The boundaries between fashion and art have always been blurred, and in the context of fashion photography, few have appropriated their contentious crossover better than Damien Blottière. The Paris based artist re-imagines fashion imagery as we know it, combining the media of photography and collage, to craft a truly inspiring aesthetic. The common thread and the driving force that runs throughout Blottière’s work is desire to champion the beauty of the human body; simultaneously representing and dissecting the form, he transports us to a new dimension, in which we can almost see through the subject. The photographer/artist/innovator chats to CHASSEUR about his unique creative process, his perception of beauty, and the challenges of new technologies.
One could say that your images are the product of both a spectator and a creator. Which of these roles do you identify with the most and why?
Unlike the photographer, I use photography as the raw material for my compositions, in the same way that a painter would prepare his colours. The fact that I could qualify as a voyeur sometimes seems, to me, essential to the construction of my images and allows me to appropriate a form of reality. I therefore could not separate the roles, since one feeds the other.
How did you discover collage as an art form?
At first, I was more interested in painting and sculpture, but these media didn’t lead me to satisfactory results. So I switched the brushes for scissors, working on my compositions from magazine images first, and then, from my own photographs.
Indeed, there is a metaphorical side to my work. It’s from associations and substitutions, and reassembly, that I re-compose my subjects to give them another sense of reading. The composition may be more or less complex, more or less evident, depending on the subject, and allows me to project my own fantasies with some form of restraint. I like working around the ideas of sensitivity and resentment, especially when I work around the body. I create my own story through a collage or a series of collages. Everyone can interpret it in their own way; in fact sometimes I share my pictures with others and I realize that their reading of it may be totally different from the idea that guided my inspiration.
How would you define beauty?
I would define beauty as a perception that strikes your senses deeply and leads you to contemplation- a sensual impulse that does not belong to reason.
We love your fashion films. How would you compare working with moving images to your usual creative process?
This is an issue on which I am working at the moment. In the past, I hadn’t given the thought of videos much time. When I was asked to make a video as a relay for an internet platform of a magazine, I found the idea interesting and exciting- at the time this format was growing a lot (and still is). I saw it as a way to experiment with collage and its three-dimensional manifestation, with movement and the metaphorical aspect we were talking about. It made sense to me. But translating my collages to this format- still working by hand, on paper and without any software- has become far too ambitious. Once, I had to produce over three hundred collages for a few seconds of animation. It’s totally crazy, especially considering the short deadlines that are given to you. I will continue to look at the video medium as a possible channel for my work but I want to work with a team and share creative processes, so that the talents of each person can connect to create an appropriate outcome.
Fashion and art do have common roots. From the salon of Madame du Deffand to Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli or Yves Saint Laurent, arts have mingled and ideas have been exchanged between them. But Haute Couture is from another world; art and ready-to-wear have probably less ideas to exchange today. Attempts to combine the two are these days, in my opinion, the result of marketing intentions, lacking cultural or intellectual values. The common place in both markets only concerns few people, who are involved in the business I suppose. Regarding fashion, I find it much more interesting to dwell on how it can simultaneously support the work of craftsmen and develop techniques and fabrics with amazing qualities that are the future of this industry.
Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline for the rest of 2015?
In two years my age will be entering a new decade; which will coincide with one decade of publications and commissions of my work. I’m actually thinking of a project that will celebrate this anniversary. This is one of my most exciting projects at the moment.
As featured in Chasseur issue #10 – LOVE ALONE (SS15)