December Collaborator Juliette Abitbol at home in January 2021.

At the beginning of the new year I went to see December collaborator Juliette Abitbol's shelves on the 6th floor of her beautiful and newly renovated apartment in Gambetta, Paris.
I have known Juliette and Eduard for around three years. We first met on a photoshoot where I had my wisdom teeth removed that same morning. Every time I see them it is the most intense sunshine, even during the middle of a rain filled week. On the day of our shoot Juliette had bought props, her grandmother's collection of Colette books and I read them with her. Since, a conversation has continued about photography, books and how they inspire us. I will share some of the images from the morning we spent, although beautiful Juliette refuses to be photographed. And below a section of our email exchange where we chose the book to send. -Gemma 
Juliette Abitbol was born in 1990 in Paris, France. As a child she grew up devouring the films her mother was passionate about, mostly French and Italian movies from the 1960s and 1970s.
Deeply moved by Carlos Saura's film Cria Cuervos, she became obsessed with the idea of capturing her childhood and adolescence, and she therefore began documenting and recording her surroundings, family and friends.
She studied literature and cinema at La Sorbonne, with a focus on films about childhood and adolescence.
After graduating from university, she entered Gobelins, l’école de l’image to study photography.
Juliette loves to portray women as heroines.
Her work focuses on human relations, female identity, childhood emotions, coming-of-age stories, the Mediterranean Sea... She likes to make her photographs look like memories.
It is very important to her to connect with her subjects, and she is always looking for vibrant colors and emotion.

"What I could add to this, is that my practice spans portraiture, documentary, reportage, fashion and motion pictures. I like to mix genres and try to apply the same sensitivity to my editorial/commercial work than to my personal work when possible.
 What is important to me is to create a relationship with the models, this is how emotions can be created and that is the most important for me. I love to do the casting myself ! I shoot the same models for years, that's how you get to know them and portray them better. 

Cinema has a huge influence on my work as I am passionate about it and always wanted to become a director, but literature is also very important for me as I studied it for years and have always found comfort, and inspiration in books. I think it might be the reason why I love to create narratives in my pictures/series, it's often a mix of staged-narrative, and documentary, spontaneity.

I also love street photography (that I get to practice mostly in Italy and France). I think I was really moved by Carson McCullers for her sense of observation, as it is so important to me. I always observe people in the street, or people which I am intimate with (the way they walk, look at you, their gestures, clothes, the way they do their hair/make-up, their relationship to others etc.), as I love how it can reveal one's personality. In the book it is amazing how she manages to describe so precisely the way of being and feelings of a deaf old man like John Singer, a black doctor like Dr Copeland etc. people who are so different from her. She was so young when she wrote it, it is really impressive, she must have been an amazing observer. I think she has so much empathy, and is so interested in other people that she can get into the skin of anyone she is interested in. That is something that I really admire, and this is how she can introduce the most important topics in her book (how black people are treated for exemple, and many other human and social subjects). If she were a photographer, there would be so much depth and complex emotion in her portraits, we have a lot to learn from her :)

Last but not least I love that it is a woman writer of course, women are my favorite subjects ! I grew up with my mother and sister (later she met my stepfather and now I have a very big family with tons of brothers and sisters ahah) but I think it had a huge impact on me that I was only evolving in a "female" environnement until I was 11.
I love all the characters in the book, but of course I think it's not random that we chose Mick Kelly's knees for the cover. 

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published