Sunday, 26 January 2014

2013





A blog post was since long due. I promised myself I would write more because I like it and because it's sometimes good to share with others whatever interesting things that have been going on in my life.


2013. It's already gone and saying Happy New Year seems so dull and inappropriate already. But I thought it would be good to review last year. All in all, 2013 was just a great year. Now when I say 'great', don't get me wrong. It was full of challenges and success. But then, one of my favourite rappers - La Fouine - says this: "Quand t'as pas connu l'vinaigre comment apprécier le miel?" So, as good as 2013 was, there were a few bad moments too, some difficult dealings, some particular encounters and sometimes, I would have gladly pulled all the hair on the top of my head to get rid of the stress and the problems (well, I almost did, I just chopped my hair very short!). 



As an advice to myself, I promised myself to get everything on paper because I cannot stress more the importance that an agreement can have in a dealing with a potential client. People may be of good faith and most of the time, they are the ones you encounter. But some clients may prove difficult and whatever the name, the status or the promises they made to you - people or companies - always make it a must to have everything on paper. It's essential these days. Photography for me is an art and most people will tell you business and art do not work well together. But believe me, it can if you put your mind to it and stop acting in a naive and reckless fashion. You got to be tough at times if you want to make a life out of your art. I hate compromising but sometimes I have to, and at other times I try my very best not to compromise on my work. It may pay off, it may not pay off, but you don't get anything if you don't take risks. I always get asked by people why the heck I studied Law and Management; that it does not suit me at all. But you know what, I've always loved both law and photography. They say law won't help you at all in art, that if you do it, you'd die as an artist. I used to think so too. But after doing both during the last 4 years, I've never been more convinced that whatever I learned at university is a useful thing to an artist, and that if I wanted someday to get a job somewhere in my studies field, I could still progress as an artist. Being versatile has broaden my perspective.


Prior to May 2013, I was a busy student doing photography whenever I had the time, and I can tell you it was sometimes hard to manage whenever I would get cravings for more shoots but that my dissertation was still pending, incomplete. But I managed with a lot of patience, dedication, sleepless nights and with a little help from my friends. Talking about friends, ever since I finished my courses last May and have been working full time on photography, friends are what I have made most. They are also the ones that have helped me achieve quite a few things I'm very proud of.



Alexandra Webber Isaacs

The first person to whom I owe big thanks is Alexandra Webber Isaacs. This wonderful girl has got some great patience, devotion for her writing and for fashion, and thanks to her, our small local fashion industry has witnessed the publication of a magazine on the people in this industry. Indeed, she has invested a lot of herself in bringing together so many contributors in this collaboration between her blog Style Mauritius and People magazine. The result was People: In Fashion magazine. It came out last September. It was truly incredible to work with Alexandra and all those people who I have had the incredible chance to photograph - Saskia Pougnet, Elisa Hugnin, Anne-Lise Ramooloo, Jasmina Ruben, Cedric Lanappe, Anais Lionnet, Fabien Fauzou, Deborah Jubeau, Anu Sumputh, Aurelie Bouic, Sophie de Marigny, Delphine Dholah and Annabelle Fleury - and to be part of the magazine too. It was a great honour she bestowed on me when she asked me to photograph for this issue and to be part of it. 

Here are some portraits of the persons who were featured in People: In Fashion magazine:

Photos: Khatleen Minerve


With her blog, Alexandra has always strived to put the talents who deserved to be known by all, under the spotlight. And one thing I love about her is that she is very proud of the Mauritian legacy, in terms of fashion and arts mainly, for, this woman will never miss an opportunity to put forward the "Made In Moris" talents and products. For this reason, I can only be admirable of the person she is. 



Second person I'd love to thank is another talented friend of mine, Cedric Lanappe (you know I have got only talented friends, people are just great). And here he is, posing for People in Fashion magazine for his contribution to the local fashion industry as make up artist:


So Cedric is a person I absolutely adore but weird thing is I cannot describe him well enough. He is one of those persons who are always happy whatever the hour at which you are working. One call to him and his "Salut Gertrude" will send you roaring with laughter (squealing like an asthmatic pig in my case, not very lady-like I know). He has so much energy; he is always eager to try new things and create. And the artist he is will always listen to your needs whenever you want something different than what was planned. I am happy I have got the chance to collaborate with him on numerous occasions last year and notably for the editorial for Divali in Essentielle. That guy is seriously fantastic because I did not think it would be possible to do 7 make up in one day for a big shoot. He works fast and good. See a few of his work photographed by me for Essentielle:



At his young age, he has already done his own make up show (the first in Mauritius if I am not wrong) and I was very lucky to have him ask me to portray his work for Pigmentation. And so we did with the mesmerising Sophie de Marigny (another incredible person whose versatility, personality and loveliness never cease to amaze me). 





Sophie de Marigny for Pigmentation by make up artist Cedric Lanappe


Another person whom I want to thank from the bottom of my heart is a girl who has a big heart and a buoyant and captivating personality. She has been an incredible encounter and man, does she make me want to be better at portraiture! It has always been my utmost belief that if you want to take the portrait of someone, you should fall in love with that person. It might seem a ridiculous thing to say but I believe firmly that to get a beautiful portrait of a person, you have to love him or her. And this big-hearted girl I want to thank has been someone I have loved ever since I met her because I have found in her as a model, the challenge, the motivation and a quality subject any photographer would be truly blessed to have. We waited two years to finally work together and when we did, I was glad we waited so long. Because I was photographing her, I did my very best to capture her essence, the different facets of her personality and I was never once disappointed. I have actually felt at some moments like she was way beyond the grasp of my lens, of my talent, that some times, I needed to step up to be able to capture whatever she was giving me. I can without any doubt say that this feeling - that of striving to be better to manage to photograph the essence of people - has been my heroine. It is the one reason I have started a project called ETUDES and I kicked it off by photographing this very girl. Therefore, I owe it to Jasmina Ruben to say thank you for all those opportunities she has given me. We did fantastic work over the course of 2013 and while some experiences were undermined with unexpected complications, we still pulled through and got the work published. We did probably my favourite photo series ever at the start of the year (An Unconventional Woman, Dolce Vita, A Graffiti Fashion Story, In the Afternoon Haze), we did the cover of Essentielle for Divali in September with the awesome Deborah Jubeau as model and Cedric Lanappe as make up artist, and we worked again together for People magazine. It is always such an incredible thing to work with a person who has as much experience in modelling as Jasmina has, but who at the same time will never let you feel like she is doing too much to show how good she is. And that is why I love working with her, whatever she is doing, she never appears superficial. Also I want to thank Jasmina for trusting me with her portraits. Again, it is my belief that there aren't many experiences that are as intimate as letting someone photograph you. Whether you are bare face, or wearing tons of make up, disguises, designers' clothes or taking on a different personality for a shoot, you are always revealing a piece of your soul and entrusting it to the eye of the photographer. Even when you transform for a photo shoot to embody someone else, you still look inside yourself to bring out the necessary emotions and attitudes. Thus, it is, I believe, my responsibility to get better at portraiture each time I lens somebody so as not to let their efforts go to waste.



 



There are many people to thank for the challenging year I had but I have but very little time on my hands to do that. However, there are a group of people I feel I need to say thank you to: my clients. You have all been wonderful and it has never been boring to bring out the best of you or to take up the assignments you have given me. I hope I've been able to portray you in the best way. 

For now, I'll bid you all good night! But stay tune for a post on my project ETUDES which I'll explain to you very soon.