Thursday, 2 June 2011

Julie Lánsöm

Julie Lánsöm
Paris, France

You wrote me that you got involved into photography, because you wanted to "jog your own bad memory". Now, something that has often happened to me: Does it ever happen that you can't remember where or when a picture was taken?

No, it actually never happened to me, that's why taking photos is a perfect cure. I have a visual memory, I remember everything about the photos I took, even what I felt when I did. But I remember nothing in life, apart from the lyrics of shitty songs. I don't know what's wrong with me. I think my memory is some kind of a joker and it’s having fun by embarrassing me.

Often images convey different stories than the actual situations/objects they are showing. Do you feel that this can be one of the attractive sides to visual art?

Yes, probably. It can make things prettier, stronger, sadder, etc. That's an interesting thing about it. But photography is also interesting in its capacity to show reality. Of course that's not the case when you set up things, make effects or edit the photos afterwards; but it can be amazing when it's a pure representation of a situation, a person or a moment. These are the two aspects I like about it.

And where would you generally situate photography among visual arts, in terms of its "truthfulness"?

Fuck, I think I answered a bit of this question in the previous one.

I am very much enchanted by the strong expressions you capture in your portraiture. Is this one of your motivations when shooting models and/or family and friends?

I never shoot anybody that I don't really know. I'm an amateur psychologist and I'm always looking for who people deeply are, not only in photography. That's why I only take photos of my close friends, or family. I always manage to make them feel comfortable, and they're now used to it. This is when photography becomes cool: when people stop being conscious about the fact that a camera is there, and (almost) forget it. And sometimes it works well when my friends are feeling really good and are being "too much" in front of the camera, in their poses or expressions. What we don't see on the photos is how much we're taking the piss out of each other when that happens.

The majority of your photos were taken outdoors. Is there a specific reason for this?

I only take photos indoors when I have an idea or a project that I want to realize. Otherwise, I find it quite boring and don't feel very inspired by it. I live in Paris so we all have very small flats. It would be different if we had amazing apartments, went to an old hospital, Versailles, or a castle but we never do. Also, I love the sunlight. There are so many things to do with it in photography, and it offers so much in its changings. And I turned into a fucking hippie since I moved to the big cities, I miss my countryside and thus became obsessed with nature.

You also have a blog where you display other photographers' works. What catches your eye most when browsing through art collections yourself?

I couldn't say. There are so many things. It could be a face, a landscape, a color. At the moment I have a huge weakness for portraits of old persons. Sometimes I even want to cry just by seeing it. It's stupid but it’s incredible how strong their facial expressions can be. I could stare at the photos, or at them in real life, for ages. I'm trying to find something else. I'm a bit bored by the photos we see everywhere and that are big successes on the Internet. Those often are the same ones, and they're often really cheesy and shallow (or show a butt or a nipple). Actually, my friend Amandine and I defined some examples of theses photos and we're sometimes trying to imitate them in order to see if it really works to get the same attention. And trust me, it does.

You mentioned that you are more interested in colors than shapes. Can you explain further?

I realized that colors versus shapes often make the difference between what girls and guys prefer in photography. Guys seem to be more into shapes, lines, perspectives, and all these architectural things, whereas girls rarely pay attention to such things. It probably reveals something about men and women’s natures, but that would be too long and boring to analyze here. So well, yes, this is what I noticed. When I was a kid I wanted to be a "colorist". I don't even know if this job exists but I wanted to color stuff. This is what I like, even in the way I dress (-up?).

Also, would you argue that it is it is "easier" visualizing atmospheres and/or emotions with colors?

I don't know, I think strong lines can also portray strong emotions. I'm just not so sensitive to them, so probably I am not really good at it.

Do you enjoy employing symbolism in your work?

I don't really think about it. But sometimes it happens without planning or even without being conscious about it. I'm not trying to intellectualize photography. I'm not really into all this "conceptual art". I don't get it. I'm sure it sometimes goes too far and people are seeing things in other people's work, which hadn’t even been part of the artist's intention. It can be ridiculous. I don't want to start doing that; I'm too lazy anyway. I'd rather stay focused on feelings.

Visualization of the subconscious? Take a look at her work!

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