French photographers Quentin Honoré and Léa Michaëlis are developing different photographic approaches. While the former is interested in the emotional charge of a moment, the latter seeks to capture the surrealism of everyday life. These are our readers picks #264.

Quentin Honoré

Born in the North of France, Quentin Honoré now lives in Paris, where he works as an art director. He turned to photography for the first time during his teenage years. He was then working in a metalworking industry, to pay for his trips, and became more and more fascinated by the industrial world. “I then started studying visual communication in Lille, and thus my first projects were born, he tells us. I was lucky enough to live near Roubaix, and its many industrial wastelands.” Now, the photographer focuses on light, and on the emotions emanating from his pictures. Throughout his travels, he produces delicate images, charged with memories. “Three of these pictures are from my holiday in Andalusia, during the summer of 2018. On the marina, I was surprised by a morning fog, which gave a serene atmosphere to this seascape”, he remembers. The last photo, a darker one, illustrates his first few hours in Lima, Peru, spent in a cab, as he landed. “On my way, I observed the poverty of some neighbourhoods. This picture symbolises a sign of benevolence as well as foresight… It is reminiscent of faith, religion but also violence”, he says. A series of strong moments, seized and kept carefully.

© Quentin Honoré

Léa Michaëlis

Léa Michaëlis, 20, from the South of France, is now based in Paris. “I started taking photographs when I was 9, encouraged by my father. From a very young age, I started taking portraits of him. Practice helped me exorcise his illness, that I had trouble understanding, while showing him my love for him, the young woman remembers. I’ve always been fascinated by the arts. I takes pictures, I write and I paint. For a while, I directed videos and played music as well. But photography has been with me forever; I am interested in other people’s flaws, in unexpected or supressed details. I try, with every image, to reveal people’s true nature”. In July 2019, Léa Michaëlis was lucky to meet and work with Charlotte Abramow during a workshop at the Rencontres d’Arles. “I felt like this was the best encounter of my life”, she remembers. During this period, she produces Les Doutes (Doubts, ed.), a photographic exercise assigned by the Belgian artist. The aim was to create absurd and surreal photos of everyday life. “I wanted to capture people I didn’t know, as if I’d known them for a long time. I removed my subjects’ inhibitions by adding objects”, she explains. “I like people who question their own existence, and the world around them. To me, those who don’t doubt are only suffering. What is vital and intense in doubt, is that once it is gone, we can run towards our goals, who we are meant to be”, she concludes.

© Léa Michaëlis

Image d’ouverture : © Quentin Honoré