Having first profiled her work for our website’s talent section, we got back in touch with up-and-coming photographer Kelly De Block to talk about her latest series, ‘Appearing/disappearing’. A now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t juxtaposed play of sorts which casts new face Cilou Annys in a supporting role, the series confirms the young Brussels-based talent’s knack for visionary and future-friendly visual stories.
We interviewed you a short while ago for our website’s The talent section. At the time, you spoke to us about a project you were working on that centered around appearing and disappearing and which is now completed. What initially gave you the idea for the feature? Is there a particular message behind it?
The images originated out of a fascination for the subject. I see this series as research, which is not finished yet. It’s a small piece in a bigger whole, and this series is just the beginning. I want the viewer to almost feel the material of the print and the vague boundaries of the technique.
What technique was used for it? Was most of the ‘appearing/disappearing’ angle brought to the story after the shoot, in Photoshop?
All of it is done after the shoot, manually without any digital postproduction. For this series I worked with the printed images and made photocopies of them. By which time I have quite a clear vision of what the images should look like, but it still changes massively during the process.
Do you already have a very clear idea of the resulting images you’re seeking to achieve before beginning to shoot? Your work seems imbued by a stedfast vision…
Like I mentioned above I know more or less what I want in each image. I have a vague idea, or I get inspired by a shape or line I picked up on during the shoot. But there is still room for coincidence and experimenting afterwards.
You spoke about the importance of the model, Cilou Annys, in it. How did you find Cilou, and what was your brief to her for the series? Was this the first time you two were working together? What, pre- cisely, was her role in the shoot, how did you see her contributing to it, beyond just modelling for you?
Cilou was one of the new models at Dominique, she had experience but still needed some new images for her portfolio. Her look was perfect for the series! I believe a shoot is an interaction between many people, working to achieve one goal, her contribution was one of many important puzzle pieces to get this shoot to a good ending.
This edition’s fashion story was shot by Ismael Moumin, whom I believe you assisted several times if I’m not mistaken. In my mind, there’s a clear link to his style and approach in your work…
I think we are both photographers of ‘the new generation’. Fashion is an element we can use and alter to our beliefs and collage is a technique that gives a face to the society we live in today. We certainly aren’t the only photographers using collage today, but that is what I like about it, it’s a technique with a history, which we give a contemporary view upon.
The overall theme of this edition is the future, which I feel perfectly describes your work. How do you see yourself fit into the new generation of photographers? What does ‘the future’ mean to you?
We are overwhelmed by images on a daily basis. Where we used to be confronted with images only trough television and print, social media and new forms of multimedia have infiltrated our lives. I find that my generation feels the urge to look for ways to comprehend this fast moving stream of images by trying to find ways to move beyond the established visual boundaries. Concerning the future, it is a leap in the dark. It includes everything and nothing all at the same time. Which I think is a beautiful thing, especially when you are young. You challenge yourself and shift your boundaries constantly.
Although you describe yourself as a social photographer most comfortable working with people, your subjects often seem to be given more of a supporting role, with your approach and technique taking more of a central role…
It is true that I need social interaction when I’m photographing, especially as a fashion photographer when you work in a team. I have a great interest in people as a subject, but it is a fact that this interaction with the model becomes a less important piece and it isn’t something that shows in the final image.
Where does the better part of your work take place? Before, during or after the camera clicks?
Absolutely after! I love to work with my prints and really have an interaction with the paper.
Are there any upcoming photographers whose work has impressed you lately?
I know their work for quite a while now, but I am impressed with the work of Damien Blottiere and Sabrina Theissen. Blottiere because of the specific cuts and shapes that enter his work, Theissen because of the beautiful light in her images.