This is a really evocative group of images here, and you’ve really taken me on a wild ride.
I read this work as a whole as something of an expose of alternative and underground fashion and lifestyle. I think the strength of this work is in its very casual point-and-shoot aesthetic, and the degree of authentic veracity in this work lends more power to the bizarre, uncanny and risqué imagery. If these images were staged they would lose the appeal, but the spontaneity of the work goes a long way in characterizing it as lifestyle documentary. I immediately think of Nan Golden and Richard Billingham when I view your images, but can’t deny the surrealist motifs that are suggested throughout these as well. Strange juxtapositions like the female form clutching the lobster, a woman’s face obscured by her hair, and the washed out woman with surrounded by ribbon all lend to associations of psychological metaphor.
There’s a strong Dionysian element at play as well: people in costume and facepaint, a rowdy group of men losing themselves in music, an intense embrace between lovers all point to a life of party, rebellion, hard love, and even delinquency. I think this work really points towards youth fantasies, and the power of these images, again, comes from the sheer veracity of the point-and-shoot aesthetic, which convinces your viewers of the real manifestations of these fantasies.
I appreciate the variety of approaches on display, as you seem to be working very freely and uninhibited by rules or adherence to pictorial conditions. There is a strong series in the making here, and I could even see potential for a book of this type of work. However that would require you to reign in the spontaneity, and you’d need to introduce a certain Apollonian degree of discipline to advance this work into a cohesive whole. There’s a lot of potential to create an intriguing visual essay here, but to begin that you’d need to hone in on a conceptual center point and edit and sequence your work in a way that points towards that center. I’d take a look at Greg Halpern’s “A” project on his website to get a sense of what I’m getting at. Then again, I don’t know what your goals are with this work, and if they mostly include using the medium to ground yourself in these moments and embrace the act of looking as more of an experiential motivation rather than an ambitious artistic one, than I’d say you’re doing really well.
The one thing that’s missing here is a strong submission statement, which could go a long way in talking about your ideas, processes, and goals for your work. I know as a photographer myself I want my images to speak for themselves, but it’s important to keep in mind that text can be a powerful tool to guide your viewers to a better understanding of your work. It’s also something that most editors, curators and publishers want to see, so that they may better understand your motivations, inspirations and purposes for creating the work that you do. It’s even ok if you’re not a strong writer, but by not offering any supporting information from your project, you risk sending a message of not caring or trying enough to show that you are serious about the work you make. Projecting a sense of seriousness and commitment are key in any field, and especially in photography.
At any rate, keep up the good work! Many photographers I see are quite restrained in their approach to image-making and I’m glad to see the ways that you just let if fly. All best of luck, and I hope to get the chance to see more from you here again in the future.
Murielle Victorine Scherre
Murielle Victorine Scherre (°1977, Ghent) is the founding mother of la fille d’O and considered to be a pioneer within the field of lingerie development and design. She will never compromise on conscientious design, clean sourcing and an honest – thus carefree – production line. In 2003 la fille d’O sprung from her personal need and curiosity. Dissatisfied with the lingerie market at that time, she decided to put her own vision into practice and created la fille d’O. A brand freed of aesthetic, technical and economical concessions.
La fille d’O refers to the seventies cult book ‘L’histoire d’O’, which tells the story of O. A woman – a photographer – who agrees to give up her freedom and become an object of desire without any free will. La fille d’O is her progeny and created to serve a new generation of women who are both independent and explorative, two mandatory assets for society’s avant-garde. Murielle aims to support women in their personal search by reminding them that the female body is not just a sex object but a tool for personal growth.
Thanks to her business approach – she doesn’t know the word ‘impossible’ – and personal take on the female body, la fille d’O has always left space for controversy and innovation. Murielle studied – among other studies – fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, and became a great technical designer by working in a corsetry workshop. Yet Murielle sees herself as an ‘amateur’ or ‘idiot savant’: her love, powerhouse drive and belief in the school of life lie beneath her incomparable know-how of lingerie and the worldwide success of la fille d’O.
“Everything I’ve ever done started from pure amateurism: an intense love for something and the drive to go for it.”
aultre ne veulx estre (no desire to be otherwise)
In addition to her lingerie Murielle is known for her writings, documentary-style photography and explicit extras such as ‘iscream’ (2005), a popsicle shaped dildo designed in collaboration with Fun Factory. In 2005 and 2007 she published two books based on her own experiences: ’lingerie & lollipops’ and ‘kruisverhoor’. Both books reveal an intimate view on sexuality and personal growth. In 2009 she shot the controversial erotic movie ‘j’fais du porno et j’aime ça’, starring her own friends. The movie was originally produced for the public radio station Studio Brussel and eventually got banned from public television, only to make its way into international screenings debating the pornofication of our society and into sex education. Later that year she co-directed the award-winning documentary ‘skin.like.sun’, an artistic erotic movie edited in nearly real-time. Her third book ‘l’amateur’ – published in 2014 by Lannoo – captures a personal take on the meaning of the words beauty, sensuality, attraction, romance, love, eroticism,
pornography, fetishism and alchemy.
Throughout the years these personal projects alternate with professional adventures. During Paris Fashion Week SS16 la fille d’O launched a women’s lingerie line in collaboration with Ann Demeulemeester, and in the fall of 2017 the brand will expand its lingerie collection with the gender-equal clothing line ‘Homage’.