Our readers picks #333, Mélanie Dornier and Vijay Sarathy, both create delicate universes. One experiments with cyanotypes, and the other puts into images the visions coming from his subconscious.

Mélanie Dornier

After studying to become a social worker, Mélanie Dornier discovered in photography a medium capable of transmitting the values she holds dear. Initially focused on long-term documentary projects, she then moved on to the world of contemporary art and began to create more intimate images. Inspired by the work of Claudine Doury, Rebecca Woodman and Sally Mann, she plays with the medium and creates delicate images “that convey messages”. A desire that can be found in the series L’empreinte de l’oubli (The traces of oblivion, ed.). “I have always been attracted to old processes. In my work, I try to photograph the past in order to better understand the present. The lockdown allowed me to take the time to experiment. The notions of traces and time are omnipresent in my work – contact photography as a process therefore makes sense”, she says. And in this visual universe of bluish tones, the artist questions themes that fascinate her: female identity and the mutation of territory. “I liked both the manual aspect and the unpredictable dimension of the process. I have somehow reproduced a work between decay and beauty, two notions which can also be found in my images” she adds. Accompanied by a manifesto entitled W.I.T.C.H. (Women International Terrorism Conspiracy from Hell), the series brings together – with great sensitivity – aesthetic research and societal inspiration.

© Mélanie Dornier

Vijay Sarathy

“I need to have access to a specific state of mind to create, and being alone around nature helps me reach it – my work really is about my experiences of fullness and transcendental wonder at the heart of nature, that I feel at a very visceral level… Which is really hard to transcribe but something I keep attempting to”, Vijay Sarathy tells us. Since 2017, the Indian visual artist has been experimenting with photography and publishing his trials on Instagram. “I knew quite early on that I wasn’t interested in making realistic imagery, I was looking at a lot of western artists at the time who were using the photographic medium to make pictures in the realm of the fantastic and surreal and that really stuck with me”, he recalls. Fascinated by our subconscious and the poetry that emerges from it, Vijay Sarathy uses the vegetal world as a portal to our obsessions, our primary needs. And, through editing, he transforms his photographs into dreamlike creations. Spontaneous, he immerses himself in music to bring his ideas to life. “I try not to do too much thinking, I prefer to make mistakes and simply figure out which images speak to me. In that way, it’s all very loose and there’s no proper structure around it”, he adds. His mysterious creations read like brief excursions into his imagination.

© Vijay Sarathy

Cover picture: © Vijay Sarathy