After taking us on a trip on the sacred Amerindian land with her series Barefoot on The Sacred Land shot with the Lomography B&W 100 35 mm Potsdam Kino film, we set sail today with Caroline Ruffault to travel to Saint-Malo, in Brittany, France. Let's get a breath of fresh sea air looking at Caroline's photographs garnished with the distinctive swirly bokeh of our new Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII Bokeh Control Art Lens.
Hello Caroline, could you introduce yourself to the Lomography Community ?
I am a photographer and I live by the seaside. I'm interested in nature and the representation of women in images. I love portraits, film soups and opening my camera in the middle of shooting a roll.
Why do you take pictures?
When thinking about it, two things lead me to become a photographer. On one hand, my high school photography club with analogue photography and the darkroom, and then when I moved to Austin, Texas. I really needed to give a meaning to what was surrounding me and photography was the key to that.
Can you explain your project Shegazes to us?
Shegazes is an art zine about woman depiction. After shooting for a fashion brand, I remembered Laura Mulvey's essay: Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. She depicts how women in narrative cinema, almost the only cinema that we know today, are depicted only as objects of desire for the male viewer. As women, we grew watching movies made by men.
Through the mechanism of identification used by cinema in order that the watchers identify with the main character, the women are often in the position of watching other women through the glance of a man, the gaze of the director or of the main male protagonist. Unconsciously, women recreate this cliché they grew up with and which confined them in the same role. On this basis, each time I took a picture of a woman, I started thinking about what I was showing and I realized the political dimension of each photo. Then, I had the desire to go further and share this with other people. Gathering the work of artists who are showing an other vision of women with Shegazes seemed like a good idea to continue this reflection.
What are your sources of inspiration in your work?
A movie, a book, my dreams, Nature, other artists. I recently discovered the work of César Manrique and in particular his work around nature in Lanzarote. He fought against real estate developers to preserve his island, he created amazing places integrated into nature and volcanos. The discovery of his work really inspired me.
If you had to describe your work and photos in 5 words?
Nature, woman, poetry, dream, mystical.
What were your first impressions when you discovered the New Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII Bokeh Control ?
I was very curious to try it. First, it's very beautiful and then, the control ring to intensify the bokeh is very intriguing. I took me much more time to get to know the Sony camera that I did not know.
Could you tell us more about the series you shot with the Art Lens?
I live by the seaside, I went to try it out in the dunes during an afternoon. I wanted to narrate a little piece of summer when time is longer.
What advice would you give to someone using the Petzval 55 mm for the first time?
I find it very interesting to take portraits but also to highlight detail. The lens directs the gaze and I totally imagine myself using it in the middle of photo series for a close-up or to signify a dreamlike feeling.
Some news you would like to share with us?
Call for submissions for the 4th issue of Shegazes are open. The theme is Censorship in social media & Female Body. I want to talk about and show what artists and photographers can do to overcome the nipple censorship and to continue posting their photos.
Find out more about Caroline Ruffault on her website and her Instagram. Don't hesitate to send your submissions to Shegazes at contact[a]shegazes.com, and for more info visit the website and the Instagram of the magazine.