Fortezza da Basso where the world’s most important menswear brands preview the next season’s collections to buyers.

Visitors to Pitti 95 in January 2019
Visitors to Pitti 95 in January 2019

Of course, with the rise of Instagram, street style has gained general importance worldwide. And many of today’s key industry figures have built their careers on little more than rolling up to the right shows in attention-grabbing outfits. Certainly no magazine feature on Paris or New York Fashion Week would be complete without a street style report. 

But do a Google image search for, say, “FW18 shows Paris” and the results will be almost entirely made up of runway photos. Barely a single street style shot in sight. So although street style has markedly grown in influence, the designers exhibiting their creations in the major fashion capitals are currently in no apparent danger of becoming eclipsed by their audience.

Yet at Pitti, it’s the visitors rather than designers who get all the press.

And often in very major, broad-interest publications too.

What Makes Pitti Uomo Special?

Pitti Uomo came into existence primarily as a trade fair, not as a fashion week. So while Pitti’s limited program of runway shows now attracts some very high profile designers (often by invitation), these are a later addition to the Pitti schedule and remain something of a sideshow in relation to the main event. 

A more accurate comparison then would be Paris’s own trade fairs, such as MAN, Who’s Next, and Tranoi: hugely important events in the international fashion calendar.

Indeed, at the close of Pitti Uomo, many buyers and exhibitors move on to the menswear shows in Milan at the weekend, and then go straight to Paris for the round of showroom exhibitions there the following week. 

However, don’t expect to see much in the way of innovative street style from the Paris trade shows. Or indeed any media coverage of them at all outside of the dedicated “rag industry” press.

In this respect Pitti is truly unique. 

Why is that?

It’s likely that a number of factors have contributed to Pitti becoming the colorful #menswear carnival it is now. 

Photos from Pitti are invariably billed by the international press as “Italian street style” – ignoring the fact that over a third of visitors to the event actually come from elsewhere.

Indeed, the dandies strutting around the Fortezza may just as easily originate from Nigeria, the United States, Norway, South Korea – or in fact pretty much anywhere. 

Nonetheless, the habit of milling around in piazzas looking “effortlessly” good is arguably a uniquely Italian cultural trait. What’s more, the venue for Pitti is a former fort offering wide open spaces and a backdrop of ancient ramparts mixed with the clean lines of contemporary architecture: all decidedly ‘grammable’. Thus it’s perhaps unsurprising that this casual peacockery took off at Pitti rather than, say, in the rather less glamorous setting of a dreary south Paris conference center.

When Is “the Street” Not the Street?

Undoubtedly a minority of Pitti-goers are just posers, attention-seekers, and even narcissists with no legitimate professional reason to attend the event. Yet the bulk of eccentrically-dressed Pitti visitors are there for business: promoting their own products, or because they are being paid to promote those of others. 

Many of us may sneer at these “brand ambassadors” for unashamedly selling their souls to corporate capital. And we might not even consider their outfits to be in particularly good taste either. Nonetheless, their weight as “influencers” is undeniable.  

Of course, quite how effective this tactic proves in generating sales for the brands sponsoring them is anybody’s guess.

But by being transmitted across the globe to a receptive audience of menswear enthusiasts, the looks sported by Pitti’s peacocks will prove to be massively influential within men’s fashion over the coming months – perhaps even years. 

Visitors Arriving at Pitti Uomo 94
Visitors Arriving at Pitti Uomo 94.

Not every man will want to don a canary yellow suit with fuchsia pocket square purely because they’ve seen it on Instagram. But if it’s a look that was paraded around Pitti, rest assured that somebody somewhere will emulate it eventually.

Thus the Pitti runways that matter today are not those located in exclusive Renaissance villas around Florence, featuring professional models draped in the creations of officially-invited international designers.

Instead, the real trendsetting action takes place on a para-runway out on the piazza at the Fortezza. One that is arguably no less staged and choreographed than the big budget events, but which derives its superior power as a marketing tool from the apparent credibility of the street. 

At Pitti it’s the influencers and posers who hold the greatest sway.

But just as in any context where the concentration of power has rapidly changed hands, you can be sure that somebody will have identified an opportunity to play the game for profit. 

With all eyes on Pitti, the event presents a potentially lucrative marketing opportunity. For sure, most of those visiting Pitti are just regular people who work in the industry and enjoy clothing as a form of creative expression. But without wishing to sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, in some cases Pitti “street style” is less a genuine and spontaneous indicator of ground-level trends, and more an orchestrated attempt by certain business interests to pull the fashion industry’s strings back in their own direction.

And you, what’s your take on Influence Marketing and on how it impacts the modeling and photography industries? Share your thoughts in comment :).

J. Bramaan

Fashion Photography’s Tempestuous Relationship With the Art World

Do artistic and commercial photography mix well?

Version Française

If we believe the official narrative, art and commercial photography are like oil and water: each utterly repellant to the other. The art world turns up its nose at commercial photography for its anti-intellectualism and superficiality; in turn commercial photographers frequently disdain art photography for what they perceive as self-indulgence, pretentiousness, and incomprehensibility.

And starting out as a photographer, one of the first things you’re expected to do is choose which side you’re on, and then stick to it.

To be sure, any photographer who attempts to traverse the heavily-policed frontiers between art and commerce will likely find the way ahead guarded by industry gatekeepers. And even if you do make it across the border, just try keeping your artistic credentials intact in the fashion world while still paying the rent.

Yes, you may pick up some edgy and prestigious editorial commissions, but don’t be surprised if you’re expected to foot the entire production bill yourself for the “privilege” of appearing in the magazine: just as with a model’s editorial fees, the more respected the publication, the smaller the budget.

Goading aspiring photographers into shooting high-profile but low-paid editorial of this kind is the convenient industry fable that it will lead to lucrative advertising work. In reality though, while being seen as “arty” may bring plenty of kudos in the fashion industry, very rarely does genuine artistic integrity translate into hard cash: this instead goes to the safer choice of more commercial photographers.

Yet those hoping to transition the other way – from commercial photographer to artist – will likely find the route to success even rockier still. Indeed, try introducing yourself as a fashion photographer to a room full of gallerists and curators; you might just as well inform them that you’re carrying the Ebola virus for all the welcome you’re likely to receive.

But are the divisions between the art and commercial photography worlds really so clearly defined and antagonistic? Do the two industries behave like the couple in a Bavarian Weather House, destined to never meet? Or are they more like two sides of the same coin, each essential to the other’s existence?

Photography’s Shifting Relationship With Art

We only need go back a few decades to arrive at a time when no photography was considered art. There was fashion photography, advertising photography, and photojournalism. But “art photography” was an oxymoron: it was all commercial.

Art meant painting and sculpture, not machine-made reproductions of reality.

But with photography by artists such as Andreas Gursky, Richard Prince, and Jeff Wall now hanging in the world’s most important art museums – not to mention fetching millions at auction – clearly the medium’s place in the art world is fully secure today. But do the old divisions between the commercial and artistic spheres persist?

Monochrome to Color

They undoubtedly do to an extent. Yet even as far back as the ‘70s, a few intrepid photographers succeeded in transversing these limits. In the 1960s, if any kind of photography was valued as “artistic” – rather than journalistic or merely technical – such praise was entirely reserved for the “expressive” and elegant qualities of black and white photography. By contrast, color photography was considered common and vulgar: for weddings, foreign cruise brochures, or adverts touting the merits of a new soap powder.

Then came William Eggleston, who filled the Museum of Modern Art with saturated color images of everyday objects such as sauce bottles and lightbulbs. Eggleston and a handful of others saw the radical potential of appropriating techniques from commercial photography and applying them to more artistic pursuits – thus changing forever what could be considered “art” photography.

Romantic to Realist

At around the same time, Nan Goldin began documenting her own life, and that of her circle of friends, in Manhattan’s New Wave and LGBT+ scenes. Goldin became an icon of art photography largely on account of her honest confessional portrayal of turbulent lives – particularly her own – touched by domestic violence, addiction, and AIDS.

Interestingly, though, it was fashion photography that had inspired Goldin to pick up a camera in the first place. Of course, the images she produced in the late ’70s and early ‘80s were very far removed from anything that would have been classed as fashion photography at the time: raw, impulsive, and often graphic in content, Goldin’s work made an aesthetic of being anti-aesthetic.

Glossy and Stylized

Meanwhile, art director and graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude was transitioning to a highly successful career as a fashion and commercial photographer. What made Goude’s photographic work so original is the way he incorporated into it many of the skills and techniques he’d acquired in his earlier career as a commercial artist. As case in point, today Goude is most particularly remembered for the striking, ultra-stylized album covers he produced at the cusp of the 1980s for his romantic partner at the time, Grace Jones. Through Goude’s lens, Jones became a chiseled and androgynous superhero.

Goude was no doubt a very capable “straight” photographer and drew on his background in art direction to create elaborate studio sets on which he’d shoot his subjects in fantastic scenarios. Yet arguably the most groundbreaking part of Goude’s photographic process took place after the photos came back from the lab: now he would cut and paste, paint and draw; elongate the models’ limbs, airbrush their faces; turning them into larger-than-life stylized perfection. And all this by hand, at a time when technology such as Photoshop was barely even conceivable – let alone actually available.

Raw and Unforgiving

Goude’s approach to fashion photography would prove to be massively influential throughout the ‘80s – a decade distinguished by an excessive striving for perfection, often to the point of artifice and caricature. It’s perhaps not coincidental, then, that in reaction to the high polish of the commercial world at the time, certain art photographers instead began experimenting with techniques borrowed from “low-brow” vernacular photography.

Previously, the harsh “slap” of a camera-mounted strobe was a look you’d most expect to see on a snapshot of a small-town mayor opening a new supermarket. Or a tabloid photo depicting the scene of a crime. Such a crude method had no place in art photography. But just as Eggleston and others had done with color photography in the 1970s – and perhaps also taking their lead from Nan Goldin’s earlier abrasive approach – now photographers such as Paul Graham and Martin Parr began using flash in their “serious” documentary work, turning this frank and unflattering technique into an acceptable tool in the photographic artist’s arsenal.

Credit:  Evolution Atlanta via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/evolutionforever/
Nineties fashion photography was strongly influenced by the underground rave scene.

Anti-Fashion is On-trend

Funnily enough though, in the ‘90s this look was to cross back over to the commercial world once again, as a new breed of fashion photographer reacted against the padded-shoulder perfectionism peddled by the glossy fashion publications of the previous decade. Closely tied to the UK’s burgeoning DIY rave scene and the popularity of Grunge, in the early ‘90s a more spontaneous, grimy, and unpretentious style of fashion photography was to emerge in the pages of London style magazines i-D and The Face.

The airbrushed ‘80s were replaced with “heroin chic,” and photographers who in another decade might never have contemplated a career in the fashion industry began shooting a rough and ready documentary-fashion hybrid that harnessed the energy of the UK’s underground party scene. This was a school of fashion photography that rejected the stylized perfection of Goude’s decade, and instead sought grittier inspiration in the documentary photography of Graham, Parr, Larry Clark, and particularly in the loosely composed confessional works of Nan Goldin.

Time’s Up! Environmental Organization via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/txup/
Nan Goldin’s raw documentary influence could be seen throughout the ‘90s and even today.

Outsiders Are the Establishment

Renewed interest in Goldin’s work during this time saw her career as an artist flourish. And ironically the anti-fashion style she’d pioneered in the ‘70s now became the fashion industry’s default look, with Goldin herself commissioned to produce some major campaigns.

Meanwhile, Goldin’s spiritual offspring also rose to the top of the fashion industry and even transcended it. For example, Juergen Teller shot fresh and exciting campaigns for brands such as Jigsaw and Marc Jacobs, before deciding he wanted to become a serious artist and promptly taking off all his clothes (because, you know, that’s just what artists do, right?). And Wolfgang Tillmans started the decade shooting off-beat fashion images for i-D and Interview, and ended it as a recipient of the highly prestigious Turner art prize.

However, perhaps the most obvious inheritor of Goldin’s diaristic approach was Corinne Day, a photographer who rose to fame in the early ‘90s photographing a very young Kate Moss for The Face. Superficially at least, Day’s photos may appear random and unconsidered. However, she actually possessed a very strong eye for aesthetics, and when her book Diary was published at the end of the decade, its tilted, angular, faux-accidental compositions influenced an entire generation of self-referential snapshot-shooting wannabes.

As a former model herself, Day was to a certain extent a fashion industry insider. And much of the appeal of her photos no doubt stems from the fact that she documented the hedonistic lifestyle of her model friends – albeit usually in rather grotty and insalubrious surroundings. However, Day’s photos acquired a greater poignancy when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the treatment of which she subsequently documented in harrowing honesty.

Although Day started out by shaking up fashion photography with radically “wrong” compositions and scummy subject matter, by the time of her death a few years ago she had transformed into a “regular” fashion photographer, producing straight up studio shots for Vogue.

From Style to Substance

Overlapping with Day’s arc to becoming fashion royalty – but traveling in the totally opposite direction – current art world darling Taryn Simon instead began life as a commercial photographer, shooting for Vogue and producing campaigns for Chloe, Cesare Paciotti, and other designers while still in her mid-20s. True, Simon always had a more edgy look than the average Vogue photographer. Nonetheless, her early fashion work was a far cry from the more cerebral, well-researched photographic projects that have since brought her so much success in the “serious” art world.

Interestingly though, in order to establish herself as an artist, Simon effectively had to erase all reference to her commercial past.

Of course, with contributors to internet fashion forums periodically digging up old campaigns and editorial shoots from the analog days, it was only a matter of time before Simon’s previous photographic incarnation would resurface. But with her status as an art world heavyweight now so firmly established, at this point, such revelations are unlikely to cause her career any damage.

Adding Substance to Style

Simon’s early work was clearly influenced by the photography of Philip Lorca diCorcia. In the late ‘70s Lorca diCorcia had begun using studio lighting techniques learned from advertising and fashion photography, but instead taking his strobes out on location to photograph “real” people rather than professional models. As the influence of the grungy post-Goldin school of photography waned toward the end of the ‘90s, the more technically accomplished and highly cinematic work of Lorca diCorcia had its moment in the limelight.

Interestingly though, despite enjoying art-world superstardom with shows at MoMA and other prestigious venues, Lorca diCorcia now also took on commissions from publications such as W Magazine to shoot fashion stories – once again closing the loop between the art and commercial photography worlds.

Battlefield to Runway

More recently, Magnum documentary photographer Paolo Pellegrin has produced several campaigns for Fred Perry. He is nonetheless a well-respected photojournalist who has major gallery and museum exhibitions dedicated to his work.

Above all though, this gritty combat photographer seems like an extremely unlikely candidate for shooting polo shirts.

Even more so when we consider that, stylistically, the bright, clean images he’s shot for Fred Perry are about as far removed from war photography as you could possibly imagine. Quite why the brand chose to work with this hardened combat photographer – only to then ask him to shoot images that could have been created by countless fashion photographers – is anybody’s guess. Nonetheless, it shows that the divisions between photographic genres may not be as firmly entrenched as they once were.

Final Thoughts

The commercial world has always drawn on the art world for inspiration.

But it’s much less acknowledged that the reverse is also true: because artists on the cutting edge are always looking for some way to overturn the values of the previous generation and expand what is meant by the word “art” itself, those working with photography frequently also pillage the commercial world in search of “taboo” ideas.

What’s more, the once rigid barriers between the spheres of commercial and art photography have become much less of an obstacle than they were even just a few years ago.

One photographer who effortlessly moves between the worlds of art and fashion today is Viviane Sassen. Encompassing portraiture, fashion, and some unusual still-life/landscape hybrids, Sassen’s colorful and graphic compositions have been highly influential in both the fashion and art camps in recent years. However, rather than starting out on one side of the divide and then abandoning it for the other, Sassen appears totally comfortable straddling this diverse terrain; producing exhibitions and books of her personal work while also regularly shooting fashion editorial and campaigns. Her work is focused and shows no sign of schizophrenia, and this fluid attitude to photography doesn’t appear to have damaged her career in any noticeable way either.

Nonetheless, it’s worth going back to consider the case of Taryn Simon: in order to re-establish her career in the artistic realm,  Simon had to carefully reinvent herself by obscuring her past. This can likely be taken as a sign that there still remains considerable art industry prejudice against photographers “tainted” by association with the commercial world – especially if they wish to position themselves on a more intellectual level. Even today, a photographer attempting to shift from a commercial career to exhibiting in galleries and museums will likely encounter numerous hurdles blocking their access to the more elite echelons of the art industry.

The relationship between art and commercial photography remains tense, suspicious, antagonistic even, but nonetheless highly symbiotic, and the frontier between the two sectors is likely more porous than ever before. However, while there is certainly more opportunity to walk the thin line between art and commercial photography than 40 years ago, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a photographer hoping to combine the two disciplines will find the path an easy one to navigate.

Let us know your thoughts on this topic by commenting below!

Patrick Demarchelier, a timeless imagery…


“Get me Demarchelier!” …

It is Miranda Priestly, aka Meryl Streep, who asks for Demarchelier in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. No mistake, Patrick Demarchelier is in fashion what Romanée Conti is in Burgundy. Un Grand Cru. The best of the best, a master. He was Princess Diana’s personal photographer for years, thus becoming the first Non-British photographer who snaps the Royal family. Today he is considered as one of the most influential and best paid photographers of the fashion world.

Pirelli Calendar by Demarchelier
Pirelli Calendar by Demarchelier

Demarchelier photographed the All-Paris, the Hollywood planet, the crowned heads … in short, the dream of every photographer was incarnated in him. Major brands such as Calvin Klein, Chanel, Versace appealed to him … But who is Patrick Demarchelier? What are the secrets of his shots?

Demarchelier… Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington…

Demarchelier has worked with Vogue since 1974, when he moved to New York. At the time, working for American Vogue was a baptism. He has credited Grace Coddington, one of the most influential women in the fashion world, for launching his career as his journey at Vogue began under her guidance. His cover of the first Vogue China revived his career in the Middle Kingdom. In 2013, he authored an important photograph of the Dior Couture album covering the MOCA museum in Shanghai for the “Esprit Dior” exhibition.

Between the Pirelli calendar, the Elton John and Madonna album covers, exhibitions, his friendship with Anna Wintour style icon, James Bond posters and the Lucie Award, Demarchelier is omnipresent in the world of fashion.

Pirelli Calendar

Fashion photographer at only 20 years old

The photographer was born in Le Havre, Normandy, in 1943. He was offered his first camera at age 17 and began photographing weddings. It is after having assisted the photographer Hand Feurer that he became a fashion photographer. His first photos appeared in magazines Elle and Marie Claire in the early 1970s.

He had an untrammeled career and his success knows no bounds.

Demarchelier displays the “French touch”, he owes his success to a perfect classicism: the clean lines of his models give his shots the ideal of rational perfection.

There is very little madness in Demarchelier’s photography.

The picture is studied: the perspectives are erased, even non-existent. What really matters is the model. Almost without staging. In fact, the only staging resides in the look of the model. His models say a lot just by expression.

Demarchelier is not a photographer who breaks the codes, hence his timeless success. Apart from some “Newtonian” shots, his photographs do not convey any message. They are deprived of any social or political considerations.

The ideology of Demarchelier is to emphasize personality.

And Princess Diana had understood very well that Demarchelier knew how to capture spontaneity, that he was going to understand her. Nothing is fixed in Demarchelier’s photographs, and yet the model is not in motion. The chosen moment simply reveals a state of mind. As a psychologist, the photographer is the heir of the French masters of painting and sculpture. Rodin to start. And the French portraitists. Cezanne, Bonnard, Degas … like these painters, he loves the female nude and gives his models an authenticity that is both simple and remarkable.

Fashion Museum

If the images of Demarchelier are works of art, they surely deserve their place in a museum. An exhibition was dedicated to him from September 27, 2008, to January 4, 2009, at the Petit Palais, where more than 400 of his photographs were exhibited.

It goes without saying that the artist has entered the history of fashion. His work, which has not given way to glitz and glamour, is part of the history of photography, above all because of the sobriety of its scenography.

His major works remain his book of photos, Dior Couture, published by Rizzoli. To compose this book, the artist has taken 150 outfits from the history of the fashion house throughout the world. Seventy-two models and one hundred and fifty models selected from the archives of the house embarked on a blockbuster: from Beijing film studios to the Rodin Museum, Times Square – with models in Plexiglas boxes, like giant dolls – to Opera Garnier.

Portrait of Patrick Demarchelier

And you, tell us about your favorite master piece from Demarchelier in comment!

Thierry Azzopardi

Lea T, supermodel and much more

It is no coincidence that Lea T starred in the Givenchy ad campaign featuring transgender models in 2010 and that since then, she keeps appearing on the brand’s runway…

Black and White duo portrait of Lea T.

But why should we especially care?

Because she is the first transgender supermodel to make a career, a real first in the history of fashion, but also in the chronology of the progress of society. The fashion world is changing dramatically. And after Andrej Pejic’s sex change, we can say that fashion has gone beyond gender biases.

Lea T, a great career despite a tough life…

Lea T. was born under the name of Leandro Cerezo. She was born in 1981 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and grew up in a wealthy, Catholic family. A difficult environment for this young man who dreams of having beautiful breasts and high heels.

As a child, she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. Nothing predestined Lea to a career in fashion but rather she seemed destined to a life in sport, with a father who was in football, officiating at international level.

Luckily, Toninho Cerezo, her father won a contract in an Italian football team and took his family with him. It is from this moment that Lea began to assert herself although she did not know yet whether she prefered men or women, she explains ” not having a defined sexuality or a precise direction to follow”.

The birth of Lea

Leandro, or Leo as she was called then, eventually became Lea. The instigation of this transformation? Certainly, one strong influence was Riccardo Tisci, who was the director of the Givenchy collection at the time, who encouraged her to feel like a woman and to dress accordingly. He made her wear Drag Queen shoes and advised her to dye her eyebrows. Moreover, the letter T which accompanies her first name is a reference to Tisci. She then continued with hormonal treatment. After posing for the Italian Vanity Fair, she appeared naked in the August edition of the French edition of Vogue. The left hand covering her male genitalia.

The hardship behind determination

But this path was not easy for Lea T who appeared at that moment very lucid and somewhat pessimistic: ” I cannot allow myself the luxury of being in love, we transsexuals are born and grow up alone. After the operation we are born again, but once again alone. And we die alone. It is the price we pay. “she confided.

Although her father had difficulty in accepting her transformation, her family did not reject her and always supported her in her career. The 29-year-old, already applauded on the Milanese or Parisian podium, is now considered the first transsexual supermodel. A few years later, Lea revealed to the world the story of her transformation and now works to help other models who want to assert their difference.

“Life’s what you make of it”…

In November 2014, she became the face of the American brand Redken, which belongs to L’Oréal, joining Sky Ferreira and Chiara Ferragni in the ranks of the muses of the firm.

Shortly before, she appeared kissing Kate Moss on the sultry cover of Love Magazine.

Lea T kissing Kate Moss

The secret of Lea T is also knowing how to take risks by displaying her difference for those who have suffered like her.

In 2017, Lea T spoke on Brazilian television alongside her father to discuss her difficult story.

A supermodel on the rise

Recently we could see her in the campaign “Nike be true” which celebrates the LGBTQ community, using colors and symbols of the community, and specifically around the lavender hue and the pink triangle, combined with the colors of the rainbow.

Besides fashion, the model is now a spokesperson for diversity, within fashion, helping young people who suffer from their differences…

In her last interview, Lea T said, “I never wanted to be a woman: I’m transsexual,” adding, “Life’s what you make it …”

Recently, in an interview with a Brazilian newspaper, Lea T claimed to have met an alien and dated a famous actor without revealing his name. Decidedly, Lea T will always remain an alien in the world of fashion and will do everything to remain forever.

She’s a real inspiration for the people looking at using their uniqueness to change the status quo. Let us know in the comments which models inspire you the most!

By EVW

Ellen Von Unwerth, Photographer and Model

“I also shoot men, but my work is more about women. Men are more like accessories…. (laughs).”

Ellen Von Unwerth is the proof that fashion photography is not the prerogative of men. Her pictures lose nothing in comparison to those of her male fellows. Indeed, this former German model-turned-photographer, offers a strong and innovative insight onto fashion. While some might have feared that a woman would look too softly at other women, this is a prejudice that the one we call Von has simply swept away.

By EVW
By EVW

Her work can be qualified as playful, sexy, provocative or even disturbing. Von was the first to photograph Claudia Schiffer and to win the first prize at the “International Fashion Photography Festival” in 1991. Her photographs of Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moss, Rihanna, among others, toured the world. Her work appears, among others, in prestigious magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair. She has also been working on advertising campaigns for major brands such as Guess, Chanel or Diesel. Her work has been presented in the Archeology of Elegance in 2002 and the Fashioning Fiction organized by the MoMA PS1 in 2004. Her photo novella Revenge was accompanied by exhibitions in the major capitals cities.

Capturing life in motion

“I always love movement and story telling, even in pictures.” 

Her secret certainly resides in the motion. We find in her photographs a certain kinetic energy that gives life to her models. She started taking pictures of her model friends by letting them choose their poses but then decided to impose an aesthetic where modesty had no place. As Vanessa Paradis confided, posing with Von is a very funny exercise: you enter the artist’s world and let yourself go to her eccentricities because you feel that she is a real artist. Von Unwerth explores feminine fantasies that are familiar to her and does not bother with principles. Her models take undisguised pleasure in drinking, smoking, eating, etc. The spontaneity of her images and the reflection of happiness displayed by her models will not go unnoticed by the photo connoisseur. This is clearly reflected in the photograph in which three very beautiful blondes bite the same candy apple. But in reality, the models do not really eat, drink, or smoke – they are just pretending to. What is important is this gap between the activity proposed and the body –  the gaze is elsewhere. One can tell the double life of the woman photographed: Vanessa Paradis reading a magazine but looking elsewhere, displaying a desire of which only her knows the secret. Objects of desire, but also actress of the desire she provokes. Or David Bowie and Kate Moss posing lasciviously, while the smile and look of Bowie are not directed towards her. Dioni Tabbers who drinks milk but who is thinking of something else. Von is having fun with the concept of virility. (See her book “Fraulein” devoted to female sexuality.)

A female photograph?

Von was able to stand out by empowering her models who always seem to be in control of their desires. Photographs which, although being deprived of any modesty, do not oppress women. Although represented as objects of desire, their looks remain powerful and never objectified or degraded. They are not mere objects of pleasure, but on the contrary, they take an active part in the celebration- they are the detonators of pleasure.

Ellen Von Unwerth was able to break the codes of fashion photography and encourage women to play with men’s desire. Like in this picture where a woman poses in a sultry way in the middle of the road while a truck driver is taking her picture. Men always seem a little silly in Von Unwerth photography. Women can easily turn men’s head and she knows it.

The German photographer loves pin-up poses, without ignoring the power that these photographs can have on the male spectator. She loves to play with this fake naivety. Indeed, we often see the models with a lollipop or a finger between the lips. Images that awaken desire and which Von enjoys. Her series Revenge, for example, has become a classic of its kind. Ellen Von Unwerth explores her imagination using black and white shots that creates a sadomasochistic story and celebrate femininity. The glaze of her models are studied with great mastery.

The women are taking their revenge, and Von is having fun with it. Moreover, in all the photographs that the paparazzi have taken from the German photographer, Von is always showing a tremendous smile.

Ellen Von Unwerth
Ellen Von Unwerth

She admits it herself: It was because photography amused her that the she abandoned the glamorous world of the fashion shows to get behind the lens. And this, for our greatest pleasure.

Ellen Von Unwerth, photographe et mannequin…

« Mon univers est un monde de femmes avec comme accessoires … des hommes (rires) » …

English version

Ellen Von Unwerth est la preuve que la photographie de mode n’est pas l’apanage des hommes. Ses photos n’ont rien à envier aux maîtres masculins car, cette ancienne modèle allemande devenue photographe, offre un regard fort et novateur sur la mode. Alors que certains auraient pu craindre qu’une femme pose un regard trop tendre sur les autres femmes, voilà un préjugé que celle qu’on prénomme Von a tout simplement balayé.

Ces clichés sont parfois troublants, sexy, provocateurs voir même dérangeants. Von a été la première à photographier Claudia Schiffer et à avoir remporté le premier prix au « Festival international de la photographie de mode » en 1991. Ses photographies de Vanessa Paradis, de Kate Moss, de Rihanna, entre autres, ont fait le tour du monde. Son travail apparaît dans des magazines prestigieux comme Vogue et Vanity Fair. Elle a également assuré les campagnes publicitaires de grandes marques telles que Guess, Chanel ou Diesel. Son œuvre a été présentée dans Archaeologye of Elegance en 2002 et au Fashioning Fiction organisé par le MoMA PS1en 2004. Son roman photo Revenge s’est accompagné d’expositions dans les plus grandes capitales.

Photos cinétiques…

« J’aime saisir et capturer la personne en mouvement tout en racontant une histoire. »

Son secret réside certainement dans le mouvement. Il y a dans ses photographies une mise en scène cinétique qui donne vie à ses modèles. Elle a commencé à prendre des photos de ses amies mannequins en leur laissant choisir leur pose puis a décidé d’imposer une esthétique où la pudeur n’a pas sa place.

Comme le confiait Vanessa Paradis, poser avec Von est un exercice très amusant : on entre dans l’univers de l’artiste et on se laisse aller à ses excentricités car on sent que c’est une véritable artiste. Von Unwerth explore des fantasmes féminins qui lui sont familiers et ne s’embarrasse pas de principes. Ses modèles prennent un plaisir non dissimulé à boire, fumer, manger, etc.

La spontanéité de ses images et le reflet du bonheur qu’on ses modèles n’échapperont pas à l’amateur de photo d’art. En témoigne cette photographie sur laquelle trois très belles blondes croquent ensemble la même pomme d’amour. Erreur finalement car les modèles ne mangent pas, ne boivent, de fument pas vraiment chez Von Unwerth – elles font semblant. L’essentiel est ce décalage entre l’activité proposée et le corps, les regards qui partent ailleurs.

Von raconte la double vie de ses modèles : Vanessa Paradis lisant un magazine mais regardant ailleurs, affichant un désir dont elle seule détient le secret. Objet de désir, mais aussi actrice du désir qu’elle provoque.  Ou bien David Bowie et Kate Moss qui pose lascivement, alors que le sourire et le regard de Bowie ne sont pas posés sur Kate. Dioni Tabbers qui boit du lait mais pense résolument à autre chose. Et Von s’amuse de ses clins d’œil qu’on croyait liés à la virilité. (Voir son livre « Fraulein » consacrée à la sexualité féminine)

Eva Herzigova

Une photographie féminine ?

Von a su se démarquer en donnant du pouvoir à ses modèles qui semblent toujours être maîtresses de leurs désirs.  Des clichés qui, bien qu’ils soient dénués de toute pudeur, n’accable pas les femmes pour autant. Bien que représentées comme des objets de désir, leurs regards restent puissants et jamais avilis. Elles ne sont pas de simples objets de plaisir, mais au contraire, elles participent à la fête- elles sont des détonateurs de volupté. Ellen Von Unwerth a su casser les codes de la photographie de mode et a amené la femme à s’amuser du désir des hommes. En témoigne ce cliché d’une superbe féline qui traverse la route avec un routier qui la prend bêtement en photo du haut de son camion.  

Les hommes sont toujours un peu bêtes chez Von Unwerth. On leur fait facilement tourner la tête. Et elle le sait. Elle confie dans une interview :

“Mon univers est un monde de femmes avec comme accessoires … des hommes (rires) “…

La photographe allemande adore donner à ses modèles des poses de pin up un peu idiotes sans ignorer le pouvoir que ces clichés peuvent avoir sur la gent masculine. Von aime les ingénues, car, bien entendu, elles trompent leur monde. Souvent ses modèles ont une sucette ou un doigt entre les lèvres. Un spectacle qui éveille le désir et dont Von se régale.

Sa série Revenge, par exemple est devenue un classique du genre. Ellen Von Unwerth explore ici son imaginaire avec des photos en noir et blanc qui nous transportent dans un univers mêlant fétichisme et féminité. Les regards croisés de ses modèles sont étudiés avec une grande maîtrise. Les femmes prennent leur revanche, et Von s’en amuse follement.

D’ailleurs, sur les photos que les paparazzi ont pu prendre de la photographe allemande, on la voit toujours arborer un sourire éclatant.

Ellen Von Unwerth

Elle l’avoue elle-même. C’est parce que la photographie l’amusait que le modèle a abandonné l’univers glamour des défilés de mode pour passer derrière l’objectif. Et cela, pour notre plus grand plaisir.

Portrait of Flora Mathieu

Are You Photogenic?

Being photogenic is the ability to figure well in photographs.

French version

Indeed some people with ordinary faces appear as more beautiful on a cliché. The opposite is also true. Some beautiful people lose their beauty in front of the lens.

Being photogenic is the ability to figure well in photographs. Indeed, some people with an “ordinary” face appear as more beautiful in a picture. And the opposite is also true as some really beautiful people tend to lose their beauty in front of the lens.

What makes someone photogenic?

First, in order to define what makes someone photogenic, it is important to return to the notion of beauty.

Beauty is “the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at” without any semantic link with aesthetics. It is the quality of what is beautiful, of what is aesthetic, what approaches perfection. It is synonymous with delight and extreme rapture. It can refer to a man, an object or a landscape.

For photographers, photogenics is an important factor as a photogenic model will facilitate his work. A face that reflects the light, a good bone structure will add value to the image.

The eye of the photographer

The photographer should know how to perceive and use light. His eye is naturally attracted by the brilliance of a beauty according to his own sense of culture, taste and personality. A photogenic face can challenge you, just as a situation may reveal a subject.

The eye of the photographer is capable of highlighting the beauty of a face, a body.

You must quickly observe the model to find out what is the best angle.

And If you have a photogenic model who looks good from several angles, your work will then be easier! A photogenic face can also give you inspiration.

A creative encounter

Feeling at ease will help generating beautiful ideas, especially if the photographer’s imagination is stimulated. The opposite is also possible, you can photograph a “photogenic” model and not be stimulated because this very aesthetic face does not move you. You will have “beautiful” shots that do not reflect your work.

It is for this reason that photogenicity and beauty are subjective. Some photographers prefer the “atypical” beauties to the “classic” beauties preferred by others.

It is important to emphasize that a photogenic face can tend towards the non-photogenic if it is badly handled. A person can have photogenic qualities and get a disappointing picture if “the trigger” did not happen. I mean by “the trigger”, a successful communication between the model and the photographer (see previous article).

Ethics…

According to François Cheng ” Why speak of beauty if not to attempt to restore man to his best self?”

The writer explains that aesthetics can only achieve its true depths by letting itself be subverted by ethics. It is this ethics that brings us back to the relationship between beings, to the relationship in photography between the photographer and his model.

By Flora Mathieu

Flora Mathieu smoking a cigarette by Gilad Sasporta

Le Rapport entre le Photographe et son Modèle

Je suis photographe et jeune réalisatrice.

English version

Mais, j’ai précédemment été mannequin et comédienne. Grâce à ces expériences combinées, mon rapport à l’image a évolué au cours de ces dernières années.

Mes débuts en tant que mannequin

Lorsque j’ai commencé à poser devant l’objectif, je ressentais une grosse pression… Pour moi, il était de mon devoir de faire des propositions de pose.

Je me sentais responsable de la réussite du shoot.

C’est seulement après plusieurs shoots que j’ai réalisé que la mode était vraiment une industrie.

Une industrie dans le sens où bien que la photographie relève du domaine de l’artistique, avec l’expérience, notre corps acquiert des automatismes de poses.

Au fil des shoots, les mouvements du corps se rapprochent d’une chorégraphie.
Le corps bouge au rythme du déclencheur, à la vitesse des flashs synchronisés…

Une rencontre, un déclic

Un jour, j’ai eu la chance de faire une rencontre décisive qui a transformée ma façon de voir les choses. Ce déclic, je l’ai eu en découvrant l’univers de Gilad Sasporta, photographe talentueux pour lequel j’ai posé.
J’ai commencé à prendre la pose, comme à mon habitude. Mais à un moment donné et contre toute attente, Gilad m’a “bousculée” en me demandant de casser cette image froide quelque peu fermée que j’avais de la mode. Une première pour moi, car ce n’était pas vraiment l’attitude que l’on me demandait d’avoir d’habitude.

En effet, j’appartenais à cette catégorie dites des « gueules », qui par ailleurs fonctionne bien dans le secteur de la mode éditoriale. En d’autres termes, j’avais une image très genrée, dans le cliché Dark, donnant une attitude quelque peu inaccessible. Pour moi, j’étais cantonnée à cette allure et à cet univers.

S’approprier son image et défier les standards

Cette image, malgré certains reproches, appelle à une certaine fascination dans l’univers de la mode. J’ai aussi compris ce jour là que la mode était faite pour vendre du désir.
Avant de réaliser tout ça, j’avais une relation compliquée avec mon rôle de mannequin. Il est parfois difficile en tant que modèle de vendre et de jouer avec son corps devant un étranger et un appareil photo.
Mais finalement, une fois que vous comprenez que tout ceci n’est rien d’autre qu’un exercice, une performance artistique, tout devient plus simple.

Chaque physique et visage, développe un travail personnel, propre à son image. Moi, j’avais un visage dure et froid. Gilad m’a appris à ouvrir mon visage et à changer mon attitude face à l’objectif.
J’ai alors réalisé que plutôt que de rester dans ce style fermé, je devais au contraire travailler sur l’ouverture de mon regard et de ma personnalité.
Devenir plus accessible, donner une certaine joie, contre-balancer la froideur de
l’architecture de mon visage par un positivisme moral. Ajouter un sourire dans les yeux, décrisper la mâchoire… Jouer d’une multitude de subtilités pour créer des visuels plus profonds et captivants.

La subtilité d’un regard

Le problème, c’est que je n’y arrivais pas ! J’ai donc demandé à faire une pause et je suis sortie pour fumer. A peine avais-je entammé ma cigarette que Gilad m’a interpellée et me disant « Je veux ce regard ! ».
Là, j’ai compris que tout résidait dans la détente et la relaxation du regard. La photo fige, on attend un résultat de vous. Ainsi, le mannequin a tendance à arrêter son regard, alors que dans la vie de tous les jours celui-ci s’ouvre d’une manière différente à chaque instant. C’est alors que j’ai découvert l’essence et le secret de la subtilité d’un regard.

Flora Mathieu smoking her cigarette by Gilad Sasporta
Flora Mathieu by Gilad Sasporta

L’échange entre le modèle et le photographe

Le photographe donne des directions, le modèle doit les comprendre, les trouver
au fond de lui puis faire des propositions.
Mais le modèle seul ne se rend pas forcément compte de son regard. Il a besoin d’un
oeil extérieur pour comprendre où il doit travailler. Si la direction du photographe est bien établie cela se ressent dans la photographie. La direction du modèle est un art et un pilier du métier de photographe.

Fascinée par cette dynamique entre le modèle et le photographe, j’ai décidé de passer derrière l’objectif. Ma passion est celle de capturer des regards et des personnalités plutôt que de jouer de mon image.

La perspective de photographe

Flora Mathieu
Flora Mathieu by Gilad Sasporta

J’ai compris l’ampleur de cette pensée autour du regard depuis que je suis passée derrière l’objectif.
Quand je shootais des modèles, elles avaient beau être sublimes, si je ne les dirigeais pas bien cela se ressentait sur la photographie.

En outre, il est nécessaire d’observer le modèle, comprendre d’où il prend le mieux la lumière et quels profils et axes sont les plus avantageux pour lui.
Dans une collaboration pour un shoot, une rencontre a lieu et deux personnalités coopèrent ensemble.

Le rôle du photographe est celui d’être l’oeil extérieur qui va révéler le modèle.

Un échange au-delà des apparences

Il va sans dire mais la personnalité du sujet est très importante également. C’est elle qui va inspirer le photographe et donner de la profondeur aux visuels.

Pour moi, la photographie est un carrefour entre instants, direction du photographe et
personnalité du modèle. C’est une quête infinie au cours de laquelle chaque rencontre permet de grandir et de se remettre en question.

Et vous, quelle(s) rencontre(s) vous ont le plus fait grandir?

Partagez votre expérience avec nous en commentaire ou par email à info@elytiz.com .

Flora Mathieu

A portrait of Marine by Samatha Martinez

The Passion for photography

Lien vers la version française

Let’s start with the beginning.

Why choose photography?

Why not actually.

Photography is like any art, a way to express oneself for those who want to speak out, who want to be heard, to be read, but for whom, talking is not enough.

We are today in 2018, in a digital age, an era of the image. Pictures speak to everyone. Quite simply it speaks to the ones who do not know how to correctly read as to the ones who no longer want to “waste their time” reading. It also speaks to those who do not yet know the whole story of the making of an image.

It is a medium that is also easy to access, in this digital age. As a matter of fact, it is like painting, drawing or other arts that, to be seen by many, must also be digitized.

So why to choose photography as a career?

If you want to get a message to a wide audience, it seems that it remains one of the fastest and most effective ways to transmit information.

This is done via the internet or via smartphones, everyone, or almost everyone, has access to it. Almost everyone constantly creates and consults new images, especially on social networks, to talk about something or simply to share an event, a landscape or even personal photographs of family and friends.

Louise's foot in a black and white picture by Samantha Martinez

Making a living out of photographyLouise by Samantha Martinez

Making a living out of photography

So why ? Why is it so hard to live as a photographer today?

Why is it so complex to make a living as a photographer while everyone on Earth loves and needs images to various extents?

All companies and/or brands, from any field, need images to make themselves known or to sell their products. Just as we, consumers, need those images for our purchases from or to get acquainted with an existing brand.

To Choose

Reading a description is not enough anymore, we have to see what we want to buy before making the purchase. That’s just the way it is. A question of safety first and foremost, but also to have the choice because it is now possible to have it. The choice to react and agree on what we want to get if it fits with our aesthetic selection criteria.

To Explore

On a more personal note, we also need images to travel, to visit the world through the eyes of other people or to keep abreast of the news because the information remains more anchored when we see it.

Or even more simply, for the sake of art in general, the love of creation, the love of novelty, beauty, and ugliness, for all those who in whatever way want to satisfy their needs.

To Create

Artistic picture by Samantha Martinez
By Samantha Martinez

But now, since art is part of the economy of the world, it is necessary for an artist, to fight to assert his rights, to get to live. Also ever since photography became accessible to a large majority, in this digital era. The market has been devalued, and it has been quite a long battle. In addition to this era of mass consumption and overproduction, some photographers have decided not to make it their main job because everyone cannot or is not ready to pay for quality. It’s a tough reality.

It is not said that it is impossible to become a professional and accomplished photographer. It is simply said that this job is not the same as it was twenty or thirty years ago. Today, if the photographer wants to live from his/her passion, he/she must also be a good technician more than an artist, a worker more than a craftsman. He must also become a fine retoucher.

To Fight

Today, there is such a need for mass production of images that in order to earn a living, you have to be ready to produce more and more every day… Especially in the e-commerce, as it is an expanding area. You have to be ready to produce countless images, to charge monthly fixed prices to stay in the market and to let go of your artistic principles because it is not what you are hired for anymore. Your artistic touch has a lesser scope than the product. Well, that’s a shame …

To Win

Admittedly, it is a bit of a generality to say this because there still remain some brands or agencies which believe that it is the difference in style, the adopted perspective and therefore the quality of the image that overrides quantity. Here is the work of art direction. And let’s not forget that before being a marketing tool, above all photography is an art above all!

A DAY IN A LIFE
A DAY IN A LIFE by Samantha Martinez

To Endure

And that’s what I personally enjoy about being a photographer. I like this way of seeing things and of valuing art and quality over quantity. I like people who see photographers as artists, not content producers. Photography and art buffs feed the creative flair of the few survivors of the creative industry.

I think we are simply in an area of abundance and strong competition that sometimes and for some, leads to pushing the prices down in the photography industry.

I think and I hope that it is only an ephemeral trend which will fade away as people will realize that images produced by photographers should be better considered. I believe in perfectionism, in having an artistic soul and in producing quality work.

To Believe

I believe in Art and in the “why” we started to create using photography as a tool. Photographers work around lights and use it as a medium to convey emotions and ideas. I am a photographer and I am still able to fulfil that thirst for freedom. The latter is a quest that has been forgotten by too many. It is also one of the types of art that can evolve over time, in our digital age, even if the evolution does not always take the right direction. There is still this possibility of living from being a photographer, while other forms of art are even harder to monetize.

00 LIFE bd
Life by Samantha Martinez

For Passion

In the end, I don’t mind if one day I cannot make a living out of photography anymore. Today I find compromises that allow me to flourish but if someday I have to quit this job because the compromises I have to make become unbearable, it does not mean that I would stop photography. Being a photographer is more than just a job. It’s a real way to express yourself, a real passion.

“For me, photography is an efficient medium and a haven of peace.

I want people to read my images, I want them to agree with what I have to say. “

Samantha Martinez

A portrait of Marine by Samatha Martinez

Pourquoi se Passionner pour la Photographie ?

Commençons par le commencement.

English version

Pourquoi choisir la photographie ?

Pourquoi pas surtout.
La photographie est comme n’importe quel art, un moyen de s’exprimer pour ceux et celles qui ont envie de raconter, qui ont envie de se faire écouter, de se faire lire, mais pour qui, parler ne suffit pas.

Nous sommes aujourd’hui en 2018, dans une ère numérique, une ère de l’image. L’image parle à tout le monde. A celui qui ne sait pas correctement lire comme à celui qui n’a plus envie de « perdre son temps » à lire, tout simplement. Elle parle également à celui qui ne connait pourtant pas toute l’histoire de la confection d’une image.

C’est un médium qui est également facile d’accès, toujours à cette ère du numérique. En effet, ce n’est pas comme la peinture, le dessin ou d’autres arts qui, pour être vus par un grand nombre, doivent être, eux aussi, numérisés.

Alors pourquoi la photographie ? Si l’on souhaite faire passer un message à un large public, il semble que ça reste l’un des moyens les plus rapide et efficace pour transmettre une ou plusieurs informations.

Ne serait-ce que via internet ou via les smartphones, tout le monde, ou presque, y a accès. Tout le monde ou presque, diffuse de l’image en permanence notamment sur les réseaux sociaux, pour parler de quelque chose ou simplement pour partager un événement, un paysage ou encore des clichés personnels de sa famille.

Louise's foot in a black and white picture by Samantha Martinez
Louise by Samantha Martinez

Vivre de la photographie

Alors pourquoi ? Pourquoi est-il malgré tout si difficile de vivre de la photographie aujourd’hui ?

Pourquoi est-ce si complexe alors qu’on aime tous plus ou moins l’image et que l’on en a surtout grandement besoin ?
Toutes les entreprises ou/et marques, de n’importe quel domaine confondu a besoin d’images pour se faire connaitre ou pour vendre ses produits, tout autant que nous, consommateurs, avons besoin de ces mêmes images pour les acheter ou pour prendre connaissance d’une enseigne existante.

Choisir

Lire une description ne suffit plus, il nous faut voir ce que nous souhaitons acquérir, c’est comme ça. Une question de sécurité avant tout, mais d’avoir également le choix puisqu’il est désormais possible de l’avoir. Le choix de se rétracter et d’être d’accord sur ce que nous voulons posséder, si ça rentre dans nos critères esthétiques de sélection.

Explorer

Nous avons aussi besoin de l’image plus personnellement pour voyager, visiter le monde à travers les yeux d’autres personnes ou encore pour se tenir au courant de l’actualité parce que l’information reste plus ancrée lorsqu’on la voit.
Ou encore plus simplement, pour l’amour de l’art en général, l’amour de la création, l’amour de la nouveauté, du beau et du laid, pour tous ceux qui savent s’en satisfaire en tout cas.

Créer

Artistic picture by Samantha Martinez
By Samantha Martinez

Mais voilà, depuis que l’art fait partie de l’économie du monde, il faut, en tant qu’artiste, se battre pour faire valoir ses droits, pour arriver à en vivre. Egalement depuis que la photographie est devenue accessible à une grande majorité, toujours avec cette ère du numérique. Le marché ayant été bradé, c’est une bataille de longue haleine. Avec en plus cette ère de surconsommation et de surproduction, certains photographes ont décidé de ne plus en faire leur métier car tout le monde ne peut pas ou n’est pas prêt à suivre. C’est une dure réalité.

Il n’est tout de même pas dit qu’il soit impossible de devenir ou d’être photographe. Il est simplement dit que ce métier n’est plus le même qu’il y a vingt ou trente ans. Aujourd’hui si le photographe veut vivre de son métier, il faut en plus qu’il accepte d’être un technicien plus qu’un artiste, un ouvrier plus qu’un artisan. Il faut également qu’il devienne retoucheur.

Se battre

Aujourd’hui, il y a un tel besoin de faire de l’image en masse que pour en vivre, il faut être prêt à produire et à faire un nombre incalculable de clics à la journée… Notamment dans le e-commerce qui est un des domaines où il est possible de s’assurer pour vivre de la photo. Il faut être prêt à pondre de l’image sans la compter, à facturer sous forme de forfait pour rester dans le marché et à lâcher sa fibre artistique parce que ce n’est finalement plus ce qui vous est demandé, votre côté artistique. Ce qui est fort dommage…

Gagner

C’est malgré tout une grande généralité et fatalité que de dire ça car il reste encore, et
bienheureusement, des marques ou des agences qui estiment que c’est la différence de styles d’images, de point de vue et donc la qualité de l’image qui prime sur la quantité. Là est le travail de la direction artistique. N’oublions pas qu’avant d’être un outil marketing, la photographie est avant tout un art !

A DAY IN A LIFE
A DAY IN A LIFE by Samantha Martinez

Endurer

Et c’est ce qui, personnellement me faire tenir dans ce métier de photographe, j’aime cette façon de voir les choses. J’aime cette façon de voir le métier de photographe, comme finalement il aurait toujours du perdurer. Les passionés de photographie et d’art nourrissent la fibre inventive des quelques survivants de l’industrie créative.
Je pense qu’on est simplement dans une période d’abondance et de forte compétition qui amène parfois et pour certains, à casser les prix du marché de la photographie.

Je pense et j’espère que ce n’est qu’un passage un peu rude qui tend à s’apaiser avec le temps à force de voir autant d’images si peu considérées. Je crois au perfectionnisme, à la fibre artistique et à la qualité.

Croire

Je crois en l’Art et en le « pourquoi » on a commencé à créer avec cet outil qu’est la lumière et ce médium qu’est la photographie. Etre photographe, c’est tout de même pouvoir répondre à une soif de liberté que tout le monde n’a pas aujourd’hui encore. C’est aussi un des arts qui arrive à évoluer avec son temps, avec l’ère du numérique, même si l’évolution ne va pas toujours dans le bon sens. Il y a quand même cette possibilité de pouvoir continuer à exercer comparé à d’autres arts où il est encore plus compliqué d’en vivre.

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Life by Samantha Martinez

Se passioner

Mais finalement, peu m’importe si un jour je n’arrive plus à vivre de la photographie. Aujourd’hui je trouve des compromis qui me permettent de m’y retrouver mais si un jour il me faut arrêter ce métier parce que les compromis deviennent invivables, ce n’est pas pour autant que j’arrêterais la photographie. Etre photographe c’est bien plus qu’un simple métier. C’est un réel moyen de s’exprimer, une véritable passion.
«Pour moi, la photographie est un terrain d’entente, une paix.
Je veux que quand les gens voient mon image, je veux qu’ils soient d’accord. »

Samantha Martinez