At only 23 years old, Eloise Labarbe-lafon, a young artist and student of the Sorbonne University of Art History weaves a world of her own. She has an extraordinary technique that mixes photography and painting. She creates unique photos through an alliance that takes us into a dream like world by the choice of its colors. A poetic search through the transformation of mediums.
She is also a model with Cover agency and uses what she has learned in front of the camera to enrichen her works.
IRK meets her and we are curious to learn more about her world and her creative process.
IRK love your artistic universe. Can you describe your influences?
My influences oscillate between contemporary fine-art photography and hand colored postcards from the 1900s.
What are your references in photography / painting? Why this idea of mixing the two techniques?
I really like the work of the Pictorialists, as well as Surrealist photography. I love Hans Bellmer’s hand painted photographs, especially The Doll, inspired by The Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach. Regarding the contemporary photographers, I’m fascinated by Ellen Jane Rogers’ work. She colorizes her prints and she really inspired me a few years ago. I admire the work staged by Gregory Crewdson, as much as the Pre- Raphaelite paintings, which we can also find in photography, for exemple with Ophelia by Joan Foncuberta. My references come from everywhere, but always away from the realistic aspect that people can look for in photography. I have long sought a way to transgress the photographic medium, and it is in this desire to mix techniques that I began to paint my photographs.
You work a lot with the saturation and the desaturation of colors.
Can you tell us about your project « colorization »?
I’m fascinated by color. I love removing the color of the world to give it colors that are mine. Through my project of colorization, I try to create an aesthetic oscillating between real and unreal, by shaping artificial moments. I want to create sensitive dream worlds that I choose to accentuate with a final work of colorization, in order to create an idealized reality.
You studied the history of art, did you discover this technique during your studies at Sorbonne?
I guess my studies allowed me to develop my perception and to immerse myself in the beauty of art, but it is all alone that I’ve decided to go on an experimentation of the medium. I wrote a thesis on experimental cinema and the revelation of the color of the film medium in a random way. I haven’t had an official formation in an art school, so it is with my own means that I experiment and research to develop my practice.
Being a model helps you to lead and guide the models you take pictures of ?
Yes, inevitably, being in front of the camera helps to understand the position of the person I take pictures of, it allows me to have ideas of postures and attitudes to advise my model. It also allowed me to have model friends at hand available for my projects.
Is there a culture of a country that inspires you in particular?
I’m in love with the nature, with the fog and rain of the Highlands in Scotland. I'm also going to Japan in a few weeks, and I feel like Japanese culture will inspire me enormously in my creation. In terms of colors, fashion, atmosphere, landscapes, there is really something there that attracts me, and I hope I will succeed in producing a lot there.
During your shoots what do you like the most?
To see the image in the viewfinder and think about how I could transform the image by coloring it, once the film will be developed.
For your « Diary » project, have you been inspired by your personal story?
The ‘Diary’ tab on my site is a simple accumulation of moments, of everyday life or staged. It’s my personal way of keeping a a diary of visual edge.
What are your future projects? Collaborations?
I am currently working on a series of funeral portraits, on very large formats for the first time. I also work a lot with my boyfriend Xavier Tozzi Fontana (@xavier_tozzi_fontana) and we have several upcoming projects under development.
Bambi - Influencer and model
Booker - Lili Menadiyeva Dyachun