Interview: Sophie Delaporte
By: Alexandra Glembocki
MUSÉE: Your current exhibition “Postmodern Mysteries” explores the intersections of physical space and human personality in fascinating ways. Do you think that people become their environments, or that environments become the people that inhabit them?
SOPHIE: Yes. I love that idea. The places and traces of the past have often been very important in my photographs.
MUSÉE: With environments in mind, what type of environment do you work best in? (In silence, with a certain kind of music playing, etc.)
SOPHIE: Music inspires me a lot. I like empty spaces (bright and tidy), where nothing distracts my attention and where I can listen to loud music (often agitated, English and pop-rock).
MUSÉE: How do you pre-visualize your photographs? Do you create narratives before you shoot?
SOPHIE: I draw. Each photograph is realized from a primary sketch. There is a narrative aspect to my work. My images are constructed around little stories where reality has been diverted. I like the idea of staging things and letting things happen, waiting for the unexpected: an emotion, an accident… they are "in between" moments, unfinished stories. In the images of "Postmodern Mysteries," we don’t know if the action has just happened or is going to happen.
MUSÉE: Is there a particular photograph in the “Postmodern Mysteries” series that stands out to you, or was the most fun and/or challenging for you to shoot?
SOPHIE: The soap bubble ("Before the Crash"), or this little phlegmatic hand with the broken wrist around the world ("Global Nonchalance") were the result of chance. I like the idea that in a very elaborate (and often pictorial) atmosphere appear absurd or "off beat" situations.
MUSÉE: Fashion and art are both playgrounds for expression–how does fashion and working with fashion inspire your art?
SOPHIE: A lot of designers in fashion are true artists. Their work is often very inspiring. Fashion is a sector in the domain where the codes and the "lines" are in perpetual mutation. This obligation to renew and to call things into question is sometimes quite stimulating for creativity.
After, fashion is an element which participates in the construction of the image, like anything else. I have always tried to make my fashion photography not be too "literal"… not to take the genre "too seriously". Trying to keep the sense of humour… a critical view has always been really important to me.
MUSÉE: Much of your work features graceful bodies and bold, energetic colors (particular series in mind–”A Nude with Clothes She Refuses to Wear’ , “Primary Dance” for Bad to the Bone magazine). Is your work inspired by dance at all?
SOPHIE: Yes, I have always been fascinated by the way people move and what this may reflect in their personality. As a teenager, I had the chance to see many performances of Pina Bausch and her view of woman. Her humor has nourished my work a lot.
MUSÉE: The trope of the “muse”–particularly the nude female body as a muse–is an idea that plagues both the art world and the fashion world. How do you feel about the idea of the “muse,” and how do you consider it and try to deconstruct it in your work?
SOPHIE: Woman, and the idea of their representation, is often at the heart of my work. The "Nude" series sought to show an intimate and emancipated view of the female body, and its relationship to clothes. In the "Postmodern Mysteries" series, from the beginning I had the idea of a "lady in red..." and [that it] could be the central thread of this work, which has been built over the years. Curiously, it is fashion and this particular use of the garment that gave the timeless touch to the subject.
MUSÉE: How is being a director different from being a photographer for you? How do you see your moving images as extensions of your static images?
SOPHIE: I find that both are ultimately extremely close. Each time I have been behind the camera, I have been surprised by the simplicity with which it was done. With digital, many fascinating things looming on the side of the moving image. This attracts me a lot. I think for us, it is just a matter of learning to work with new tools..
MUSÉE: You’ve directed music videos for Emilie Simon and Pulpaliscious–what were those experiences like? How did the music inform your visuals? Would you want to direct more music videos in the future?
SOPHIE: I love music. I often listen to music to think about ideas. It's a pretty unique and amazing experience, having to create around a piece of music. Both of these music videos were mainly the result of meetings with artists who loved my world and my pictures. Everything was done in a spontaneous and instinctive way.
MUSÉE: Which other photographers, artists, or brands would you like to collaborate with in the future? [Would you ever consider working with Pantone?]
SOPHIE: I love color and I would love to collaborate with Pantone. I am interested in any brand looking not to do as others. Today I think freedom and creativity are essential to the fashion industry.
MUSÉE: What do you see as your greatest source of inspiration?
SOPHIE: The mystery of life.
MUSÉE: What’s next for you?
SOPHIE: Revisiting my archives and preparing a GIF for Rencontres d'Arles.