Laurence Philomène, the Canadian photographer who is known for her work about gender free and diversity will have her first solo exhibiton, Non-Binary Portraits, in Berlin next month. Presented by one of our favourite blog, Curated by GIRLS, the exhibition will take places at coGallerie in berlin Mitte. It was the perfect timing to seat down with Laurence and ask her a bit more about her work.
KALTBLUT: When and why did you start photography in the first place? Laurence: I started taking photos when I was around 14 – I was collecting Blythe dolls and I started taking photos of them and putting them up on Flickr. From there, I started experimenting with self portraiture and taking photos of my friends after school etc. I feel like photography was really an escape for me in high school, I met this whole community of young photographers online and we would talk every night, critique each other’s photos and encourage each other. Now most of us are professional artists.
KALTBLUT: Why do you think that challenging gender stereotype is so important nowadays? Laurence: I guess the motivation behind a lot of my work comes from asking myself: what do I want to see in the photo world that I’m not seeing right now? So that’s how my non-binary series came about. For me it’s about creating the representation that I want to see.
KALTBLUT: A lot of your work is about showcasing diversity and underrepresented individuals, what are you inspirations? Laurence: My friends! I always answer this and maybe it’s a boring answer but it’s true. Everyone I photograph is a friend, friend of a friend, or an artist I admire. I’m inspired by people who are relentlessly themselves.
KALTBLUT: What is the message you want to get across to viewers of your work? Laurence: I always want people to feel a sense of calm and validation when they look at my work, if possible.
KALTBLUT: You use a lot of colors in your photography, which I really love. How do you describe your creative process? Laurence: Over the years colour has really become a central point to my photography – so of course when I’m creating an image colour is usually the first thing I think about. But in general my approach is very go with the flow – I’ll create a setting with whoever I’m photographing and then just see what happens. I use to really pose everyone I photographed but now I like to capture more candid moments.
KALTBLUT: You have your first solo exhibition in Berlin coming up: Non-Binary Portraits. What’s the concept behind it? Laurence: Yes! Curated by Girls is organizing a solo exhibition of my series “Non Binary Portraits” – this is a body of work I’ve put together over the last year by photographing my friends, fellow artists, etc, who identify as non-binary. The concept behind each shoot was to ask the subject what their favourite version of themselves is/would be. As someone who identifies as non-binary myself, I wanted the series to be a celebration of non-binary trans people who tend to be under represented in mainstream media.