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Cécile André

Interview, 10/2023

Hi Cécile, thank you for finding some time to make our interview. How are you doing lately? could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m doing very well thank you! I spend my time taking photos and traveling, so I couldn’t be happier. For now, I live in Nantes, which is a city in the west coast of France. I studied Graphic Design and I worked in different places before I got bored by spending all the day behind a computer screen. So I decided to dedicate myself to my first love which is photography.

How did you discover photography? and when did you start to realize it would become a part of your life?

I discovered photography when I was a child because my grandfather practiced film photography and made silver prints in his bathroom.
We can’t speak of initiation, that would be extrapolating because I was really small, but I think I understood at the time that this process contained a certain magic.
Subsequently, my grandmother gave me a Polaroid and I had fun taking photos of my cat, my sister and my dolls by inventing little scenes.

I realize that it will become part of my life 10 years ago when I decided to study graphic design. I realize in the same time that having art in my life made me happier than anything else.

How were your very first years in photography? did you have any idea of the topics or the things you wanted to shoot? how long it took you to get your current style?

My first years in photography weren’t that easy because I had to practice a lot to get results I’d be proud of. In the beginning, I wasn’t really satisfied with my production.
At first, I bought a digital camera but I didn’t like the résult at all. It was too cold, too “perfect” for me, it seemed to not reflect the world as I was seeing it.
So I got my first analog camera from my dad, who is a photojournalist and it took me years to learn how it works. At this time, everyone around was shooting with a digital camera and no one understood my choice. So I have to figure it out by myself.
I was so happy when I began to get results, maybe after 2 years of experimentation. Then I tried to find my own style and I’m still working on that part.
’ve always loved photographing women and reappropriating what patriarchy took from us; the representation of our bodies. I don’t consider myself a feminist activist but I do my best to be honest with my approach.

What does your typical day look like?

My typical day is not the same as the day before. Sometimes I like to walk by the sea, sometimes I like to watch movies. I’m not always looking for inspiration but I like to be in a good mood to approach the moment when I get to work on my in a serene way.
So it comes down to alternating moments of intensive work with moments of calm.

What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?

Persevere, grow, don’t be rushed, surround yourself with positive people, and be ambitious.

What has been your most powerful work in your own view?

I think my most powerful work has been “silent fight”

Could you take one of your photographs and tell us the story behind that?

I’ll choose this one, “silent fight” because it was a bit difficult for me to plan this project because of covid 19.
We reschedule the shooting many times but I was sure that it was something very important to me and I had to do it more than anything. It was like a big feeling.

Meeting my model, Reine, was one of the most beautiful photographic encounters.
The first part of the shooting was more a fashion and beauty shoot and we were supposed to shoot the “feminist” work the day after with an illustrator friend.
At the end of the day, I called my friend telling her I was so exhausted by my day of work and maybe we won’t shoot the feminist part and she told me “absolutely not, we have to do this”.
And then it began my most popular work and I’m still very proud of it 🙂

What does photography mean to you? do you feel it’s a way to express yourself that would be harder otherwise?

Photography is like therapy. When I take photos, it is like meditating. I am 100% in the present moment. I don’t think of anything other than satisfying this need to create..

Where do you get your inspiration from? is there any artist or photographer that particularly inspires you? which photographer would you like us to interview?

I mostly get my inspiration from movies. I like it because we can focus on different decades and be influenced by any kind of hair, style, etc.
I love film directors like Sofia Coppola, Agnès Varda, Rohmer, Truffaut, Jacques Demi…
Recently, I loved Ryūsuke Hamaguchi last movie: Gūzen to Sōzō.
I also love looking at people in the street, and imagining their life.
Of course, I’m also inspired by photographers, just to name some of them: Craig Mac Dean, Diane Arbus, Deborah Turbeville, Sarah Moon…. I would love you to interview Lee Miler, which may not be easy because she is dead so…

And finally, would you like to tell us about future projects or promote anything?

For now, we are almost in summer so I think I’ll focus on enjoying my friend, listening to music and swimming in the sea. I really need to get out of my head from all the work I’ve done this year and take a step back.

We’d love to bring you a miramono print version. It is not yet possible. Meanwhile...

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