PURE PIN UP
Interview and 8 pages portfolio
Elisa, could you tell us how your passion for vintage and this culture has started?
Everything has started with the movies, I discovered Hollywood golden age's films and their aestheticism has changed everything. I always have been a cinema lover and when I was about 18 I randomly came across some old movies. I felt in love with the culture of the 1950s, so much that I felt the need to translate that into my everyday life. I started to attend garage sales, to collect vintage. My style has changed too, and believe me it wasn't that easy at the beginning with no internet, hairstyle tutorials on YouTube, or eBay-Etsy... it was quite a long time ago haha. I was pausing the videos tapes of the movies and trying to understand the make-up and hairstyle, I was doing sketches of their outfits.
An icon that inspires you, a model...
It's hard for me to pick just one icon because my influences are multiple, but if there was only one left, I would choose Marilyn Monroe. She was my first role model, my go-to when I started out and she remained that way for many years.
What was your motivation for this new project (ENGLAND)?
In 2015, I felt like I was walking in circle, artistically and professionally. After being a pro model for over 7 years, I got bored, I have to admits it. I have been lucky to work with many talented photographers and to create all my pin-up fantasies. I felt like I've done it all! You know, the cowboy, the diner waitress, the witch, the bunny, the Christmas pin-up etc. The ideas were not there anymore.
It has been 7 years of pure passion, creation and recreation. I worked on everything, the artistic direction, finding the location, cars if necessary, the stylism, I did my own hairdo and makeup most of the time. I worked very closely with the photographers to realise these visions. It has influenced my professional career because I developed a taste for graphics, website creation, photo editing. I wanted to take it to the next level, so I went back to school, studying multimedia graphics and web design, with the project to go to London when I will have graduated.
What about today ? What are you doing ?
Shortly after graduating I came across an advert. The London-based brand Vivien of Holloway was looking for their Creative and Marketing Director. I already had some freelance experience, so I applied and got the job! I liquidated everything in France in the blink of an eye - my apartment filled with absolutely everything from the 1950s - and left France with my clothes, a few books and my computer. Since that day, I still work for Vivien, I am in charge of all the graphics, the website, the marketing, the social media, and I am also the photographer of the brand. Models and products. My days are pretty full-on!
Do you have more or less long-term projects? Will we have the chance to see you again in France?
The turning point in my artistic career was really my move to London. I became more of an image creator. I had other ideas. I always have dreamed of being a photographer you know. When I was a teenager I was with my mom and we didn't have any money, really. The only financially accessible camera was the disposable 24-frames film camera. I was working with it. No control apart from the framing. But I was having fun! I was photographing cemeteries (I am still doing it, visit the eponymous gallery on my sofarsonoir.com site). One day, I had access to a vintage camera. I bought a film roll and had some friends pose for me, in a 19th-century style with an old carriage by the side of the road. But .... the camera was broken, and the reel never unwound (laughs) nothing on the film ... big failure haha. I realize this passion 20 years later.
I have a lot of photography projects, which have been put on standby this year. My style of photos goes more and more towards the cinema. Slowly I take this path. I even shoot a little “teaser” for each photoshoot now. Cinema is the key. This is what inspired me and immersed me in the 1950s, this is what made me want to start photographing. Some movies are so beautiful that every frame could be a photograph. The composition, the light, everything uses the same rules as for the graphic design. This is why it seems easy for me to switch from one to the other, the medium is different but basically, it’s all the same. When will I come back to France? Not sure that will be soon because I have a lot of other travel projects!
You carry the recognizable British style, how you translate this feeling to identify this English touch in your photos.
Difficult to define a style, I would rather say a universe. Who carries an atmosphere of nostalgia. The contemporary world has never really existed for me, I have always created my own world, without television, without newspapers, without radio ... I developed a passion for the culture, fashion and music of the 60s and 70s shortly before I left for England. I’m always in the past, I only go at my own pace (laughs). 20 years later ...
I don't think my photos would have been the same in France, the culture here is different. This English touch comes from what I feel here and tries to convey through my images. Even though London is constantly changing, you can still catch a glimpse of the past everywhere. Carnaby street is totally different, but the swinging sixties still floats around the city. My photo series don't necessarily take place in the past, I shoot in new locations, sometimes with clothes that are not necessarily vintage, but the atmosphere that emerges carries this nostalgia. There is a vision of the past projected in my images yes. It's a bit like creating a parallel, imaginary universe and make my characters live in it. The people I met here are all from the 60s garage, psychedelic, 1970s rock music scene ... they are sharing the same tastes, we have the same cultural references. That's why it is easy for me to work with them because we share the same vision for the final result of the shoot.
However, now everything that refers to the culture of the 50s in the United States reminds me of my own past, my life in Paris. So I have legitimate nostalgia! I feel it like my own youth (laughs) The mind is a very strange and wonderful thing at the same time!
Paper publications and promotional use.