Lure me in with your story!

As a kid I spent 8 years playing the piano and ended up completely abandonning it when I became a teenager. It was once a passion. I did dream of indulging in playing wonderful music. I did dream of flying with the 88 keys of the piano like Tim Roth did in “The Legend of 1900.” I did dream! And I gave up at the end!

Why?

None of the piano teachers I met managed to spark my curiosity by good stories.

Indeed I was a slightly cynical kid who needed to be lured by fun facts!

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I was so cynical I needed fun facts to start with.

All that I knew was that I had to practise 100, 200, 300 times the same pieces for the next ABRSM exam planned a year ahead. The execution had to be technically flawless. There was no room for creativity. With hindsight, I know that what I did had no soul. I did not know that behind each piece of music there was at least a story to be told. I didn’t find the key to open the door to the power of narratives. My music was the dry sound of a kid executing what she was told to do.

Now that I have chosen photography as my main medium of artistic expression, my goal every time when I try to create something, is to inject story into what I make. It may not be a clearly told story with a story line. It can simply be a fragment of a scene, giving you space to imagine what is not shown by the pixels, what is outside of the frame, before and after the opening of the shutter. Luring people in with fragments of narratives!

I’m not sure if this is a cynical look but she definitely looks capable of killing me. I may just keep scrolling.

I’m not sure if this is a cynical look but she definitely looks capable of killing me. I may just keep scrolling.

Once I thanked a friend for helping me better understand my life choices (I was facing a dilemma for my career). She told me, “It’s really not what is said that counts, but what the listener gets that changes everything.” Basically she insisted that she hadn’t helped and believed that I had figured it all out by myself!

I believe this is the power of story telling. I don’t express something via photography in order to be understood (I have friends for that purpose). I simply believe that when emotions are channeled into narratives through a creative process, it can bring creators and viewers to another level of reflection on themselves.

By growing up we get better and better at digesting our own emotions. I do not regret giving up on music. I was simply searching for the best media for my stories and constructing my world view as a kid.

“Gosh… it’s been half and hour and the toilet is still occupied…” (imaginary monologue)

“Gosh… it’s been half and hour and the toilet is still occupied…” (imaginary monologue)

Mind your own business

In this picture I am referring to a painting by Jacques-Louis DAVID in 1793 about Jean-Paul MARAT's death, “Marat Assassiné” (see further down).

Seeing how David glorified this figure in the French Revolution, I had the idea of making fun of us - modern people - about how fragile our convenient online communication has rendered us. How easily we get crushed by a quick email at work or a “mean” message from someone. Compared to an era where people fought for their life and death, our struggles nowadays seem so small, although by no means I am denying them because I am also part of this population. When I feel defeated by receiving mean signals from people, I like to remind myself, "It's not about you. They are projecting their own world instead of telling you who you really are. GO MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS."

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About the piece of paper sticked to the tiny brown suitcase : It’s written “Ton mail m’a tuer” (“Your email has killed me”) with a deliberate grammatical mistake referring to another famous murder case in France in the 1990’s. But I’ll stop right there in my multiple references to murder. :)

Below is Jacques-Louis David’s painting in 1793 about Jean-Paul Marat's death. Marat was actively involved in the French Revolution despite a severe skin condition that forced him to work from a medicinal bath. A woman called Charlotte Corday from the opposing political party stabbed him in his chest. Jacques-Louis David painted Marat’s dead body in a glorified manner.

I’m definitely not a great art teacher so don’t hesitate to look for more information about this work.

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Stop over thinking and create

These are my latest creative works based on my self-portraits.

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The biggest difference between a portrait session for a client and my own personal creative work, is that I never plan my creative shoots ahead. Things happen litterally on the spot once I get into the creative mode. I walk clients through the whole service package and process. From preparation to execution, a framework is there ensuring that my client gets what they need/want, while giving space to any eventual creative calling during their shoot for some cool surprise at the viewing.

Quite often I feel the urge to shoot because I feel that I am catching a glimpse of an inspiration by its tail. I am confident that if I follow that spiritual and physical urge, I can go into full creative mode. I actually do not care that much about the outcome. What counts is the dynamic of the moment allowing me to just focus on getting something done. If I picture myself emerging from the wall, I will just go look for a way to make it happen with existing resources: decide which lens to use, which camera angle to set up, what to wear, how to act, etc.

And quite often, what I picture at the beginning and what I get at the end are quite different. When you are your only client, it is vital to listen to the creative flow otherwise there is no point doing it.

Creating is fun, transcending and surprising. It takes courage to get into full creative mode without the guarantee of success. It also takes courage to create because every part of your work is a reflection of you, your personality, including your strengths and weaknesses. I feel almost like a stripper putting myself out there. But what a happy stripper I am, not relying on anyone's "approval" to do what creates value to me.

Why try to be "normal" when you are weird?

This is how I feel when I "party" with strangers, having to introduce myself every time a different person initiates a conversation with me. I still find making new friends a very awkward thing for me to do. 

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The word "party" does not even relate to my life style as this is something I actively avoid for 2 reasons:

1) I prefer private and small groups where I can listen to conversations.

2) I am an introvert.

Although I spent years training myself to open up thanks to acting and public speaking, my shy and sensitive core did not change. Even after a speakeasy type of gathering, I need 3 days to recover my energy by reducing social interactions to the minimum. I used to believe that I had to open up and stand in the spotlight because the society prefers charismatic leaders. Growing up, I realised that the real deal was about accepting who you are and like it unconditionnally, and giving people around you the same freedom to be whoever they are. 

Being weird is fun. It helps us create nice things that we did not initially expect. It brings endless surprise to our entourage. As for people out there who judge you saying you are crazy, strange, not normal and all that jazz, I just think they are too used to being ordinary. Your fuck budget is low for this kind of pollution anyway. 

2019 is coming. I hope all the existing weirdos remain weird, repressed weirdos come out of the closet of normality and ordinary people... continue to have access to clean water.

Dream Shoot in Mont Saint Michel, France

Earlier this month, the very inspiring entrepreneur Keenya and I went to Mont Saint Michel in the North of France for a dream shoot! 

The Mont Saint Michel is an amazing monument that always gives me the sensation of being on the edge of the world. Walking closer and closer to the Mont on the sinuous promenade, it gives you the feeling that a few more steps away you will end up in a completely different fantasy world full of possibility. I bet I am not the only one who has such romantic thoughts facing the edge of a vast ocean.

We got up early the next day. Keenya got ready in her tulle dress. And we braved the cold morning chasing sun light.

The unique light of sunrise has something unbeatable and it looked perfect on Keenya’s sensuous body language. As the Mont Saint Michel represents something so romantic for me, I believe the match with her sunny smile gives the final images a rich atmosphere. 

I enjoyed this trip so much with the amazing company of Keenya. We had such interesting and inspiring conversations, totally silly jokes and wild thoughts about our future. Mont Saint Michel will remain for me a symbol of spiritual energy and the sensation of renewal. 

I hope you enjoy these beautiful images of Keenya! I like them so much that she is the cover girl of my Lady Posing Guide (Guide de Poses pour Femmes) that you can download for free!

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Dream Tight

We are so used to saying "sleep tight" before we go to bed. But for creative people like us, now I like telling them "dream tight." 

Isn't dream the most unexpected and wild adventure of our brain? It puts you into incredible settings with totally unrelated people and crazy (sometimes ridiculous) scenarios! It opens up all possibilities of combination (you do remember the most ridiculous dream you once had, don't ya? :D). Although I do get tired sometimes after a night of dreaming adventures, I am very grateful to be a person who remembers some of her dreams. It shows that my brain still has that capacity to jump out of the box (sorry for any bloody image this saying may evoke).

So let me leave you with this for today: Dream tight, think wild and execute. 

I created this picture a few days ago. Creative ideas sometimes shine like eclipse in a corner of our mind. You have to go catch them by being present in your creative work every single day.

I created this picture a few days ago. Creative ideas sometimes shine like eclipse in a corner of our mind. You have to go catch them by being present in your creative work every single day.

Go deep on creativity

Recently I have been listening to Cal Newport's book "Deep Work". It's about concentrating on the creation of work of high quality in a world full of distraction. It seriously makes me rethink the way I use my energy in my daily routine, so that I can create photography of better quality by going deeper into the message and rendering of each image.

I feel that my mind is craving its alone time more than ever! Therefore I have been cutting down on social activity in order to concentrate on my creativity. And because I am not a chick who sits there and waits for inspiration to come, I spend long hours trying different elements (lighting, props, angle, outfit, etc.) in order to refine every bit of idea lingering in those little corners of my mind, shouting to get sculpted by a creator. 

So my new series, "Série Noire," carrying exactly the same name of Alain Corneau's film in 1979 played by my favourite French actor of all time, the great Patrick Dewaere, is the fruit of this period of joyful solitude and deep concentration. 

In my "Série Noire," I explore the parallel universe that exists in each of us, where we can find our "deep" self, the true self or a potential self that we haven't been able to exploit yet. Although the images are dark, our true self doesn't necessarily need to be dark. The use of darkness and the blue colour is a metaphor of depth, in a state of relaxation, like what you imagine when you try to picture the endless ocean. And when my protagonist in one of the pictures seems to be falling, she may be just flying, swimming or simply suspended in he parallel world of no gravity. All the pictures remain very open for interpretation. You can project your own narrative into each of them.

So my last few weeks were all about focusing on channelling my creative dynamic with full concentration, sculpting my narrative in order to create connection with you who are viewing my work.

We all love creating, don't we? Like what Georges Brassens, a famous French singer in the last generation, said, "Avec un peu de merde et beaucoup de volonté, on peut faire des tas de choses." (With a little bit of scrap and a lot of willingness, we can make a whole bunch of things.)

Enjoy my work and create your own stuff!

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20 years still together

[FRANÇAIS]

Cet été j'ai saisi l'opportunité de photographier mes amies de longue date qui vivent très loin de moi. C'est une expérience très touchante de créer des portraits des personnes que je connais depuis presque 20 ans !

Certes, le temps a laissé des marques sur chacune d'entre nous. C'est le symbole des évènements importants comme la naissance des enfants, le dur travail de longue haleine pour réaliser nos rêves, ou tout simplement la vie. De retour à Paris, seule devant mon ordinateur pour traiter ces photos, les larmes aux yeux, j'étais tellement heureuse de voir que nous sommes toutes devenues qui nous sommes aujourd'hui tout en gardant nos rêves en vie. 

Quand j'étais plus jeune, j'étais trop impatiente de voir où la vie allait me mener. Je demandais d'avoir le résultat avant même d'entamer le processus. 

Aujourd'hui, ces photos sont simplement la preuve que la vie est une belle histoire si l'on prend le temps de la laisser se dérouler devant nous. C'est un long parcours durant lequel nous évoluons un peu tous les jours. Et l'individu que l'on est devenu aujourd'hui est le témoins des valeurs qu'on construit grâce aux expériences et aux liens qu'on crée. Il n'y a aucun mot suffisamment fort et authentique pour décrire qui nous sommes. Mais une photo résume bien tout cela.

J'espère que vous aussi prendrez le temps de créer de beaux souvenirs avec vos amis !

 

[ENGLISH]

This summer, I seized the opportunity to photograph some of my long term friends living very far away. It is very touching to create portraits of people I have known for almost 20 years! 

Certainly, time has left some marks on each of us, symbolising some important events in our lives such as having kids, working long hours to make a dream come true, or simply life. Back to Paris, alone in front of my computer, teary-eyed, I was so grateful that we have all grown into who we are while keeping our dreams alive.

When I was younger, I was too impatient to see where my life would bring me, always demanding an outcome before even getting into the process.

Today, these photos are simply proof that life is a lovely story that takes time to unfold. It is about accepting a long process during which we evolve every single day. And the individual we have become today is simply the set of values built up with our experience and connections. There is no word strong and authentic enough to describe who we are. But a picture says it all. 

I hope you take time creating memories with your friends!

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The power of portrait, and love

A few weeks ago, I went back to my hometown to make my own family's portrait. We shared an amazing weekend together in a beautiful hotel by the sea. And it gave me some insight in the way I have always been looking at LOVE.

Alain de Botton said, "One of the things that makes relationships so scary is we need to be weak in front of other people. And most of us are just experts at being pretty strong."

I bet it describes very well the relationship with LOVE for many of us: We know that love is all we need while trying to be strong and independent because we believe we HAVE to when we are adults. It is this self-defence mechanism that makes us fail so often in communication in every relationship, even within a family.

Carrying one of her young sleeping children in her arms, my brother's wife said, "Kids are so cute. When they sleep they just let their whole body go, knowing that you will be there to carry them. When we grow up we don't sleep like that anymore."

Kids trust their parents. They know that they can totally rely on them, be weak in front of them while still remain loved by them. When we become adults it becomes really hard to kneel down in front of our shortcomings and admit that, after all, we just want to be loved.

I took this photo when I was having a walk with my family by the sea. My brother was carrying his daughter who had just fallen asleep. He stopped to look at the water. I said, "Don't move." and took this picture. I hope you like the dreamy and soothing touch of this image. For me it says a lot about letting go, loving someone and being loved.

This little kid is still too young to realise the power of this portrait. But I hope that it will be part of her sweet personal treasure when she grows older.

Family portrait by Kayee C Photographer (2017)

Family portrait by Kayee C Photographer (2017)

Rock your style

[FRANÇAIS]

Winda est une femme incroyable : une super maman qui gère même la commande de pizza pour ces enfants en Asie pendant qu'elle voyage en Europe. Une adorable photographe qui s'est récemment fait photographier par la grande icône de photographie de portrait, Sue Bryce en Californie. Winda possède ce charme naturel qui donne envie d'être amis avec elle dès l'instant de la rencontre !

Cette année, à une période assez dure de ma vie, Winda m'a encouragée, "Ce n'est qu'un moment de ta vie qui montre et qui prouve de quoi tu es faite."

A la fin de son séjour en Europe au printemps, je l'ai photographiée dans un studio près du Canal Saint Martin. D'emblée je savais comment j'allais la photographier : je veux du STYLE et du POUVOIR ! Le genre de pouvoir très souvent incarné par des représentations masculines, mais cette fois-ci, par une femme. Ce pouvoir qui est transformé en une force intérieure et beaucoup de confiance. J'espère que vous aimez les résultats !

J'ai eu cette chance de comprendre que c'est en renforçant les autres femmes que nous pouvons toutes atteindre le niveau supérieur : davantage d'amour propre, de confiance, de respect. J'ai trouvé la raison pour laquelle je brandis l'appareil photo avec autant de fierté !


[ENGLISH]

Winda is an incredible lady: A super mom who manages to order pizza to her kids in Asia when she is travelling in Europe. An adorable photographer who has recently been photographed by the great great portrait photography icon, Sue Bryce in California. Winda has this natural charm that makes you want to be friends with her since the first moment you see her!

When I was going through a very low period of my life this year, Winda encouraged me, "It's just a point of your life that proves what you are made of."

At the end of her European trip this spring, I photographed her in a studio close to Canal Saint Martin. I knew immediately how I was going to photograph her: I wanted STYLE and POWER, the kind of power usually incarnated by some male representations but this time with a female body, transformed into a form of inner strength and confidence. I hope you appreciate the results!

I was lucky enough to realise that it is by empowering other women that we can all rise to the next level: more self-love, more confidence, more respect. I have found the reason to proudly pick up the camera!

Love for quality

[FRANÇAIS]

Ce samedi a eu lieu la très belle séance photo de 4 heures que j'ai offerte à une des personnes qui ont participé au tirage au sort lancé sur ma page Facebook. Cette séance fera partie de nos plus beaux souvenirs grâce à nos discussions sur nos parcours et nos expériences de vie. C'est le croisement de vies qui nous rappelle comment nous sommes merveilleuses et irremplaçables. Que chaque femme reparte de cette expérience de shoot plus sûre d'elle et plus rayonnante ! 

(Petite photo du shoot : quand ta coiffeuse-maquilleuse pense tellement a tout qu'elle s'occupe même de couper la mèche de notre reine. Merci Aurore Lebacle, tu es une merveille !)

[ENGLISH]

Last Saturday I offered a 4-hour photo shoot to the winner of the lucky draw I launched on Facebook. This is a wonderful experience to be remembered forever thanks to all our conversations about our life experience. This simply reminds us how amazing and irreplaceable we all are. I hope every lady will carry on with this experience with more confidence and light shining from the inside.

(Photo of the day: when your hair & makeup artist cares so much about quality that she even helps my Queen of the day trim her fringes. Thank you Aurore Lebacle! You are wonderful!)

Aurore Lebacle (HMUA) trimming my Queen's fringes during the preparation

Aurore Lebacle (HMUA) trimming my Queen's fringes during the preparation

Discovering all the talents

[ENGLISH]

One of the most enriching moments of my job is to be able to discover people's talents. What a chance to meet Margaux, a young professional in marketing-communication working on a really interesting project with real social impact! I wish her lots of success in her career!

In our shoot we worked with a backdrop made by a piece of batik tissue. Batik is an Indonesian dyeing technique. I love how this backdrop matches Margaux's natural hair color! Besides, since 2009, batik has been considered by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage! 

[FRANÇAIS]

Un des éléments les plus valorisants dans ce métier, c'est de pouvoir découvrir les talents de chacun. Belle rencontre avec Margaux, jeune professionnelle dans le métier de marketing-communication travaillant sur des projets avec un réel impact social. Je lui souhaite beaucoup de succès dans sa carrière !

Pour notre séance j'ai utilisé un tissu batik comme fond. Le batik est une technique d'impression indonésienne. J'aime surtout comment ce fond correspond à la couleur des cheveux de Margaux. Par ailleurs, depuis 2009, le batik est considéré par l'UNESCO comme patrimoine culturel immatériel de l’humanité ! 

Feeling your own portraits

[FRANÇAIS] 

Ce moment de beauté et d’amour où tu tiens le tirage physique de ton portrait entre les mains, fabriqué avec soin d’une qualité exceptionnelle, où tu ressens pleinement la valeur sentimentale de tes portraits.

 

[ENGLISH]

This moment of beauty and love when you hold your finely printed portrait with your own hands, touching its remarkable quality, and you fully feel the sentimental value of your own portraits.

HD print on fine art paper framed in a mat

HD print on fine art paper framed in a mat

You are perfect, to be my queen!

[FRANÇAIS]

Au cœur de mes services de portraits, c’est ce désir d'accorder un moment de répit aux femmes, sans jugement extérieur. Un moment de pleine conscience durant lequel vous pourrez recentrer votre énergie sur votre essence même.

La société actuelle fait qu'il nous est difficile de nous aimer. Tant de critiques qui détruisent l'amour que nous nous portons, nous disant que nous sommes "vieilles", "banales", "grosses" ou "moches". Et nous sommes souvent trop absorbées par le quotidien pour nous souvenir à quel point nous sommes, en fait, des femmes merveilleuses ! Trop souvent nous portons un œil bien trop dur sur nous-mêmes.

En tant que photographe, je suis là pour résister à tous ces jugements cruels à vos côtés. Dès l’instant où vous vous engagez dans ce voyage de portrait avec moi, vous serez ma reine et ce beau moment d’honneur vous sera réservé.

Car il est temps d’être vraiment fière de vous-même.

Ci-dessous quelques images de mon voyage à Albufeira, où j’ai eu la chance de photographier une collègue avec beaucoup de qualités : patience, écoute, respect, douceur et beaucoup d’autres ! Je pense d’ailleurs que tout cela se voit dans son regard.

 

[ENGLISH]

At the heart of my portrait services, it is my desire to provide a moment of "retreat" to women, a moment without any judgment from the outside, a moment of mindfulness where you can re-centre your energy towards who you really are.

We live in a society that makes it so hard to be happy with who we are, “You are too fat/too old/too boring/too unattractive/too slow/too different…” Many of us end up judging ourselves in such a harsh way too.

Me, as a portrait photographer, I am here to say no to all this cruel judgment with you. Once you start on a portrait journey with me, you are my queen and I will reserve you this moment of honour.

It’s time to take pride in who you are.

Below are a few pictures from my Albufeira trip, where I was lucky enough to photograph a colleague with lots of good qualities: patience, listening skills, respect, gentleness and much more! And I believe you can see all this in her eyes too!

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Book a shoot with me in Hong Kong (June)!

Great news my Hong Kong friends!

I will go on a trip to Hong Kong soon and there is still availability for one LAST photo shoot by me on the 22nd of June! If you wish to have your gorgeous portraits made with lots of love and care, this is a great opportunity! 

We will be on the Hong Kong Island side. Hair & make up will be included in the package!!

Believe me, this will be an unforgettable experience!

Ask me for more information or share this post to friends you love!

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Dream shoot in Venice / Séance de rêve à Venise

[ENGLISH] 

With Laia we started chatting on Facebook a few weeks before we headed to Italy. I wanted to make memory of my trip. She went onto this photo adventure with me with no hesitation! She also invited her best friend Hilde to join us. Both of them are little stars of happiness. The fact that they got up before dawn for this shoot did not prevent them from shining! 

Laia later told me it was the first time she really enjoyed being in front of the camera. There is no bigger satisfaction than hearing that. :)

This is certainly one of the most unforgettable moments of 2017.

[FRANCAIS]

Avec Laia nous avons commencé à discuter sur Facebook quelques semaines avant notre arrivée en Italie. J'ai voulu garder un beau souvenir de mon voyage. Laia est partie sur cette aventure photo avec moi sans hésitation ! Elle a également invité sa meilleure amie à nous rejoindre. Ces deux drôles de dames sont des petites étoiles de bonheur. Le fait qu'elles soient debout avant l'aube ne les a absolument pas empêchées de briller ! 

Laia m'a dit plus tard que c'était la première fois qu'elle avait vraiment adoré aller devant l'objectif. Il n'y pas plus grande satisfaction que d'entendre cela. :)

C'est certainement l'un des moments les plus inoubliables de l'année 2017.

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Laia and Hilde, the happinest besties on the planet.

Laia and Hilde, the happinest besties on the planet.

Happy woman / Femme heureuse

[ENGLISH]

Last month in Italy, I had the chance to photograph Louise, a beautiful photographer and mom who is based in West Yorkshire. 

She chose a gown that perfectly matches her hair and the color of the castle. I am happy she really enjoyed her time being in front of the camera.

I think every one of us leaves some of our story to people around us, bit by bit, every day. Every fragment of the memory we create is simply part of our legacy. 

I love these photos. I hope Louise and especially her kids will forever be proud of having them in their family collection!

Kayee

[FRANCAIS]

Le mois dernier, en Italie, j'ai eu cette chance de photographier Louise, photographe et maman à West Yorkshire.

Elle a choisi une robe qui va parfaitement avec ses cheveux et les couleurs du château. Je suis heureuse qu'elle ait passé un moment inoubliable devant l'objectif.

Je pense que chacun d'entre nous laisse un bout de son histoire à son entourage, un peu, tous les jours. Chaque morceau de ces souvenirs que nous créons fait tout simplement partie de notre patrimoine.

J'adore ces photos ! J'espère que Louise et surtout ses enfants seront toujours fiers de les garder parmi leur collection familiale !

Kayee

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