Strong, confident, beautiful – these are some of the words that come to mind whenever we see the work of artist Chantal Convertini. Her photos are an ever-flowing stream of power and creativity and we're glad that she shares them for all the world to see. Coming from a painting and drawing background, Chantal shows us how photography can be used to transform vision into reality. Using the camera as both tool and witness to this raw beauty, Chantal opens the door to us to a place where there's no need to hide.
Hi, Chantal and welcome to the Magazine! What do you do and what got you started in photography?
I am a photographer/artist freelancing since last year, always working on a million different things. I was always interested in creating images, even though I started with painting and drawing. I got my first camera when I was 15 years old and since then, I just kept taking pictures. The transition from just snapping memories to really creating something visually along with my ideas as you do it with a white canvas, or shortly said, using photography as art was a long way.
Why pick photography as your medium?
As I mentioned, I came from a different medium, but still very visual. I loved painting and drawing but the way I discover things that I find fascinating and want to capture that is a faster process than painting or drawing could have ever satisfied. I loved photography for its speed and accuracy. The moment I realized I can create art with it like I could with a piece of paper or canvas, there was no holding back.
Why stay with film photography in this day and age?
Well, the interesting thing is that I came from the other way around. Digital was the new invention of the 21st century and as everyone got excited over it for its obvious advantages, I grew up digitally and till I turned 23, I’ve never had a roll of film in my hand consciously. So for me, it was a new discovery. And to this day I love film for many reasons.
I adore the look and also what I love about the process is that you shoot something “real.” I love that film is tangible and that you have to wait for the images. I'm excited to get my film back every time. It’s like a present you give yourself. Also, film takes away the pressure to immediately get what you want and it’s separating the result from actually creating.
Your compositions are just beautiful. How did you develop your shooting style?
Thank you so much for the compliment. Actually, I don’t know how I got to my style. I'm probably still figuring that out and I hope it will always grow and evolve. But what I can tell is that I am naturally very drawn to light plays. What I mean by that is I don’t have to search for them, they find me. I love the human form and the rawness it has. And all these interests just were the lead of my photos and why I do what I do today.
Another thing we have to point out is your portraits. They are artistic, sensual, and natural. What message do you like to get across with these shots?
I like the idea that I don’t have a set-in-stone meaning to a single shot I take. I rather say that my body of work, in a broader sense, speaks about something. It speaks about self-determination as a woman, being your own muse, a ridiculous standard of censorship, an emotional life, our body as our homes, about heartbreaks and expression of our inner selves…
How do you come up with your concepts?
I rarely have a clear concept in mind. I rather start with a feeling that leads me through a shoot. And I also always let myself become surprised by what is happening right in the moment.
Why do you take pictures?
That is a hard question, but the essence can be spoken of simply, yet the meaning is extremely complicated. All this capturing of images is a desire and a need to understand who I am.
Who are the photographers/artists you look up to?
I adore Marina Abramovic for her determined endless passion for the arts. I love the author Elisabeth Gilbert for everything she writes, same for the poet Rupi Kaur.
I get inspired by dancers and I admire photographers who are bold and courageous, like Vivian Maier or Francesca Woodman were or some of my fellow artist friends like Adina Salome Harnischfeger or Monika Rui Scherrer who tell their story so truthfully and vulnerably.
How are you doing during these crazy times? Any creative projects you've worked on during the pandemic?
My first photography book. It’s almost ready.
What does a perfect day look like for Chantal Convertini?
Waking up early in a beautiful house by the sea, flooded with sunlight, having a few hours for myself to shoot, to write, and then spending the day with beloved people creating, talking, and having fun while inspiring and motivating each other. There are many perfect days for me and I am very grateful that they happen as much as they do.
Any last words for our readers?
Creating is something for the heart, not something for your head.