Clara Abi Nader and Florian Perennes, our readers picks #337, both see photography as an introspective tool. An instrument for questioning societal issues, as well as for putting one’s inner world into images

Clara Abi Nader

After graduating from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, Clara Abi Nader moved to Paris, where she is now developing her photographic practice. Her approach is rooted in introspection. “It always comes from my personal experiences. I need to find myself in a subject to feel legitimate to talk about it,” she explains. Landscape, architecture, social essay, portrait… The artist multiplies her influences to tell intimate stories and share her universe with others. “It is important to start from the personal and end up, in a way, in the universal. Art is meant to bring us closer to each other,” she continues. It was in the French capital that Clara Abi Nader started On Hair (& Women), a feminist project inspired by hair. “Over the years, I have come to understand how much the nature and texture of hair can say about a person – about their origins, their culture, their religion… Just like the colour of their skin,” says the artist. In the street, she captures the anonymous hairstyles of passers-by, composing, throughout, a committed story. “One day, I came across an acquaintance in Lebanon who was suffering from alopecia at the age of 17: a disease that caused her to lose all her hair. At that age, in a society like ours, where the image of women is omnipresent and sold to perfection, it is traumatic”, she says. Gathering various testimonies, the photographer then transformed her project into a societal tale, questioning the notions of gender, binarity and beauty. “My models were all very receptive: it’s a liberation, an assertion, an affirmation of what they want to be, show, and denounce,” she says.

© Clara Abi Nader

Florian Pérennès

“My name is Florian, but I’m usually called Flou (blurry, ed.). It started out as a slip of the tongue, and it stuck… It suits me well – I’m a blurry person, who lives here and there, in my thoughts, in my world. I exist in a kind of happy melancholy”, Florian Pérennès confides. After studying sciences, the artist joined the École nationale supérieure d’architecture in Nantes. In parallel, he exercised his photographic eye. “I would say that I photograph the expressions of my own world in reality. It doesn’t matter what the subject, or what the theme is, I look for an atmosphere above all. I try to provoke things as little as possible, to let them come to me,” he explains. Influenced by cinema, the photographer sees the medium as a tool to express his own moods, his own representations of the universe. “Describing my photos is like describing myself, halfway between dream and reality, sweetness and drama, intense relationships and solitude, serenity and anxiety,” he confides. Favouring analogue – with its magical development process – Florian Pérennès composes enigmatic pictures. From landscapes to portraits, from large spaces to the interior of a room, he captures fragments of emotions that are as personal as they are universal.

© Florian Pérennès

Cover picture: © Florian Pérennès