Mademoiselles: an Interview with Natasha Gudermane

‘Melina’ © Natasha Gudermane

‘Esther’ © Natasha Gudermane

Natasha Gudermane is a photographer living and working in Paris, France. Natasha has been kind enough to share a selection of her of images from her series entitled ‘Mademoiselles’. Nastasha has also answered few of my questions about this stunning collection, allowing us to delve deeper into this very personal narrative exploring identity and intimacy.

It’s been a few years now that I’ve been living in Paris. It’s been months that I’ve been undressing my friends, their friends and complete strangers I meet in the streets of Paris, in front of my camera. I photograph young parisian women nude, always at home, in their intimacy.

Being a foreigner, I use my work as a means to approach and better undertstand these women who I first found to be quite different. Having nothing on to cover their bodies, my models seem to envelope themselves in their souls. It is this magic moment I am trying to capture in my lense. Feminity, mystery and poetry is what I am looking for, with the help of my camera, in this pragmatic contemporary world.”
– Natasha Gudermane

‘Kitty’ © Natasha Gudermane

DS: Who inspires you?

NG: Beautiful minds, beautiful souls, old painters, young talented photographers, books, words, insignificant but curious objects…

What camera equipment do you favour?

I love my medium format Mamiya, which I use for this project.  It is not an easy camera when you want to depict a movement, but it is very good for silence, painting like pictures.

‘Gwen’ © Natasha Gudermane

‘Juliette’ © Natasha Gudermane

What led you to begin the ‘Mademoiselles’ series?

Being a foreigner in Paris and feeling slightly de-rooted, I tried to get closer to the things and people around me by studying and understanding them, and that is by  photographing them.

Thus I started to make portraits of  Parisian women, who I first felt a little distant and who I found  quite different from myself  and also different from what I had thought they would be. My wish was to explore what hides behind their public behaviour and how they really are when they are in their own intimacy.

‘Aline’ © Natasha Gudermane

‘Leela’ © Natasha Gudermane

How do you select the Parisian women you photograph?

It is purely intuitive , I just see a girl and feel I would like to photograph her, or I don’t feel it. It seems like, unconsciously, I choose the people I can identify myself with.

Did you carefully construct each photograph with a pre-conceived idea for each pose?

If I usually refuse to see the flat of my model before the day of shooting, it is because I don’t want to have a visual idea of the space in order not to have time to think about it and create an intellectual image in my head.

I prefer to be inspired by the moment, by the person and by the place, and to improvise. I did a lot of intellectually constructed images in the past, where the ideas mattered more than people.  Now I am learning to love the people in my photos, to be attentive to who they are. I do often finish by constructing a mis-en-scene though, but this construction is spontaneous.

All your Mademoiselles evoke strength and beauty; was this representation significant? 

Really? I never thought about my models in the terms of strength. If it is strength, than it is a strength of a straw that cannot be broken by the storm, because it is so thin, that it bends without breaking.

‘Hayat’ © Natasha Gudermane

To view more of Natasha’s work, visit her website here.

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