Aurelien Levitan July 16 2017
I met Albane Navizet when I moved to Los Angeles in early 2004. I was an Actor fresh off the boat.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso
Damaged / Goods X Albane Navizet
Damaged / Goods: Albane, what do you like about working with Americans?
Albane Navizet: I love that Americans are willing to mix and match my ideas and theirs with a youthful, open mind.
Damaged: How did you get into photography?
Albane: Unconsciously, I want to say it was my mother when I was a kid. She loved photographs. She made sentimental, beautiful family albums although she had no money. What a luxury it was! It still is. Look at those awful, cheap selfies people do, what a pity. Also, my grandmother had a “kiosque a journeaux” in Lyon, selling newspapers and magazines that I would devour everyday: Elle, Match, Vogue and etc… I got the virus I suppose. I grew up to become a model and actress for fifteen years, before I turned into a photographer from one day to the next. That was a big education I realized later as I learned immensely being photographed. And my first job as photographer was for French Elle. A lucky happenstance.
Damaged: What was your first assignment as a photo-journalist and how did you get your foot in the door?
Albane: I showed my first photographs to the French “ELLE” magazine Art director Fouli Elia, and was hired on-the-spot to take pictures the same evening of French star Dalida. Editor Anne Chabrol asked me to surprise her with a different image of the famous singer. I guess she liked my vision as I worked for her spread every week till I left Paris to Los Angeles. It was then that I honed my craft-----as fast as I could.
Damaged: What was your first camera and when did you get serious about taking pictures?
Albane: My then husband gave me a Nikon F4 as a gift and it’s only when it was stolen 6 months later, I realized it had been a very good friend. I bought another one and took portraits for a month, gathering a dozen B&W prints in a box and showing them.
Damaged: Are you sentimentally more attached to Analog photography vs Digital?
Albane; I use a digital Canon 5D camera with a great lens for colors. I think that everyone got used to digital’s practicality and looks. With a bit of experience I got the results I’m looking for which all come from my use of available light. I rely on labs for retouching and color correction when needed, as it’s not my job. I still use Tri-X films for my B&W as nothing can beat its gorgeousness and it’s exquisite grain. I use this film with my old FM2 Nikon camera which has manual focus. Yes, manual focus! Is it sentimental? For me it’s also sensual.
Damaged: Your lens has captured the spirit of an era that an entire generation is inspired by. What advice would you give to a young photographer starting out?
Albane: Excuse me but it’s my observant eye and not my lens that has captured ‘the spirit of an era’. Therefore, I’d say ‘doesn’t mater your lens-- look and shoot. Observe, see and shoot. And again.’
Damaged: How does music influence your work and who are you listening to at the moment?
Albane: Any kind of music is great if it can help someone feel better in front of a camera. I’ve loved a lot of different ones. Right now, I don’t know who are the artists my 18 and 15 granddaughters listen to when in the shower. But it’s loud and great.
Damaged: What is your take on our generation’s obsession with public figures?
Albane: Haven’t people been obsessed with public figures forever? I agree it's more accessible now than in Moses’ time and his 10 commandments. The innocence captured in my pictures belongs to me, to my perspective. I’m happy to share it with the entire world.
Damaged: Please tell us more about your series ‘ARTIST’?
Albane: I wanted to share a show in a gallery with friend painters, Muriel Boris, Tracy Effinger and Greg Lauren; present my photographs of them with their paintings. During the shooting sessions in their studios, I asked them to spontaneously paint on themselves and with my help too. To my surprise and delight, at the end of each shooting, my three artists had the same reaction, which was a reluctance to wash the paint off their skin, wanting to wear it a little longer. Perhaps, as Miro said, we had for a moment ‘recovered all the forces of childhood’.
Damaged: What is your take on the hyper sexualization of the female body in American culture?
Albane: The problem is hypocrisy around nudity. To show or not show or pretend you didn’t show anything or showing everything or just a little.
What’s your damage?
Albane: Both my parents were deaf. I learned a lot from them and in particular --- to never look without seeing.