Maïa Etchart Lyon, France
I’m born in Paris in 1981. I’m currently living and working in Lyon, France.
I’m an artist photographer and photography teacher.
I studied art and photography, amongst others, in Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Photographie of Arles (High National School of photographie), France, from 2005 to 2009.
My photography practice is in the same time personal and experimental, I use in parallel conventional and unusual, artisanal photographic process.
The pictures I send to Laatikkomo are a part of a really recent work in progress.
It is about a continuation of melancholic and contemplative pictures, an oscillation between surface and depth.
Maïa Etchart was chosen by photographer Violaine Chaussonnet
Laatikkomo’s interview with Maïa Etchart August 6th, 2016
L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?
M.E.: I was born and I grew up in Paris. Of course the beauty and classicism of this city marked me.
The landscapes of Seine-et-Marne (a region in northeast of Paris) are also important for me. That’s a rural area, with wide spaces and melancholic skies. I saw this region little by little gnawed by a lot of industrial, commercial and suburban parks.
Still, the Basque and pyrenean landscapes are meaningful to me (a bushy vegetation, lots of water and farming).
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
M.E.: When I was a child my family didn’t have television at home (it was a choice).
So, I looked at a lot of books with pictures : books for kids or teenagers, comics and … photographic books. My earliest memory of photography are these photographs I greedily looked at in my father’s photographic books (the french humanist photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson or Robert Doisneau).
L: You use a very wide range of photographic techniques from cyano to polaroid, film and digital. Do you have a favorite technique or is each technique the reflection of a different project?
M.E.: Firstly, I have to say that all photographic techniques (poor or advanced, old or high-tech …) are fantastic games to makes pictures. A camera or a process, whatever it is, is always a thingy to make pictures.
But I like and use processes with whom I can access photographic matter. I’m unsatisfied to work only with screens (in fact I use almost never high-end digital camera, too much perfect and immaterial to my taste). Obviously, hand-made processes and experimentations help for this comeback towards the matter.
Of course I really like all the process I use … even if, for a quite some time, I have a special interest for processes by contact (with no camera, then with no perspective).
However, each project ‘calls’, requires a particular technique.
L: Nature, in different forms, often appears in your images but you also have projects which focus uniquely on geometric forms. Are these two completely different, or parallel, concepts that you are working with? Or do you see them as being more connected?
M.E.: For me these two concepts are deeply connected. The Nature is a wide repertory of forms and geometrical forms.
The geometrical forms in my work are echo of natural forms, but separately treated, for them self like in the series Planes or Tissure.
And the apparition of geometrical forms in the reality, and precisely the vision of it, is like a melancholic contemplation. That’s what happens with the photographs I show with Laatikkomo.
L: The subjects of your work are taken from familiar settings, careful observations of your daily life, but they also have a playfulness. What role does experimentation and play have in your work?
M.E.: The play is a state of mind, a posture in front of world.
It allows a very serious lightness and delight and joy, in particular in the meeting with the light.
And the experimentation is a way of questioning and of working the photographic medium : the photo sensibility and the appearance, the relationship between the surface and the depth.
By way of experimentation I shall speak rather about research. It allows me to find a just shape.
L: Your use of saturation and depth of field are two formal aspects that are particular in your work. The wide focal range in your images gives your images a veiled appearance as if they are a distant memory or from a dream world. Is this a trait of a particular lens that you are using or are you developing this appearance through other techniques?
M.E.: This veiled appearance is the result of the conditions of shooting : point of view, lens, aperture, speed, light … I don’t use any specific pictures treatment.
That’s a fact I really like the wide focal. I have the feeling that the wide focal allows me to really photograph what I see, with the right distance and enough space.
L: What is one of the most important questions that you ask yourself, or would like to inspire others to ask, through your photographs?
M.E.: I would like that the others’s eyes glaze over.
L: Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?
M.E.: Surface, depth, melancolia, forms, folds, hidden.
Thank you so much Maïa!