Short bio: Anne-Sophie Guillet (b. 1987, Oxford, UK) is a French photographer based in Brussels, Belgium. She graduated in 2013 with an MFA in visual arts/photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. In 2013 she received the Roger De conynck/roi Baudouin Fondation Prize. Through her works she explores and questions the enigma of identity. Her work has been exhibited in various places in Belgium and her work entitled « Inner Self » is currently shown at the galerie Satellite in Liège, (Be). This summer she is going on an artist residency of two months in rural Japan to develop a new body of work.
Why do you photograph on film? The use of medium format camera has become a systematical choice in my work. A heavy camera on a tripod maintains a particular connection with time and has a sustained presence. The camera mamiyarz67 creates a deep, sustained engagement, resulting in an intimate and detailed picture. The images become charged with meanings. The small amount of shots implies a very meticulous method and patience as well as a very precise choice in the framing. I wouldn’t picture myself using a digital camera, the connection with the camera seems far too different and inappropriate with my approach to photography.
What is your work about? « Reminiscence » : It is a tribute to a time and a place which both marked my childhood – my maternal grandmother’s house located in a small village – Mesland, in France. Since she passed away in 2011, her home is left empty, abandoned. Her loss has been the triggering factor which produced in me this sudden need to register by capturing images before her memory or the memory of the place frays over time.The act of photographing gives me the opportunity to keep in memory what isn’t immutable or lasting. Everything that surround us comes into being, grows and dies and we cannot do anything against it. One tries to accept it by becoming aware of the impermanence and vacuity of each thing; by taking pictures of the absents trace I aim to absorb its presence.While I was traveling these landscapes surrounding her village, it provoked feelings within me on identity viewpoint. I could recognize a part of my roots, my identity. The region of the Loir-et-Cher, is known for its singular pictorial light. From the series one can note the influence of dutch painting of the 17th with such landscapes. Taking self-portraits in landscapes allows me to enter myself physically and to invite the spectator to contemplate the view. The contemplative state gives a proximity to nature, it permits us to fly free from our emotions and to immerse in a deeper reality for every individual. It is a way which allows to subscribe ourselves in the present moment and it could induce to the unutterable union of the meditative state. In his collection of poems « Les contemplations » Victor Hugo sees in the contemplative act, a door to happyness, love and remembrance. Facing the landscape, with an idiosyncratic mean, I manage to sink in my unconscious and I bring back souvenirs, emotions which come to express themselves and to print them in images with the help of a camera. « Souvenirs, memory, that spurt out from within, are made of things which have been kept within ourselves and which from within, scroll in front of our minds. They fill us up, tortures us and delights us.» ¹ The function of memory bonds us with things that have disappeared of our conscience, they have become subliminal. Memory is a faculty of replication of the unconscious content.¹ Carl Gustave Jung in chapter 3 of “l’homme à la découverte de son âme”.