How do you reduce 782 applications into a curated selection of 10 photographers ?
Where is photography going today ?
Can the promise of future creation outweigh present output ?
I wouldn’t want to have to answer those questions, but the Hyères photo jury had to.
Photographers, curators and critics met under the guidance of photography director Michel Mallard and his team on January 31st to chose 10 photographers whose work would be featured at the 27th edition of the Hyères Fashion + Photo Festival, a festival which revealed in the past talents such as Sølve Sundsbø, Cédric Buchet, Robbie Rodriguez, Caroll Taveras, Linus Bill and 2011’s winner Anouk Kruithoff.
The 2012 photo jury, first row from left to right: Michael Wolf, Carla Sozzani, Michel Mallard, Second row: James Reid, Aaron Schuman, Hans Gremmen, Raphaelle Stopin, Anne-Céline Jaeger, Back: Jason Evans.
So first they looked.
Then they talked.
And finally they argued.
And then they questioned their choice and started the process all over.
Until at last, they had 10 photographers, from 3 continents.
Of course, come April 27th when the festival starts, these photographers will be competing for the jury’s attention, engaging in a series of one on one interviews and portfolio discussions in the Villa Noailles’ covered galleries, facing a cubist garden.
And yet the ability to spend quality time with high level professionals, to be exhibited next to the works of other 2012 exhibitions such as Inez van Laamswerde + Vinoodh Matadin and Jason Evans is a reward in itself…
Below our office window in the mythical Villa Noailles, people sprawl in the gardens, visit exhibits and discover new designers and photographers. Creative stimulation everywhere. The yearly invasion of Hyères, a sleepy town in the Côte d’Azur, is at its peak, with this micro-festival gaining even more attention by the international press.
On the secluded terrasse in front of us, Raf Simons, the President of this year’s jury, sits in the shade of an umbrella having conversations with numerous journalists, while simultaneously the crowds gather and mingle: headhunters, designers, buyers…
Christopher Kane is here, teamed up with Carla Sozzani of Vogue Italia, Jack and Lazaro of Proenza Schouler came in from NY to have a look at the 10 designers’ work.
All Photographs by René Habermacher
“It’s very much about contrast: My work is always focused around the vulnerability of women. I play with it, I try to hide it or extend, to show it or protect it. This collection is really about my most vulnerable moment because I ended love after nine years of relationship. I thought I should speak about this in my own language which is fashion. In the beginning it was all black. But later on in the process I was getting better and was seeing the good things about my situation:
Life goes on and there is so much in the world, so I said to myself don’t worry so much! The world is sad enough, so bring some light!
So I brought that into the collection by using white and Swarovski elements and my favorite materials silks and leathers, to work the contrast between fluidity and the protective. The silhouette is very tall from the waist on, so it looks a little surreal and dramatic.”
“The last thing that stimulated me was just my surroundings I guess. I am having a lot of fun lately and I am really enjoying this festival: it gives me energy and I want to move on and work and do something with this feeling of being selected and being a little proud to be so. It’s a good feeling, so why not do something with it.”
“We always help each other on our own collections, but this is our first official collaboration.
We met in high school while studying for our baccalaureate in applied arts. After that we pursued fashion design in different schools–I was at Duperre and Juliette was at Chardon Savard. We lived one year apart and then moved in together in order work together. In fact, the collection that we are presenting in Hyères, is a collection that we made during the time that we shared an apartment.
As for the collection…our starting point was a scarecrow. Using the image of the scarecrow we started to explore the feminine silhouette. Eventually we turned this silhouette upside-down and reworked all of the different facets of it. We were also inspired by cubism so, in the collection, there is the idea of a double body–like one body superimposed on another. For example the shoulders have large proportions and are backwards, the skirts are divided in two and are skewed –so all of the body parts are somehow decontextualized. And we see the real body underneath or in the back, usually highlighted with bright colors. All of this creates disproportional, unhinged silhouettes. Plus, the wooden shoes for the collection create a strange walk”.
“The last thing that stimulated us — Well…the festival! And getting the chance to show our first collaboration. Since we were at different schools, we never had the chance to realize a project together and it is the energy of our duo that motivated us”.
“I try to make a spirit army with no nations and no faces. My collection is a lot about shame and pride and the feeling of guilt.
It’s also about how to use the past in the present and the future and learn from it. This is my graduation collection. At the university in Berlin we do one each semester but this is the biggest one and the first with so many pieces. Though it’s a men’s collection, I showed it on women as well in the past.”
“The last thing that stimulated me was the film HOLY MOUNTAIN. That’s one of my favorite films. But right now I am looking a lot at Easter bunnies because I saw DONNIE DARKO. I use a lot of film and music in my work and literature.
Holy Mountain was part of the inspiration for this collection but mostly the colonial history of my home country Denmark. Because when I moved to Germany I found out I didn’t know anything about it, so the research for the collection started in Iceland. I went for a residency to Reykjavik and collected pieces of each culture that was under Denmark. It’s more like a typology of cultural pieces that I tried to put together.”
“The collection that I am presenting is the collection that I presented for my graduation at Lacambre last year. It’s called CEMETERIES ARE FIELDS OF FLOWERS. I am using a lot elements from cemeteries that interest me like wood, tombstones, mausoleums, bouquets of flowers, the contrast between wrought iron structures and the landscape. These elements, reworked in the materials used for the collection, provided me with really organic shapes–somewhat like trees that climb stones in the cemetery for example. There is a lot of embroidery in the collection as well.
Here in Hyères the defilés are much more structured then at Lacambre. But actually, my show at Lacambre was one of the more simple, subdued shows, so the Hyères show fits really well for me. I like when it is rather simple.”
“The last thing that stimulated me last: I want to finish my collection for Hyères! I am developing new pieces reworking some of the existing pieces and I think it will add a lot to the collection and that it will be better.”
One of our favorite events here at The Stimuleye is the Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival, held yearly at the Villa Noailles. Since 2007, each year the festival asks me to make a teaser to give a glimpse of the upcoming festivities.
There are always so many things happening simultaneously at the festival, that it’s hard to follow it all. This year shouldn’t be any different, with the addition of a new, long-in-the-making permanent exhibit about Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, the Villa’s inhabitants and art patrons.
So, because I thought it would be good to start at the beginning, go through the middle, and stop at the end, here’s everything you need to know about Hyères in 2 minutes 6 seconds to be ready for the 26th edition.
The Stimuleye crew will be going to Hyères…more to come soon. See you there ?
Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival,
April 29 – May 2, 2011
Villa Noailles, Hyères
Exhibits until May 29th.