Photographer Martine Malle shared with us some food for thought while we had a “Swide” conversation.
Martine Malle is a New York based photographer renown for her black-and-white print film photographs. However, since 2004 she has explored and adopted digital photography. Her last show The Lost Virgins of Gabriel at the Ennagon Gallery in New York just ended but left anyone who had the opportunity to see it with a desire to know more about the artist and to discover her previous work if unknown. To me she has truly found a way to use digital photography at its best, her work is full of contrasts and is highly emotional. Her photographs reach another dimension thanks to the painting quality effect achieved through archival-pigmented ink-jet prints.
Martine Malle is a great artist, one is rapidly overwhelmed by feelings when looking at her photographs. Meeting with her completed the spiritual journey I had started with the Ennagon Gallery show. I embrace her point of views on many things especially when it comes to what makes her anxious and angry. I could not agree more with her when she mentions the falseness of the society we live in and the lack of romance in our 2010 so-called modern world. Modern, yes, but are we missing out on the most important things?
Interview with Martine Malle
1/ Do you feel you are stealing or capturing a moment with your camera?
MM: Both, these are the main purposes of photography.
2/ Black & white has a “je ne sais quoi” that makes a photo more mysterious, do you not miss this with digital?
MM: Not anymore, with this show I discovered that digital can be as mysterious as black and white. I made the pictures look more like paintings then photographs; I added some depth to them.
3/ You are known for using children as subjects, what do you want to reveal? What are you after?
MM: Nothing really. It is more a connection I have with children that allows me to capture their beauty and innocence.
4/ The lost Virgins of Gabriel show presented at the Ennagon Gallery took us on a spiritual journey where one would discover that from a loss something new could emerge. What was your main source of inspiration?
MM: This show was conceived at a very painful time in my life, during one of those times when you need to be rescued by something. I guess that I have used my camera to express my feelings and to represent loss. I did not plan to shoot these images; they are a spontaneous expression of my emotions.
5/ Some of the photos include your daughter Jade Berreau standing on a beach, why did you choose to paint her body in white and red?
MM: White stands for innocence and hope as red refers to decadence and surrender.
6/ What will you remember from Le Bal des Ardents? What did you want to unveil through your behind the scenes shots?
MM: Including images from the scenes Lola created was a coincidence. I was invited by Lola to take some stills during the shooting and some of them just blended so well with the rest of my showpieces that I decided to feature those as well.
7/ Do you think that the body corrupt the purity of the soul?
MM: Not at all, it just depends on how you use it.
8/ Have we all lost our soul since we are not kids anymore?
MM: Some of us might feel that way. I don’t and I truly think that one’s soul never dies.
9/ As a photographer, do you feel that you are on a mission?
10/ What can we expect after the show at the Ennagon Gallery?
MM: Another expression of my inspiration, I already have one…
11/ Do you feel that you belong to the New York art world?
MM: Maybe you should ask the New York art world that question! All I know is that I heard the word beautiful a lot and that people where somehow fascinated. Many said that they had not seen anything quite like this show before.
Swide ‘s 5 Q/A:
What makes you wake up in the morning?
MM: Hope and curiosity
What makes you angry?
MM: The feeling of being betrayed and abandoned
What makes you nervous?
MM: When a man sees the way he makes me feel
What makes you smile?
MM: Kindness and sweetness.
What makes you sad?
MM: That the world has lost his need of romance, that people now would do anything for money even when it comes to love. That television has ended up being nothing but a funnel for crap and vulgarity. At the age of 53 I feel I have lived more than one life. I am not really a “reason-able” person, I follow my feelings most of the time, it is not always easy but it's always worth it.
Photo credits: Martine Malle.
Sources: Ennagon Gallery.
Text by Delphine Hervieu.