Working on pictures I can’t actually show.

Pauline Le Pichon
4 min readJul 5, 2024


Two years ago, I started to work on a series entitled ‘Hors-champ’.
Here’s the note of intent for this project:

When we’re told a detail of a story, we often tend to imagine the whole story. To do this, we draw on our own experiences, on what we know and on what might happen next. We visualise and state what we believe to be true. Yet, we know that our imagination can deceive us.

The relationship between our imagination and the facts, the way the images are displayed, and the viewer’s choice are at the heart of this series. At first, the viewer is presented with a piece of a photograph. By looking at it, they can imagine the whole scene. Then they can approach the box to see the actual story. The viewer can then choose not to go any further (and therefore rely solely on their interpretation) or to discover the truth.

Like my other series, “Hors-champ” questions what lies behind appearances. These installations/photographs, which are both guessing games and tools for reflection, invite the viewer to be surprised and to see things from a different angle.

Hors-champ #1, Pauline Le Pichon, 2023

I love the idea behind this series because it can both make people think about their own experiences and be a kind of game for them.
It also fits in perfectly with my universe and artistic statement, even though this is the first time I’ve mixed photography and installation (I know I need to improve the boxes, but I’m already enjoying the first ‘draft’).
Above all, I really think the images are great.
They’re staged photographs. Some of them are mysterious, even creepy I’d say, while others are more humorous. I take the time to think about them and create them because I want the stories to be surprising, unexpected and therefore really interesting.

When I create photographs, I usually edit them and then publish them immediately on the Internet, because I really like to know what people think of my work. But with this project, it’s much more complicated. I want people to see the images in their entirety at physical exhibitions, so I only publish a detail of the image (similar to what they’ll see in real life) and a few photos of the box.
But this creates a kind of frustration: part of me absolutely wants to carry on doing this, while the other part would like to show the images in their entirety. That’s the paradox of this project.

Hors-champ #3, Pauline Le Pichon, 2024

When you create something, you do it first for yourself and then for the audience. By this I mean that the work of art must first convince the person who created it so that it can also produce the same effect on the viewer afterwards. But as an artist, you also have to share your work with the audience to find out if it works, if you’ve conveyed what you wanted to say. That’s why I’m a bit frustrated with this project.
Only a few people have seen the images I’ve already taken (and most of them have seen them without the box), so I can’t really know if this series is a success.

Hors-champ #4, Pauline Le Pichon, 2024

I intend to work on this series for as long as possible so that there are lots of possible images to see… and also because I think I can make something really cool and thought-provoking. I don’t know if museums/galleries will accept to exhibit “Hors-champ” as the installations are quite “special” (but I’ve been working on this problem so that the boxes can be easily hung on the walls without damaging them).
Obviously, I’ll send the montages and the full images to museums and galleries, so that they know what’s in the boxes. But as for what I post on the internet, I’m thinking of two possibilities: either I continue to post my montages without showing the full images, or I find a way so that the people who want to see the images in their entirety can see them if they wish.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?



Pauline Le Pichon

I’m a French visuel artist, freelance photographer, and instructor