::when I grow up I want to photograph like…::

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I'm absolutely in love with Valérie's photography. Photographic love needs no explanation, goes straight from the eye to the heart via a big smile. But I can give you a few reasons, being the sweet little miss that I am.
Valérie photographs a huge range of subjects, I am unable to put her photography in a category other than beauty and light. And I love that diversity. I am also a huge fan of the way she captures light, for that is the single most important thing for me. In several aspects of my life. She has an amazing eye for composition and shows really interesting perspectives which leave me dreaming about photography and ways of seing the world…
I was cheeky enough to ask Valérie if she would be happy to write a few words on her work, what inspires her and what brought her to photography. She very kindly agreed and I had the whole thing ready in one very happy evening.
Photography is for me creativity, a camera enables you to make a link between images of oneself that we have inside us often without knowing it, and the outside world, and sometimes when there is a perfect connection between inside and outside, only a photo shows you afterwards what you wanted to express inwardly, without being able to articulate it. Or you did not even know you felt it until you see it. Such as when you read in a book a few perfect lines expressing exactly what you feel, how you feel, and what you have already felt before without being able to nail it down.
I read somewhere that what makes people be passionate about photography is that in each photograph they take it is a bit as if they found back their mother's stare at them when they were babies. The first photo we have inside is our mother's eyes and face when she was looking at us as infants…..? 
I remember my mother's polaroids, little square format photos in vintage colors, when she photographed us with my brother. After she used a small film Canon camera that she loved. My first loved camera was also a Canon AE1 I shared with my brother in my twenties, and already at that time I was in love with color. 
Then I stopped photographing for many years, expressed myself more with books and writing and studies and all. 
When I came back to it, 10 years ago, I went digital, from the smallest and simplest, a point and shoot, then progressively as I progressed, I got myself more sophisticated tools, such as a Leica M8, and then M9, which I loved, but I guess that I had always in my mind the memory of the feel, the texture, the light, the colors, of film, and I was never satisfied completely with what I got. 
Then one day, I had the idea of using again my Canon AE1, which is still working, and I started feeling more creative immediately, as if the camera was liberating something in me, or enabled me to unleash the creativity and access to poetic expression I was never able to express with digital. Then I got more demanding, I got a Canon F1, which is older, and loved it. Still, 135mm, even if I was starting to express myself with it, also reached a limit when I wanted to show ALL the light and details and softness and colors, and I started thinking about medium format, 120mm film.Thanks to an extraordinary professor in a documentary workshop I took a few months ago, who saw through us all what we secretly were trying to express in our photos, and who told me I had a "square" and somehow sentimentally artistic vision, I started using medium format, and THIS IS IT. I now own 4 medium format cameras, including a Holga, two Twin Lens Rolleis, and a Voigtlander Bessa ( a rangefinder). Each camera permits something in particular, the Holga complete artistic freedom, the Bessa wonderfully sharp landscape or street work with perfectly real colors, and the two Rollei, with which I view from above, the synthesis of both Bessa and Holga in one camera. The Rolleicord Vb, which I used for the photo above, is the simplest of the twin lens Rolleiflex cameras, or the least sophisticated, yet a perfect tool as it permits to have double exposure. I find myself experimenting with it even more than the other Rolleiflex I have, the T.
Each camera has got its character, style, limits, and talents. When I have one with me, I feel attuned to my senses, to light, and the richness of life. 
I also asked Valérie if I could use the photo above as a sample of her work and if she was happy with my choice. She sent me a beautiful summary of herself as an artist.
Feel free to use that one, actually it sums up my love of nature and light, as well as my love of the colours and textures of film, and the need I have to express myself creatively. I change cameras, I change films, but at the same time each camera has its own character and when I am attuned to it, they give me different ideas; each camera is actually like a palette, you know? 
I still don't know Valérie, but I'm learning. Thank you for being such an inspiration!
And a big thank you for making my first feature on inspirational photographers so easy!

For information on how to buy Valérie's books go here. And a bit more about her here.
And a little selection of more of my favourites by Valérie 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

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::When I grow up I want to photograph like…:: is a new feature on Little Miss Joey where I share with you photographers who inspire me and make me want to grow up. Photographically. Not physically. Although that may be cool too. But then I wouldn't be little miss. Focus, LMJ, focus. This feature has been on my list of ideas for the blog for ages now, in fact since February as shown on my MK, but it took me a while to both get my act together and find the perfect first photographer. You see, a couple of things come together when working on this feature: 1. choose the photographer and 2. have the nerve to ask them for their photos and a few words on your work, while you're at it. Ta. Valérie made it very simple, I'm so grateful to her for that; I sent her a very shy Flickr message and she replied with a yes and a few suggestions and a compliment. Photographers of the world to be approached by LMJ, put your eyes on Valérie!
My friend Nicky has a similar feature on his brilliant blog and I recommend you visit him frequently!

For those of you wo reached the very end of the post 🙂 any suggestions and/or ideas for this feature?



  1. Dobbin
    29 May 2011 / 13:42

    I really enjoyed reading this so please make it a regular feature. I never realised how different cameras can do such different things. Will have to start saving for some new cameras now!

  2. Zeldavl
    29 May 2011 / 15:51

    Thank you Dobbin, yes indeed each camera enables you to do something different I think, especially with film onesThank you so much Joey for inviting me and the enthusiastic words about my work, I was really happy to do it.Your blog is delightful, interesting and infused with warmth, light, feelings and wonderful ideas. I really think that your new idea “when I grow up….” is a gem. Not only because you asked me, but because in my photography, sharing with others, having others feedback, benefiting from their inspiration and creativity has been a constant drive enabling me to progress, and I am only too happy when I can inspire others as they have inspired me

  3. Zeldavl
    29 May 2011 / 15:53

    Joey, your photos are full of feeling,I love them, keep on chasing the light, it is the magic of photography

  4. Little Miss Joey
    29 May 2011 / 17:41

    @Dobbin: Glad you liked it! Ill do my best :)@Zeldavl: Thank you very much, Valérie, for saying yes to something you didnt really know how it would be and for your nice comments now :)Cant wait to see your photographs from this weekend!x

  5. Fenny Setiawan
    1 June 2011 / 06:54

    This is nice Joey. Also your passion about Photography is really moves me :). Keep in a good work 🙂

  6. Little Miss Joey
    1 June 2011 / 07:33

    Thanks Fenny :)I have registered to Instagram, but havent done much with yet. Looks cool though 😀

  7. cococita
    10 June 2011 / 13:29

    I am really impressed by your very artistic, fascinating and inspiring photography Valérie, and by this new feature on your blog, Joey! Thanks for sharing, its a dazzling beautiful photo! A detailled comment will follow soon; there is just too much I want to say about it 🙂

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