LaDirtyCompany – photographing historical beatuties

How did you start doing photography?

I’ve always loved images, of all kinds, I’m a film buff, I’ve been drawing for a long time and I still draw a bit, strangely enough I switched to photography 4 years ago.

Is photography your full-time job?

No, it’s a secondary activity that is developing thanks to the excitement that the atmosphere of my photos arouses.

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What is so fascinating about the period 1890-1940?

It’s a time of societal and technological upheaval, a very particular aesthetic changing over these 5 decades, at a time when film already existed, allowing for fluid photo work.

Over these 50 years, we go through totally different aesthetics, 1890-1910, what was later called the belle époque, objects using wood, brass, bronze. The first world war which shook up certain power relations, modified the image of the war and of the woman. 1920 and its crazy years, a very particular aesthetic line, attenuated curves, smoothed, and the emancipation of the woman.

1930 and the arrival of plastic and bakelite products, with a totally different fashion.

Where do you find your inspiration for your photos?

We are a couple of collectors of all this period, there are many images of the time, I would say that my influences come mainly from the photos of the Biederer brothers, and Mr. X, an anonymous photographer who photographed a lot of women in brothel between the two wars.

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Can you describe your ideal photo session ?

Good humor, and a natural attitude, with a person detached from the clichés of seduction and modern expectations. At the time, images were not widely distributed in contrast to today. We didn’t pose to please our community or to gain followers, we posed because we were offered, out of curiosity, or for pay, but what is obvious in the old photos is the detachment with which the subject poses.

The ideal session and a session that happens naturally, the rest follows.

Can you tell me the funniest thing that happened during one of your photo sessions?

The funniest thing, I wouldn’t know, but there have been some very surprising sessions, like making and setting up a trapeze in the middle of our studio, which is also our living room.

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You mentioned that all of your black and white photos are shot on analog film. Do you also develop your photos?

I shoot with cameras from the period mentioned, the youngest camera is from 1938. I develop my negatives. We are still in 2022, so I digitize the negatives, I am always looking for a period enlarger to make my prints.

Why did you choose film photography rather than digital photography?

Digital photography itself has never interested me. I come from drawing, I have to feel the material. But above all, I try to get as close as possible to the experience of the models at the time, we measure distances with a leather tape measure, we ourselves are dressed in old clothes, we offer an experience to our clients.

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I see that you photograph both in black and white and in color; what interests you in black and white photos?

With black and white, it’s a total play of light, I see a lot of romanticism, and an old-fashioned character that corresponds to our universe.
The few photos taken with the smartphone in color, allow to keep memories of the installations generally very colored, to show to the Internet users what the models perceive, it retranscribes well the backstage and the good mood of the sessions.

What advice would you give to a photographer who wants to start shooting on film?

For me, it’s the most beautiful way to photograph, each image counts, I would say that you have to learn to enjoy again, to take time.

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