While fashion photography is an industry dominated by digital ways, a handful of photographers around the world still choose to let film add a special touch to their work. One of them is French photographer Angeline Moizard, who relies on the restrictions of analog photography to challenge herself into making fashion snaps that are both as real and unique as possible.
Not a lot of fashion photographers would admit to shooting film because of the constraints that come with it, so with much curiosity, we asked Angeline to share with us her point of view about analog photography, style as a photographer, sources of inspiration, and how film has surprised her in many ways.
Please tell us a bit about yourself, how would you define what you do and why you do it?
Since practicing and working with analogue photography, I have been learning to express myself with pictures. I shoot compulsively things that I find funny; things that touch me and things I want to remember. Friends, beautiful landscapes, travel memories and parties without considering the picture itself too much; I just wanted the picture to be nice. Then, without knowing, photography became a new way of expression for me. I constantly try my best to express myself through my photographs.
Why did you choose film over digital to portray your subjects?
I got my first analogue camera back in 2007 for my 18th birthday but then I bought my first digital camera. It was a relief shooting digital because I no longer felt I had constraints anymore; I was able to try, fail and try again as much as I wanted because I could shoot so many pictures at any one time. Little by little though, I went back to analogue because I missed it so much; it simply wasn’t challenging enough with the digital way. I needed constraints, restrictions… to focus on the subject, the light, the model… I wrote all the settings of the pictures I took in a notebook and I was always looking forward to seeing the results. I love the authenticity of analogue photography; you don’t need to work on the pictures after the scans with software. My aim was to have my pictures be as real and genuine as possible.
Film photography is not often used in the fashion industry, why do you think this is and why have you challenged this notion by doing it yourself?
Digital photography offers a lot more possibilities which I think is needed in fashion photography, whereas analogue can be seen as the restrictive option. Digital offers the biggest freedom with the amount of pictures that can be taken, post-production work etc… I chose analogue because there’s constraints in those areas and personally, I think that helps me grow.
How do you normally direct the models you work with? How do you strike the balance between achieving the results that you have in your mind and showcasing the fashion brand?
A few days before any shoot, I usually talk to the models about what we’re going to do: the spirit of the shoot, the place where the pictures will be taken etc. If I’m working with a brand, I try to choose an environment that best complements the products. I also try to make a decision on whether I’m going to shoot in black & white or color. It’s a combination of a lot of things which help me strike a good balance between what I have in mind and the spirit of the brand that I‘m representing.
What would you consider to be your favourite shoot and why? Can you show us some results?
Last April, I went to the south of France for few days with some friends (one of them is a photographer and an analogue lover too!) We stayed in an apartment right by the sea, just a one minute walk from the seaport. We spent a lot of time shooting everything: life, boats, sailors, sunset… I know it’s not fashion, but it was my favorite shoot: friends, life, sun… that kind of happiness.
Do you have any pictures that surprised you when you saw the scans?
Although we might have an idea of what our rolls will look like, we have no control how a roll will turn out exactly; it’s always a surprise. I was in England last October, I shot just after waking up around 7am in the morning and there was a lot of condensation on the window. I wrote “Hello” with my finger and some drops of water trickled from underneath it. I shot it clueless without knowing that it would result in something really cool. The light was low, my lens opened at f2… I thought it might be blurred, maybe too dark, but when I got the scans back two weeks later I was really surprised and happy with the results. Ever since that day I’ve been shooting impulsively, even if I’m not entirely sure about how the final result might turn out… in the end we can always be beautifully surprised.
Where do you normally find inspiration? Is it an introspective process or do you have external influences in mind when you shoot?
I don’t really have a specific source of inspiration, I actually work like a sponge and anything can inspire me; a place, a woman, a wave, a situation, a movie… For example, I was in NYC last July and I happened to visit The Immigration’s Museum on Ellis Island. I was deeply touched by all the pictures and by the atmosphere found inside. The environment can inspire me a lot, whether it’s the streets or the countryside, I love to have powerful spaces, big meaningful places for a fashion shoot.
There are many photographers I admire too: Vivian Maier, Paolo Roversi, William Eggleston, Helmut Newton, Saul Leiter… but I try to avoid being influenced by their work, I try to do it my own way.
We are all different and have diverse ways of shooting but we would like to know if you have any advice you would like to give to the film photography community members?
Patience, work and love for the analogue way!
For more of Angéline’s amazing photography, please check: