10 Questions with Anne-Laure Etienne | An interview by Ameena Rojee for #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine
We first met [and fell in love with] artist Anne-Laure Etienne AKA Unspoken Image in 2012. Today we revisit her to talk more in depth about her work, inspirations, future plans and a lil’ bit of advice for the aspiring photographer!
Ameena Rojee: Hello! Please introduce yourself.
Anne-Laure Etienne: My name is Anne-Laure Etienne, I am 23 and living in Lyon, France. I work as a freelance photographer.
AR: What made you want to become an artist and how did you get into photography?
ALE: When I was a child, I used to collect all types of images and would make little books out of them. My uncle was a great photographer and he also had a video camera, he used to spend his time filming us when we were young. My mother had a camera too, so we made a lot of photo albums. I was already swimming in images of my childhood. Later in life, my brother gave me my first camera — I was 17. I have not stopped taking photographs since that day.
AR: Your work for the band ‘Volcan’ was featured back in issue 3; how did you come up with the concept?
ALE: Volcan’s music is something between metal and doom, doom and metal. This kind of music sounds loud but slow, and particularly dark to me. The skull we used was the skull of a horse, it belonged to the drummer. They did not have a real identity, so we chose to use this skull, which we felt represented the ambience of their music.
Musicians need to be image conscious so it is vital to figure out what they want beforehand. I am often the one to research the concept, and sometimes they decide themselves which elements will be present, in this case, we worked together to come up with a concept. The shoots are always interesting as we constantly work to combine relevant props with certain environments, the musicians themselves and the atmosphere we try to create. I love to practice photography instinctively; improvisation opens the imagination.
AR: What inspires you?
ALE: Nature and urban spaces. The future and the past. The soul and body. Big horizons and enclosed spaces. Joy and sorrow. Painting and photography.
AR: Which of your own works is your favourite and why?
ALE: I am not able to choose one. I think that all my photographs are unconsciously related. I put my heart into every image I capture, and they all have the same value to me. Some images have been more difficult to realise, but the simple ones are just as important as the others.
AR: We especially like your series ‘Dualism’, can you tell us a bit more about it?
ALE: This work is about duality and contradiction. I try to find a relation and a gap between soul and reality, then finally find the rhythm between them. I think that both of these things are related. I explore boundaries between dream and reality, rationality and madness.
I want to get a visual explosion, where imagination is more important than reality. The effect of symmetry reminds me of the Rorschach tests.
AR: If you could shadow one artist for a day, who would it be and why?
ALE: Francesca Woodman, for her work, her talent, her story and her final breath.
AR: What are you working on next?
ALE: I will be exploring the magic of analogue photography. I need to discover roots of my passion and to produce with analogue what I can already produce digitally. This work takes longer to realize than digital photography and it asks more patience and time.
AR: Can you tell us something interesting about yourself?
ALE: I am a clothing collector. I probably have enough clothes (or disguises) to open a shop!
AR: The industry is becoming increasingly challenging to enter with the popularisation of photography, thanks to camera phones and other new technology. What advice can you give to the aspiring photographer?
ALE: You do not need to have the bigger and better camera to be a good photographer. You can take a great picture with your camera phone (yes it is true!). It has never been easier to access cameras and as a result, photography. In my mind, a good photographer is a photographer with a story to tell. All you need to do is practice again and again. I do not think that errors exist; on the contrary, they develop creativity.
AR: Thank you for answering our questions, Anne-Laure! We wish you the best of luck and will be keeping an eye out for your future work.
Anne-Laure Etienne | www.unspokenimage.com
Ameena Rojee | www.ameenarojee.co.uk