Hi Laura, it’s so lovely talking to you! First of all, could you introduce yourself to our readers? Who are you, where do you come from, where do you live now? Tell us a little bit about your personal background!
Hi! Thank you, I’m very glad to chat with you today, too!
Well... around 12 years ago when I finished my studies, if you had asked me then what my life would look like now, I couldn’t have imagined such a future. I’m originally from a small town in the south of France where I studied management & marketing and I’m now living in Paris, the capital city. I work as a Barista in the specialty coffee industry. When I was younger, I was a pretty shy and anxious person, and I never would have thought I will be working in the service industry or taking pictures of strangers in the street!
What do you do for a living? When did you start with photography and why?
I switched from a career in marketing to become a Barista around four years ago to follow my passion for coffee. I have worked in several customer services and manager roles in Parisian coffee shops. I’ve always wanted to learn something that allowed me to be artistic and express myself. I’ve always been amazed by the beauty of simple things and I had this habit of capturing small, ephemeral details of life with my smartphone. Last year, when the pandemic appeared, my workplace had to close for 2 months... So, it was the perfect time to start new things. I picked up my boyfriend’s camera and started walking the streets, observing the light, and taking pictures. My boyfriend also loves photography, so he encouraged me a lot and gave me a lot of tips! I have this need to put myself in the background and look at things with a distance, like an escape from the hectic everyday life. I think that is also why I love photography. Now it has become a tool of self-expression.
Your pictures are very smooth and calm and are filled with soft pastel colors, which is so lovely to look at! How did you develop your style?
Thanks for the kind words! Let’s say that at the beginning I needed a “framework” to start with photography. I naturally went for pastel colors and a minimalist style because that's what I particularly liked to see when looking at pictures, and what inspired me a lot during a recent trip to Florida. Then... maybe it felt like a challenge to me because Paris is often gray, the walls are beige, the streets are narrow and crowded with things and people and even more things! I tried to re-imagine my exotic city. I also simply love the aesthetic of the smooth pastel tones because it reminds me of the sweetness that I’m looking for in everyday life. I feel like my style developed naturally on its own and through practice, like shaping my imagination.
What inspires you and why?
Initially, I think my inspirations developed with the movies of the director and cinematographer Wes Anderson: The themes of the movies as well as its distinctive visual signature! I particularly like it when he uses the theme of “innocence facing the reality of life” and it inspired me. Also, mainly the beautiful pastel colors, the compositions drawn with symmetry and simplicity. In addition, I was inspired by a trip to Miami, where I have been fascinated by these incredible natural pastel colors in the sky, and the aesthetics of the city in general.
Today I can be inspired by a lot of small and simple things in everyday life. An emotion, a place, a particular scene in the street, a memory, a song, a movie, or images that I see on Instagram or elsewhere. Besides, music is a great source of inspiration and concentration because it helps me to stay focused during the creation process. After more than one year of practice, I realized that I like to represent subjects and objects in the environment around them. I try to express atmospheres of simplicity, and a positive outlook on life. Loneliness inspires me and I like to increase the feeling of “isolation”. I do this, for example, with frames that heighten the space around the small subjects. It integrates a scale and creates empty places. With pastel tones, I see a picture as an invitation to introspection and “reverie”. I’m inspired when I try to see an image like a poem or a theater set.
How does your creation process look like? Do you plan much ahead, or do you prefer taking pictures spontaneously? Do you edit your photographs a lot or do you like to leave them naturally?
I have no real control over the creation process. Usually, when I go out to take pictures, I don't set any limits other than the weather. I need the sun to create an image like I envision it. Light shapes my compositions and presets my perspective. Otherwise, the pictures are taken mostly spontaneously and are drawn by many types of inspirations. The creative process develops by itself when I am taking pictures. Even when I'm look really carefully for lines, compositions, geometry and colors during a shoot, the flow comes out naturally. Actually, I just need the sun, some free time and I need to be alone (laughs).
Editing is as important to me as shooting. I need to create a particular look to be able to express something with the image, and I like to assemble pictures together to create a series of photos. These images may not have been taken on the same day, but together they remind me of a little story.
Many pictures of you show the sky in various colors! Does it mean anything special to you?
I started using the sky as a minimalist background because it was difficult to find empty places in a big city like Paris. I like to play with focal lengths and perspectives to create these flat backgrounds. It reminds me of a theater set. Playing with tones also helps me to experience the complementarity of colors, which works pretty well with minimalist photography. Finally, the colors just help express my emotions. Warm and sweet colors are great for a good holiday memory, faded pastel tones for softness, retro tones for nostalgia, or an energizing bright red.
How and why did you start using Instagram as a platform to share your photography?
At first, I was using the app just for fun, without posting that much until I felt that it was important to share my first photography experimentations on Instagram to connect with other photographers and communities and help me find some inspirations, too. Then I found a value in it, like supporting each other to keep doing what we do, and share the energy. So… I think it helped me to grow my own style and stay motivated!
Do you have a favorite photograph which you have created and shared? Can you tell us the story behind it?
Heyy... not an easy question! Maybe the picture of the traditional carousel at Hôtel de Ville in Paris. When I went to the place for the first time to take a photo, the carousel was all dark in the shadow… I was a little bit disappointed because I simply arrived too late in the day! I came back a few days later and I was very glad to discover a new scene! The sun was lightening up the whole facade and revealing the pretty colors of the carousel. And to my surprise, the carrousel was being dismantled! This meant that I had been able to shoot only the top of the carousel (the hat) and that way, the image turned out more minimalist and original. I enjoy looking at this picture which I find joyful and a bit vintage… it reminds me of a festive memory.
How do you feel about your Instagram community? Do you communicate with them a lot? Have you met some people?
I am very grateful for the community that follows me and supports my photography on Instagram! I haven’t met any of these people in real life yet, but I have had enriching conversations and also connected with some online galleries. I sometimes receive messages of encouragements or requests for editing tips (which I feel very honored for!) and I try to answer carefully whenever I find the time. I also discovered a great community around minimalist photography. The creators are very engaging and positive. It's like a really cool team!
Could you name some of your favorite Instagrammers who inspire you?
I love to follow the journey of Monia & Michał @fantasticmrvan
The couple decided to leave everything behind to live the nomad life in a van. They take beautiful pictures and have such a great eye for finding beauty in everything! I always wonder how it would be to quit our everyday life and just go somewhere unknown. Traveling the world, exploring new cultures, and making new experiences. I think they reawaken my dreamful and adventurous sides.
I am also fascinated by the work of Gabriel Guerrero Caroca @shriveling.
I find his compositions magically poetic, calming, and mysterious. His pictures may speak to my lonely side and the reason I like the darkness of his universe may be the same reason why I listen to metal music while shooting pastel tones (laughs).
Do you like sending and receiving postcards?
I used to like collecting postcards a lot when I was a child. I had so many of them on my wall! Nowadays, I keep just a few ones to remember good memories. I actually don’t send out postcards regularly and it’s a little bit sad because I find it nice and meaningful! I appreciate it so much when I receive a lovely hand-written postcard from a friend or a family member, it always brightens my day!
Did you know Pickmotion before we started our collaboration? If yes, how did you become aware of us?
Actually, I discovered Pickmotion just a few months ago when I used the hashtag for the poster project “Paris city art” thanks to the kind advice of a French photographer that I met on Instagram (Hi @ghersiphotography)! This has been the first photography collaboration for me! I'm really excited to discover more of the lovely Pickmotion community!
What is the first thing you want to do once this whole pandemic is over?
I’m simply exited to plan a holiday trip near the seacoast and watch a movie at the theater!
Would you like to share a little story or anecdote with us? Feel free to tell us anything!
Nothing related to photography! I love animals and I had a cat with me in Paris. One summer I planned a month-long trip abroad and I’ve put him in my parent’s hands, in the south of France. When I returned, I spent a week at my family’s home and when the time came to go back to my small-and-dark-and-creepy first studio in Paris, after packing my suitcase, I couldn’t find the cat anymore. We spent more than 1 hour looking for him everywhere before I decided to leave without him to catch my train. Once I was sitting in the train, I received a message from my parents "your cat just pointed his sneaky nose, he just doesn't want to go back to Paris". He did the (exact!) same thing when I came back 2 months later, and we never found his hiding place! Now I live in a lovely apartment, but he is living his best cat life under the sun of the south!
APM-0296, APM-0297, APM-0299, APM-0300, APM-0298
If you love @french__laura's photographs as much as we do, you can now purchase five of her motifs as PICKMOTION Art Posters in local shops nearby or directly from our new online shop! Every purchase will also support the artist!