Nowadays, there is a trend among artists to go back to the studio space for pictorials. French visual artist and photographer Laura Bonnefous shot her series, DAILY TOTEM, with the Lomo'Instant Square. In her photographs, she misappropriates everyday objects to compose surrealist images in her atelier studio.
Hi Laura, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a visual artist and photographer based in Paris, where I do exhibition projects and commissioned works. I have a sculptural practice of photography as I mainly think of the space and the object translated in their poetic dimension. I like to catch reality to transpose it, to modify its common sense and then to appropriate it and transpose it in a mental, more dream-like landscape. The sculptural detail arise from this as well as the surrealist aspect of my projects. I like to cross my personal project and my commissioned works, to introduce different mediums such as performance or literature in all of my projects. I like to have this freedom to not be stuck in one art field.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about trying what you do?
To not do the same things as me neither as anybody else! :) I think that the first advice I could give is to develop your own universe, to find your own path to create. Obviously, we all have things or people that inspire us, artists that we cherish and that are a big influence on our creative journey but it's essential to have our own experience, to always push further our innermost questions and emotions.
What advice would you give to your 15 years old self?
To continue, to push further my research, to never give up and above all to stay creative and to continue to dare!
What are your inspirations?
I had always been attracted to shapes surrounding me, our relationships with objects and their influence on us. I'm in love with objects because I see infinite possibilities to transform them in order to see the world differently. In a way, it's a poetic transposition of our daily life. I'm also inspired by outlines, blanks, filled shapes. It's finally the most simple things that become the primary materials of by experimentations and visual creations. Every simple life experience thus becomes a source of inspiration. Fluxus art collective pursued the idea of art and life as experimental fields, I was really inspired by this idea at the beginning. I'm also inspired by some writers as Perec, Barthes or Queneau who interrogated the object in a more essential shape. Garment is the best example, I like to mix fashion to my artistic practice as it's a perfect way to experiment our relationship to our body and to time passing. In the end, life is my playground, it animates me in the most simple way and I like to transpose it out of the real.
I often think of this quote from the book Species of Spaces by Georges Perec : "To live is to move from one space to an other while trying as much as possible to not knock ourselves against something".
Could you tell us about the project you did with the Lomo’Instant Square?
The series I realized with the Lomo’Instant Square is called DAILY TOTEM. It's an experimentation on daily objects. For several days, I selected objects, shapes, simple things of everyday life to put them together and to create one day sculptures. We don't forget their primary function, we rediscover them in a equilibrium, color and shape play that transforms reality. These hybrid shapes become new objects, the result of a surrealist experience. I was really inspired by André Breton's surrealist poems for these images: behind the disjointed and unstable aspect of an accumulation of ideas and words there is a real creative writing developed by a divinely crafted intuition. My photographs are like "cadavres exquis" (Exquisite Corpse surrealist game).
You mainly take your photos in a studio, why did you choose this photo approach ?
That's true that I mostly work in the studio but sometimes I also take pictures outside. I worked on landscapes in my series Périphéries Intérieures and Dismissed for example. My creative process is like the one of a visual artist working in a white cube instead as the one of a photographer who captures the instant. I don't shoot the instant, I'm more looking to recreate it, to play it again, to challenge it in a way ... For my projects, I do a lot of research and sketches to prepare the photos. I build my own images according to space, volumes, and, matter. My photographs outcome of arrangements, tensions, equilibriums, colors. My snaps are like experimental building sites, a lab where objects fly, where gestures are upside down, where rules are broken. That's why I work in the studio, it's like an atelier, an artist studio.
Was it the first time you shot with an instant camera?
Yes, it was the first time I used an instant camera for a creative work. I've already used one before for fun though.
What did you think of the Lomo'Instant Square? What do you like about instant photography?
It was a very nice experience to see the photographs develop instantly during my creative process. You have to be rigorous especially for a series like I did where each element is in balance and composition evolves. The fact that I got directly the final image was a very interesting experience to me because I spend a lot of time retouching my image, it was quite a challenge in fact.
What do you like about square format?
Its efficiency, the composition. I won't be able to give a rational explanation and I think we all appreciate different compositions. On my side, I really enjoy the square format and use it a lot. There is something pure and radical in the square format. There is no height and width, the format is raw and we immediately dive into the frame. I really enjoy this.
What keeps you busy now?
At the moment, I'm working on two different new projects, a commissioned work, and a personal project. And also two transversal projects in collaboration with brands and creative people.
I've made my first short movie in spring 2017 and it's shown on different medias right now such as Nowness, Numéro magazine, and Fashion TV. I'm working on my first commissioned videos and a carte blanche project. These new projects allow me to experiment and explore the temporality involved by film regarding the spaces and shapes that I question in my work. This new project is about our relation to time passing and it will take new visual shapes and emotional feelings.
As for photography, I'm currently working on new personal projects. One of them is an experimentation about territory and introspection through portraits and clothing. I might collaborate with a famous fashion designer for this project to find a new way to show it in order to not do a classical exhibition of my prints. Stay tuned!