A few weeks ago, I went on holiday to Normandy for a couple of days.
In this crazy year, I needed a break even if it was a short one.
I only left for 4 days but I’ve been incredibly creative and have taken a lot of photographs.
I‘ve been very stimulated by what I’ve seen.
It wasn’t the first time, and I had already vaguely talked about my “holiday” photographs in a previous article, but this time it was even more intense.
And it made me think about my work and my use of photography as an artist.

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Pauline Le Pichon, Deauville & Honfleur, 2020

In this article, I won’t talk about my creativity as a freelance photographer because in this case, I always create according to what the clients want to have, it’s their desires that come first and then I put my little personal touch to the works. My creativity is therefore already different.

Here, I‘m gonna talk about the (strong) nuance between my creativity as an artist and the photographs I produce when I go on holiday, because these are two situations where I’m the only decision-maker.
As an artist, my work deals with certain limits related to the photographic medium: notably those that (may) exist between reality and fiction, between photography and cinema, and between candid photography and staged one. In short, I really like to play with the codes of photography and ask questions to the viewer.

In my work as an artist, I take my inspiration from real life and then create fictions (fictions mean : staged photographs that I construct from A to Z).
I imagine a story (as part of a series) and then I think about the composition of the image, the poses of the model(s), their expressions, their movements, their clothes…
At the same time, I also think about the scenery, the light...
I don’t create images for the sake of creating images (well of course, there’s always the pleasure of doing so) but also and above all I create them for the questions I want to raise.
For example, I’m fascinated by the way we re-create ourselves on the social networks, constantly showing that we always live a really really cool life (when it’s totally false) and I know that this plays a big part in my work.
I like to make people think about the way we control our appearances.

I always think of my images (as an artist, I say that again because it matters in this article) as tools to make people think.
This way of doing things came to me thanks to my studies (I studied in a fine art school from 2009 to 2014) since I was taught how to construct my work through my own messages.

It’s hard to explain but my creativity as an artist is always generated in relation to that. There’s always a back and forth between my production and my intentions.

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Pauline Le Pichon, Dialogues & Interstices #2, 2015

But when I came back from Normandy, and started sorting and editing my photos, I realized that I’d been just as creative, but in a very different way.
It wasn’t the first time, but in this case, it was even more marked in terms of inspiration and therefore quantity as well.

When I go somewhere, I don’t rule out the possibility of making staged photographs there (I’ve already done so, but I’d thought about making the image long before I left).
But what usually takes precedence when I‘m on holiday are the photographs I take instinctively. I walk somewhere, I see something that catches my eye (a blue piercing sky in a dark alley, a bird on a cable, foliage that seems to come out of a house…) and immediately I shoot.
These are photographic wanderings, which remind me a little of a course I had when I was a student, where we had to walk around the city and had to photograph the elements that had been moved by human beings (without intervening ourselves on the elements). We never knew what we were going to stumble upon, sometimes the hunting was good, and sometimes not good at all. But I really liked this exercise.

There’s something of a “Let it go” attitude in this kind of photography.
You’re not under pressure, you let yourself be led.
Careful, I’m not saying that my work as an artist is necessarily done under pressure, but I know that I think waaaay more carefully about the link between my intentions and my production. There’s no slackness. I expose my work as an artist. It’s one of my main jobs, so of course I pay much more attention to it.

When I take photographs during these wanderings, I don’t try to convey messages, but I don’t necessarily try to make beautiful images either.
I take photographs because I like what my eyes see and because I want to freeze the moment (so cliché).
I’m much more in a documentary approach than in my work as an artist.
I like the idea of photographing events and details that people don’t necessarily pay attention to. Without any pretension.
I don’t interfere with what’s in front of me, and when the photograph needs to be retouched, I do as little as possible. There’s no longer any question of lying, I definitely take the side of showing what really existed.

Reading my own words, I have the impression that these photographs are/were taken by two different persons. Day and night around the same medium.

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Pauline Le Pichon, Honfleur, 2020

At the moment, I still don’t know what to do with the images produced during my wanderings. For several reasons: I’ve considered posting them on my website but between my activity as an artist and my activity as a freelance photographer, I’m afraid that it will become too messy.
Also, the fact that there’s nothing behind these images bothers me a bit. I mean I don’t have any explanation to give as to why I created these images, and apart from saying that they are images taken from photographic wanderings, I don’t really know how to define them at the moment.
As if they don’t have enough legitimacy at the moment.

Yet I love these photographs as much as the photographs I create as an artist, because in both cases I can test my abilities, challenge myself.
In fact, they form an alternation that do me good.
I like to do these wanderings without thinking about the final result, and then I like to get back to work, to look for the next image to stage.

I leave you with a few more images from my Normandy walks, don’t hesitate to give me your opinion.

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Pauline Le Pichon, Deauville & Honfleur, 2020

French visual artist

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