Fascinated by palm trees, concrete, and coldwave – a musical genre born at the end of the 70s, made popular by David Bowie – Elie Villette started taking pictures in 2014, in Casablanca. “My ex-boyfriend lived in an Art deco building. He was bipolar, and would spend days locked inside. I started to put on a performance, dress up and invent a parallel reality”, the 32-year-old French photographer remembers. Male body may be absent from the series San José Del Cabo, but it still tells an intense and tragic love story – taking place during quarantine. “I was in Mexico at the start of the pandemic, and I fell in love with a man, Joaquin, in San José del Cabo, a city located at the south of the Baja California peninsula. He invited me to quarantine with him. I witnessed the beaches of the seaside resorts empty. It eventually highlighted the silent beauty of the small town’s old modernist houses. The city had become so quiet that we could hear the waves from home. And then, Joaquin left me. I flew back, and I cried a lot”, the artist tells us. Inspired by the modern lines of mid-century architecture and by absurdity – assuring him that our existence is futile – Elie Villette builds a sensual and urban universe.
© Elie Villette
Margaux Chalançon, a 27-year-old photographer discovered photography during a trip to Lebanon, in 2014. “I had taken my grand-father’s old analog camera with me. As soon as I started using it, I knew to take my time before pressing the shutter release. I always think about my image’s composition before anything else – it has to be simple and minimal”, she tells us. From Mediterranean descent, the artist has placed the region at the heart of her work. Whether she captures Greek, Italian, Corsican or Lebanese landscapes, her pictures release an invigorating warmth, reminiscent of the South. “I seek a common aesthetics transcending borders, through certain colour palettes, lights, sceneries, architectures and plants”, she explains. In her images, the notions of presence and absence blend together and play with our perceptions. They reveal what is hidden and conceal the obvious. A colourful and soothing collection.
© Margaux Chalançon
Cover picture: © Elie Villette