Friday, October 18, 2013

Featured Photographer: Claire Dardaine

"I started taking pictures of my sisters, Mary, Ella and Nika, when I was little and they were babies. I taught myself how to photograph but I sometimes have help from my family and I always ask them for their advice. I guess I trained my eyes to observe things, especially composition and light. I grew up with no TV so I had to imagine and be creative. I was also home-schooled which led me to have so much time to play and invent. I even wrote stories (I have stories I wrote about unicorns when I was six years old), I still sometimes do and I read them to my sisters. I think that my pictures are like scenes from those stories. Being home schooled was one of the best things my parents did for me and my five other siblings. Having no Tv was another very good thing, it teaches you to live differently. We still could watch movies, but not very often. We learned to enjoy books are we created amazing imaginary worlds. My best memories are remembering the places I've seen and been to that were just my inventions in those imaginary worlds. We'd also pretend we were in JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, fighting orcs =) . We'd spend hours playing in the woods, running barefoot, playing in our big tree house, riding horses, drawing, dancing and playing with our neighbors. I liked to close the curtain in my room and place these big pink and blue christmas lights all over my bunk bend, and hang covers from the top, then with one of my sisters, we'd play dolls on there, inventing crazy stories. I wouldn't be the same person without the childhood I had. It is from that that so much of my inspiration comes from. "

"I photograph quite often when I'm at my parents’ house, because my little sisters are there. I am very close to them and my pictures would never be anything without them! They are always willing to model for me and trust me =) they are also courageous to follow me on hikes, cut through thorn bushes, break into abandon houses and even climb inside hollow trees. I don't take pictures of other children...  somehow I don't feel comfortable and my photography becomes less personal."

"I go through periods when I have so many ideas, it can be overwhelming and there are times (less often) where I have no inspiration at all. However now that I'm studying in the city I find less inspiration, especially without my sisters and nature so I don't take that many pictures."

"I have papers all over my room with picture ideas written on them. But sometimes I spontaneously take a picture and sometimes those are the pictures that turn out best. I find inspiration in fairy tales, legends, books, nature, music, movies...and weather (I love storms and wind and all seasons have their gifts to give to my pictures)."

"My sisters love acting and they have done children theater classes. I often tell them what feeling I want to get in the image, what emotions they have to feel and they are so good at modeling! Sometimes I don't even have to explain what I want, they know me so well they understand what I trying to portray."

"For costumes, I try to keep a timeless wear. I don't want people to be able to situate too easily my pictures in time. I find inspiration from all centuries, I tend to have my sisters wear dresses, skirts and I try not to have things such as sweater zippers of modern-looking things but of course there are exceptions."

"I live in the countryside of the Alps in France, but I'm also living in an apartment in a city in the south because I'm studying in an art school and it's my first year. It's really hard living in the city, yes it's fun, but it's noisy and I feel far away from everything I love, I miss being in the countryside when I'm away. I haven't lived in France all my life, I spent part of my childhood in California and Montana. I'm currently living in France and have been living here a while. I was brought up bilingual (French and English), my father is French and my mother is Polish (I'm learning polish at the moment)."

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