Intervista Flavie Guerrand
a cura di Cecilia Guario
1) How did your interest in photography develop, and how was your education?
I studied at the National School of Arts in Bourges -France-, a school oriented towards video & film.
Very quickly, I began to film the parties there. There were so many situations that deserve attention to
focus on. I started filming my friends, looking for sparks, extravagance, that magic flash of insanity, from
glamour to its slowly fading into the groggy comedown. These parties were different from the rave
scene I came from. Costumes, seduction, and provocation were the essential elements of behavior.
These parties were spaces of simulation where the gaze circulates, where anyone who looks is looked
at, and where every subject is also an object. We are, in fact, under the gaze of the other, that of the
voyeur and that of the dancer. I felt the urge to capture people and their bodies through my camera.
Like «The invention of Morel» by BioyCasares, I seized them to transform them into fetishes through
editing. Pretext to satisfy my scopic impulses, I focused on editing, always around the idea of repetition,
movement, and slow motion, in a stretching temporality.
Shortly after, my father gave me his old Minolta analog camera. Photography was his hobby. I have
thousands of slides and super 8 (sound) films from him. I was immediately seduced by the «natural»
temporality of photography, the solid narrative potential, and its capacity to intensify what we see in one
shot. It was like a breath! No more need for the artifice of editing. In the end, editing always revolves
around the idea of repetition, of alienation. For a while, different regimes of images intersected in my
work to finally make room for photography.
At the same time, I heard about Nan Goldin’s work and was utterly hooked by the few pictures we could
see in books and reviews. When I finally saw «The Ballad of Sexual Dependency» I watched it twice in
a row, and I cried so much! Her universe, her touch, everything talked to me so much. At his point, I felt
right with my work: for many years, people around me told me that my subject was not serious enough
and blamed me for the texture of my work. Then, during my graduation, the frivolity of my work, on the
surface, was not to everyone’s taste. I’ve been told it was time for me to grow up…
2) When do you notice a situation or person you want to photograph?
I am instinctive and emotional at the time of the shooting. I look for situations full of feelings, ambiguity,
and intensity. States of grace. I pay attention to details in the attitudes, in the coquetry of the gesture, or
the play of eyes and body in seduction, for example.
I rarely photograph a person I don’t know; what excites me is also what we experience together. The
friendship that unites us allows me to gain their trust and, thus, to go further, to grasp a fragility, the
moment when the person is out of control. A right moment. Also, for instance, the dark, subversive
aspects participate, in the same way as the happy aspects, in the essence of the party. They are
inherent in the festive spirit and wanting to limit excess amounts to emptying the party of meaning,
making a spectacle to the detriment of meaning, and favoring a consumerist posture, which is
3) Your projects are the result of a selection from your personal archive that portrays, at
different times, a born subculture and its evolution by appearing timeless. How does this
creative process come about?
First, I’m very hard on myself, so I let the images “breathe.” I give them time, but there are some pieces
of evidence anyway. Second, I sometimes rediscover a photo I wasn’t sure of and which suddenly
appears evident to me.
I’ve been a video editor for many years, and the proximity to the moving image strongly influences my
creative process. It’s like an ever-moving portfolio of “frames” that belong to a more complex narrative.
In an interview with Peter Kubelka by Jonas Mekas, Kubelka says: «That’s what cinema is, single
frames. Cinema is between the frames. Light…movement…sun…light…heart beating…breathing…light
». The portraits of my friends thus shape a cartography of my life made of «epiphanies» -by this, I mean
intense moments- which have a “halo” of their own. But associated with others, these images
contaminate each other. Each image acts on the others, by perspiration, by breathing. So the selection
of the mass of accumulated images is made by mixing the rhythms. Like a poetic setting. A balance
between portraits that have as their object the figure, the body or the posture, the movement… and
those which depict the morals, the character, the vices, etc…
There are also all these images that I still need to show and that I reserve for a project in progress. A
film mixing images of different natures (Video/Super 8/photos/slides). Like a hallucinated memory, a
hybrid film superimposing a temporal patchwork of parties and characters, fables and confidences,
4) The intimacy and complicity expressed in your work allow you to imagine stories attached to
each shot. Which story do you feel most connected to, and which one do you remember most
The choice is quite tricky!
I would say that the story I feel most connected to is undoubtedly the portrait of “Yohan & Ludo.” I took
a photo in the early morning hours during a party, one of the first and countless I organized afterward in
the garage where I lived. It was the beginning of a crazy adventure. This place became famous locally
as somewhere to hang out and get wasted, and this photo is symptomatic of that period.
The music was in full swing, and Yohann and Ludo, great party-goers at the time, didn’t last. It’s a
caricature, everything is there: their attitude, their clothes. It sounds like an echo of the rave parties of
The one I remember most is “Bea”. I followed my singer friend Demi Mondaine on tour in London. I built
myself in the constellation of techno culture, and this crazy trip with Bea was like a teenage phantasm,
in the purest rock’n’roll attitude! We were staying in a 5 star hotel from which we almost got fired. . . The
manager had to negotiate dry for us to stay!
In short, like many afters parties, a lot of things happen in the bathrooms. Bea was drunk and shouted a
poem in the shower, so we had to water her to calm her down.