Woman Crush Wednesday: Anne-Laure Autin
Interview by Hoon Jeon
Project: Blood Line
How does the the series 'Blood line' relate to you?
I created Blood Line while my dad was alive but dying, to talk of how terminal illness changes communication and identity, and I photographed my daughters; I suppose you could say they were a surrogate of sorts, and it was a collaboration they chose to do, they were very invested in the project. The idea was that he experienced the disease, I processed what I saw and felt, and they embodied that. It was a very healing experience at the time for everyone. The girls and I would talk a lot about their grand-pa and the questions they struggled with. Shooting was never a sad time, as we would always feel really connected then, together and to him. I really noticed making this work how much of a hinge I was between my dad and my girls: literally, purely by lineage, but also in communicating, and emotionally, and now even through Blood Line itself.
How did you come up with the idea of print alteration? and how does it add more value to the aesthetics of the work?
I visited my dad in France the last year of his life almost every month, for a short week each time. Very quickly I saw how the cancer overtook not only his body but also his home, first with meds on every counter top, then boxes of feeding tubes in the bedroom, bottles in the fridge, serynges in the sink, seat in the bathtub, oxygen backpack in the corridor etc. The disease and the medicalization were absolutely inescapable, also visually. That’s how the idea of incorporating medical supplies onto the prints came about, and it was a very important part of both the concept and the creative process. The alterations also add a physical dimension to the work, and a tactile one too - I hope they facilitate the connection from the viewer, that it makes it “more real”. If you touch the suture thread, you feel it roll under your fingers as you follow the Morse code message it spells; there’s viscerality in me repeatedly slashing a print with a scalpel; it is my own blood that I’ve used to subtly paint onto a photograph... My work is conceptual and totally staged, but the alterations help convey that this was nevertheless very real.
What does family means to you?
First and foremost it means my husband and our daughters - we have lived for so many years in different countries/continents than our respective families, so in ways we learned to rely solely on ourselves, simply because no-one else was physically there. Family doesn’t mean “Blood” per se. It is people I would do anything for, no questions asked. And people who make me feel I am accepted and loved for all that I am, at my best, at my worst, and anything in between.
How would you describe your creative process in one word?
If you would teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
On how to accept and grow from failure.
What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
“The Buddha in the Attic”, by Julie Otsuka (I read it in French “Certaines n’ avaient jamais vu la mer”). There is no specific narrator, you hear the collective voice/ the different voices of the Japanese “picture brides” who were shipped off to the US in the early 1900’s. I have always loved the idea that we are all different and yet all the same as well; this book hits it just right.
What is the most played song in your iTunes Library?
I rarely use iTunes. But the most played song in our house would be one by BTS as both my girls have been KPop fans for years, and some days it seems it’s all I ever hear...
How do you take your coffee?
I don’t - I drink tea, no sugar nor milk.
For more information about Anne-Laure Autin, click here.