French photographer Nolwenn Brod’s series of photographs, entitled La Ritournelle, presented at the 32nd International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, won her the ELIE SAAB Grant by its unique approach to storytelling,
portraiture and landscape.
For the project, Nolwenn Brod spent time with a young family—Jean, Marie and their infant—who had just settled in a small village in France after having lived in a large city. She captures the intimate moments of their life together, their daily gestures and emotions, juxtaposing these images with portraits of the surrounding land.
Through the ELIE SAAB Grant, Nolwenn Brod will participate in a three-week residency in Beirut to produce a body of work with the city as her backdrop. Here,
The Light of Now gets to know the photographer and her artistic approach.
You have talked about
“making sensations visible” in your photographs.
Is there is one sensation that you “make visible” more than others?
My way of working is close to the phenomenology of perception. Touch becomes feeling, and inversely. The faces, bodies, landscapes–the skin and the leaves of a tree— I want my photographs to make you want to touch them, to feel them close, in an oscillation, yet without knowing what timeframe they are part of.
In your project
La Ritournelle, which sensation is most dominant visually?
La Ritournelle speaks of, among other things, the violence and ambiguity of feelings in a family. La Ritournelle is social, territorial above all, but also animal and vegetal. It is linked to rituals, to the cosmos…The most visible sensation is what I mentioned previously, where touch becomes felt and transmits emotions, or I hope that they do. My images are also imprints of the nostalgia of situations already lived, or not.
What is the meaning of the project title,
La Ritournelle comes from the work “Mille Plateaux, Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 2” written by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (Edition de Minuit, 1980)… La Ritournelle is like a refrain upon the same theme. In the project, it has many functions: love, social and above all, a territorial one. It is a questions of violence and of the ambiguity of sentiments. After having lived for many years in a large city, the couple and their child go to live in a village in the center of France to open a site for contemporary theater. Across the prism of a strong sense of empathy that I went there to photograph them, many times a year for two years. I am interested in their gestures and postures, repeated daily, in their taken paths, and in the evolution of the work on their house according to the seasons, as well as the differences found within the repetition of things in their environment.
What is your rapport
I work essentially with natural light, and I have a preference for the light at the end of the day. I sometimes have the impression that I am turning around my subject and continuously looking for the shadows, which will define the face or the landscape as I want to represent it. I try to appropriate this image in post-production; it’s a balance I must find between chrome and nuances of grey as well as density and contrast, so that they interact with each other but also independently of the corpus.
What do you appreciate about photography as an artistic medium?
Its direct rapport with the real, and that it incessantly interrogates the nature of reality. What interests me in photography is the way I can get drawn into a face, a look, a simple gesture, and a landscape, seized by and in the moment like an epiphany around the phenomenon. It’s the tension of the in-between that interests me, between the document and the mystery of the image.
Photography is at the crossroads of different disciplines. It is nourished, for me, by what happens in daily life, in literature, in philosophy, cinema, media, and more and more I complement it with video, sound and the collection of objects in situ, by sculpture and thoughts of installation.