in conversation with: FANNY GENOUX
Fanny Genoux is a teacher but photography is now an integral part of her life. She is interested in photography as a whole and she tells us she has a varied approach even though she is most fond of street photography. Shadows, lines and abstract forms is what she seeks in her very constructed graphic compositions. This is the photography language that speaks to her. Using the environment as a setting to compose her stories integrating those small details that are synonymous to her style. The human presence is not necessarily direct - it can be a silhouette, a shadow, a material - lost, anonymous in the geometry drawn by the city.
From an aesthetic point of view, in Fanny's series called "Eclipse", her approach seeks the abstraction and geometry that shadow and colour can create in the city. Most of the photographs were taken in Nice where the light is often bright, intense. In the narrow alleys of the old town, she draws bright canyons. Colorful facades and deep shadows combine to give birth to a geometric composition, sculpted by light. In front of this colorful and contrasting décor, sometimes on the edge of abstraction, she watches the fleeting shadows of passers-by who will emerge from the darkness to escape immediately. From a symbolic point of view, the series questions the transition from light to shade and the impact it engenders on the individual. Passers-by are nothing more than silhouettes, Chinese shadows: in the shadows they lose their identity, their peculiarities, their singularity. In the shadows, they become anonymous, they come out of the light of the city.
More generally speaking, tell us when and how you started getting interested in photography?
I am a teacher and a mom of three. I have been interested in art in general for a long time and have always enjoyed making and creating things. Photography has been a pastime for a long time, but paradoxically, it is since I have children - and therefore much less time!- that my art has become more intensive and structured...and above all vital!
Lately, I got more interested in street photography, but I think I have a peculiar approach to it. In the process of photography, all the stages from the shooting to the developing make me happy. Wandering, the first fundamental step in photography, is a moment that I particularly enjoy, even if I often come home empty-handed. I also like this part of "magic" and the fact that we will always come up with surprises, good or bad, when we discover what we have shot. I like the way a photo can enhance reality and reveal poetry where it’s not expected. I also like to build my images.
I’m moved by shadows, semi-darkness, lines and abstract shapes. I have a deep interest in mankind and his effects on his environment. He is always at the center of my photographs, whether directly or not, by the prints, the marks he leaves, by his constructions, his passage. It can be a silhouette, a shadow or a trace that gets lost, anonymous in the geometry drawn by the cities, the material or the color, one influencing the other.
Do you have a favourite quote that resonates with you the most?
I like this quote from Matt Stuart “Buy a good pair of comfortable shoes, always wear your camera around your neck.”
How many times have I blamed myself for not having my camera with me! How many times have I had blisters on my feet because my shoes were not suited to my long photographic wanderings... For that matter, I finally got myself a lighter and smaller device that I always carry with me.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Almost everywhere, looking around me: in the streets, the shapes, the light, the mundanity and the poetry of everyday life.
Who are your favourite artists/photographers?
I admire many photographers whose works are however very different from Koudelka to Martin Parr, Franco Fontana, Denis Brihat or Bernard Plossu. I am currently partial to the work of Saul Leiter. I also like to discover the work of the photographers from the Magnum agency. Painters such as Hopper or Paul Klee influence me as well.
Where is your favorite place to shoot?
Everywhere I go, but more particularly the streets of cities and of my city in particular: Nice.
Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?
Yes and no. Yes, because when I started, I only photographed empty places, exclusively in black and white. Today, I really like color and I always look for human presence, directly or not. My eye is drawn to the same things though: my images are always very composed, constructed and contrasted.
Do you prefer to shoot alone or with friends?
I shoot alone. When I shoot, I am totally absorbed and I can stay still and spend hours at the same place. It is not very much fun to be around me on those occasions!
What equipment do you prefer to use? Do you think equipment is important in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?
I now know my camera well and it helps me to take my photos: I quickly know how to react, but I don’t master the technique very well. I only use the basic settings (ISO, speed, aperture). I think the important thing is above all what we see and how we photograph it, regardless of the device. I have a Canon EOS 7D, I usually use it with a 17-55mm lens. I also like the 50mm very much, but this camera is heavy and bulky so I recently got a smaller one that is lighter and more discreet. It’s a Sony RX100, and I am currently getting to know it!
Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?
I’ve always liked making things myself. I tried mail art, cartoons, but everything I did was always undisclosed.
Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?
I love books, and I am deeply interested in publishing. I have published 3 small books consisting of some of my photo series. I realized that I took great pleasure in this work: thinking about the layout, choosing the fonts, the paper, the shape of the book...it's something that I really like. I have the project of making another book, precisely on the Eclipse series.
What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years?
Above all, I shoot for my own pleasure and I don’t have the ambition to live off photography one day. I hope it will remain a pleasure. Of course, I am happy when I can show my work and even more if the feedbacks are positive!
“When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…”
...work on my images!"