Les Femmes Bleues
TSKC's Bethan Screen interviews Montréal-based photographer Etienne Dufresne!
I read that as a child you were expelled from your drawing classes and from that moment on you were inspired to try photography, are there any other mediums you are curious to explore in your work?
Funny you mention it because I'd love to go back to illustration at some point in time. As of now, I am more interested in integrating my characters in works of fiction, maybe picture animation in the future!
Who or what is currently inspiring you?
The wave of new lo-fi surrealist street photographers on Instagram.
What does the colour blue mean to you? What associations does it have for you?
Blue is a very powerful, mystical and noble colour, I have always identified with blue as being ¨my colour", even going as far as my love of the blue ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Your work that relates more literally to our current theme is your series ‘Les Femmes Bleues’, what made you choose the colour blue for the subjects’ skin rather than another colour or effect?
It was a simple Photoshop manipulation mistake that turned into this very personal project for me, I just ended up really liking the result and it became kind of my signature in the recent years.
Why did you choose to make the series portraits of women? Do you think the portrayal and concept would have been very different were the series entitled ‘Les Hommes Bleus’?
I don't think it would have been different at all as the project is more about skin aesthetic than gender. I just think I was more confortable working with women at that time, because they tend to show the vulnerability and intimacy I was looking for.
Your portraits are really intimate and mostly of your friends or musicians, is the process of portrait photography different when you know the model well compared to if they are a stranger? Also, have you ever explored self-portraits?
All in all, portrait photography is all about connecting between human beings in a limited amount of time, I've had better results with models than with long-time friends, and vice-versa. It's always different and that's the beauty of it. As for self-portraits, I've tried a few things but I am not interested in literally putting myself in my work. And, as in any artwork, there is a little bit of me in everything that I do.
What’s it like being part of the Montréal arts scene? In a city that appears so culturally rich and productive does it ever feel overwhelming or competitive?
I am not a very competitive person. I just focus on doing my own thing and being better everyday. I love creating in Montreal because like in most bigger cities you have access to a lot of resources and feedback, and all of that makes doing and sharing your thing much easier.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a new project combining spontaneous street photography with royalty free stock images, resulting in surrealist street-photography, which I absolutely love.