Solène Ballesta: Morning Mist with the Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens

2017-02-17 2

Solène Ballesta is a Parisian photographer who started photography at 15 years old. This talented photographer was awarded in 2014 by the special mention of the young fashion photography Picto Awards. In her shots, Solène drives us to an enchanted world. For this series, she used the Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens and she's telling us the story of a woman who is waiting for someone or something in her small theater and who decides to venture to the morning mist. “It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things wonderful.” said Oscar Wilde.

Hello Solène! Could you please introduce yourself to our community?

Hi ! I am a Parisian photographer, who works mainly in fashion and portrait. I also have a more personal production, which is represented by the Micro Galerie. I am passionate about cinema, the history of art, and curiosities.

Tell us your story with photography. What was your very first camera? When did you decide to become a professional photographer?

I began to get interested in photography around the age of 15. Previously I liked to make small films, small stories and I drew a lot. Finally the very intuitive and "free" aspect of photography convinced me and I privileged this medium. Step by step, I got used to it! It has become my full-time job for 3 years. My first camera was a shitty compact of the 2000s, then I had quite a few different cameras to try several things (and it is always the case).

Could you share with us the daily life of a photographer? How is it going?

The joy of being a photographer is that each day is different! But let's say that my time is divided between organizing shootings, answering clients, booking, meeting people, a lot of time in front of photoshop, preparing editorials, exhibitions...

All this is in parallel with my theoretical research on photography, within a master of contemporary art at Paris 8 University. Currently I'm also working on a big project with some friends who are artists - a business to follow ;)

How would you define your style?

Something bewteen Baudelaire and Hiroshige.

What inspires you?

Theater, cinema (especially fantastic), nineteenth-century painting, art nouveau, black romanticism, Asian art and orientalism, the vegetal world, haute couture and cabinets of curiosities...but also the elegance and the little oddities of everyday life.

For photographers (at least), I would say Paolo Roversi, Sarah Moon, Deborah Turbeville, Tim Walker, Irving Penn.

Any favorite photography subject?

Dreams.

A topics you don't like to shoot?

I think I don't have anything.

You're still doing film photography. What cameras are you using and why?

I use film for the texture that brings to images, unrivalled in digital. This also means taking a very special, more concentrated and calmer shot. And then there is the excitement of development. I use second hand cameras, preferably in poor condition. There's a story behind it, and the film get stuck, tear, take the light, I have no idea how it's going to look like... It's always complicated and that's why it's fun! Currently I use a Zorki 4, a Nikon FG-20 and an FM2.

Do you think analogue photography contribute to add a certain je ne sais quoi to your digital shots? Why?

The two complement each other completely in my practice. Sometimes the same story will mix the two, or I realize a digital post-production on digitized films ... I love to hybridize the techniques, that gives a very strange aspect to the images.

Why are people keeping doing analogue photography ?

Because film is film.

Let's chat about the Daguerreotype Achromat! What were your first impressions when you saw the lens?

I have already been completely seduced by its vintage appearance, and by the manual openings, it gives a "back to the sources" aspects. I thought that this lens with the digital camera, it would to make a really weird camera!

And when you used it for the very first time?

It is really necessary to focus on its aim, so you're very concentrated during the shot. I had the impression to think more during shooting, and taking my time for the focusing settings, changing the aperture to see how it looks...like with a photographic room or telemetric lens! A beautiful experience at the borders of time.

Why did you choose this lens in particular for this shooting?

For its blurry aspect, like a dreamy vision. In fact, I chose this theme because of this lens ;)

Tell us the story behind this series.

The story is the one of a woman, in her little theater, waiting for someone, or perhaps something... Then a mist appears, with a castle in the background, and she decides to take the plunge. The rest is up to you. In any case, neither she nor anybody was cold during the shoot!

What can the Daguerreotype Achromat or any other artistic art lens, bring to photographers?

A dive into an atmosphere, a distortion of the immediate and immersive vision, a shot that is out of the ordinary.

Which feature of the Daguerreotype did you like the most ?

The fact of being able to observe directly the variations of blur, the side a little "tinker" with the separate diaphragms, and then of course the design!

Any tipsters to share?

Take your time.

If this series was a song, it'd be…

Mysteries of love of Julee Cruise...or any other songs of Lynch.

A last word?

« Monde de merde »


All photos of the article were used with Solène's permission. Find out more about her timeless work on her Website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

written by mpflawer on 2017-02-17

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