Self-taught photographer Angélique Boissière develops her analogue practice around self-portraits and portraiture. The Nantes-based artist has chosen to express herself using medium format to create elegant and balanced compositions. Her 6x6 pictures are often shot in black-and-white, which gives them even more charm. Angélique Boissière appreciates monochrome photography because it allows her to control the entire process from the shooting to the development that she does by herself, up to the scanning of the images. With all these considered, we have entrusted her with our black-and-white films, the Berlin Kino and Potsdam Kino in 120 format.
Hello Angelique, could you introduce yourself to the readers of the Lomography Magazine?
Hello, my name is Angélique Boissière, I am 29 years old. Art and creation have always been my great passions. I am a self-taught photographer and I exclusively use film, and more specifically medium format, which has become like an extension of my eyes through practicing...
When did you start taking film photos and what keeps you going?
I was lucky enough to be born in ‘92, the last decade before the overwhelming arrival of digital, so I grew up with film. As a child, I used many disposable cameras, a yellow plastic camera of an unknown brand, and my mother never left her Nikkormat with which she still photographs today. For as long as I can remember, I've always loved to take pictures, it's like a compulsive and addictive act.
During my teenage years, I had a short period with digital. At the time it was the logical next step and no one questioned it, film was just an old dinosaur that everyone wanted to forget in favor of speed. And that's exactly what I did, I took pictures of everything and anything, without really composing my images, without taking the time to look at the light, and I used my camera in auto mode because I refused to learn, why bother? And then, at the age of 19, I discovered medium format photography and I had a revelation: it was in every way an aesthetic that corresponded to my vision of the world, my way of looking at things. I thus definitively abandoned digital photography, a field in which I never found my style.
You express yourself mainly in black-and-white and in medium format, why did you make this choice?
I chose the medium format first of all because I fell in love with the object, and then for the square format in which I am much more at ease: it is a frontal format, which gives timeless and elegant compositions. As far as black-and-white is concerned, I am more sensitive to the emotion of the graphics than to the emotion of the colors. Moreover, working only in black and white allows me to cover the whole photographic process, from shooting to development. I like to depend only on myself, because when I photograph, I am impatient to discover the result, so I develop my films just after I finished my photoshoot.
What do portraits and self-portraits bring to you?
They are two completely different ways of photographing and at the same time intrinsically linked because when I photograph someone, I necessarily photograph a part of my gut, a way of seeing that belongs to me, and that I project into my model. When I photograph myself, it's really me, and at the same time, it's also a staging of my person, a being that’s sometimes real, sometimes fantasized.
To make self-portraits, I need moments of solitude and introspection. As for portraits, I have to go and meet the other person, which is not easy for me. Both are fulfilling and complement each other in the end.
With which camera did you test the Berlin Kino and Potsdam Kino 120 films? And what did you think of these two films?
I had the chance to test these two films with my lifelong companion: my Rolleiflex 3.5. I'm a big Tri-x fan and rarely make infidelities to it, but I liked these two films. I find that the promise of a cinematic effect is there. When I look at the photo taken with Élodie, I find that it brings a very mysterious dimension to the photo with its grain and its range of greys. It is a film with which I would enjoy doing self-portraits again, because it is a part of my work that is much more experimental, in which I set myself much fewer rules, and therefore the accidents, the "new" renderings are generally good surprises.
You developed the two films yourself, can you tell us a bit more about the process?
I used the developer that I always use, which is Kodak's XTOL in 1+1 at 20°C. Then I digitally scanned my negatives and adjusted the contrast and sharpness in Photoshop. Even if I don't always use the same film, I always proceed in the same way to obtain homogeneity in my work.
What advice would you give to people who want to practice black & white photography?
The advice I would give is to practice again and again, without being afraid of burning film. Of course, it costs money but it is a necessary step to progress, because to fail is to learn.
Any ongoing projects, or future projects you'd like to tell us about?
I always have a lot of projects in mind, and the list of my photo ideas keeps growing... After my book "Tides" which I re-edited this year, I am working on two new book projects. A first book which will be a mix of all my work: portraits, nudes, some cars... A second one which will be exclusively dedicated to self-portraits. I don't know when these books will come out because I am a perfectionist, but I hope to have the first one out by the end of 2021.
Lomography Kino films are available in our online shop.