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Get to Know Photographer and Artist: Chloé Besson

Get to Know Photographer and Artist: Chloé Besson


Interview by Dana Lapinel @danaellapin

Photography and Visual Arts by Chloé Besson @c.jane.b


Meet Chloe, an artist, creative consultant and influencer with the IG tagline, ‘Born in the heat of summer.’ Her statement fluctuates with the many phases in her life, and right now, it’s her birth month. I met Chloe at Hudson Hill, and discussed her current series, life as an artist, and how she’s figuring out a post-collegiate artistic routine.


Let’s talk about your current series ‘Many Faces (1-71).’ How did this concept come to fruition?

"Well to be totally transparent I..."

Love transparency.

"Yes, me too. I’m kind of just like that all of the time so brace yourself...

I work a full-time job in order to pay the bills while still putting the time and energy and money into my art making process. I have always loved taking photos because it’s so accessible and it doesn’t cost me anything besides my camera, not to mention it is a passion. I started making the drawings because it was something that I had done years ago — just sketching faces, challenging myself to make the first one not look like the next and so on. I combined portraiture with the photographs, basically just wanting to alter the photos because I get kind of depressed with how many people are taking the same photos of plants and shit. You know?"

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That’s so true.

"I mean I get it, I love it too. I take those pictures, too. And it’s great that people all over the world have access to taking and sharing their photos. But I just started the Many Faces series, and I think that the immediacy of it and the fact that, to me, it's a little more creative than my process of taking digital pictures is why I was drawn to it. It has since evolved into a body of work that reflects my reoccurring themes of portraiture, human form, and natural world."

Would you call it mixed media?

"Yeah, it’s a digital hand-drawing which, I mean, if you asked me a three years ago I would have been like, ‘what do you mean a digital drawing? Pick up a marker and a piece of paper. What is wrong with you?’ But also, I need money and resources for certain projects, so it’s kind of a nice thing I can do quickly and work on. So the recent ones are digital drawings that I’ve done over my own photographs. But, I’ve recently printed a bunch of those photos, and I’m drawing on them with paint and markers."

Who usually are your subjects? Is it just friends or mostly strangers?

"If I’m traveling usually strangers. Recently on a trip I took, I was with girlfriends who were available and with me all of the time, so I was taking their picture. But I mean when I travel, just strangers. I think that people’s faces are fascinating. So beautiful. Even the weirdest looking faces I can’t get enough of.

In the past, it’s been myself a lot because I’m there and I can use a tripod and put myself somewhere, do a shoot and have control of the situation. But in those shoots, I don’t like to show my face because I don’t want it to be about me. It’s more the use of a body."

This ties in well because I noticed in a lot of your work the images include nudes, skin, and bodies, you did a whole series on skin — what attracts you to this?

"I think with those I was in school, and I was really, really interested and touched by the human body as texture and shape and landscape just as a brick wall or a landscape in nature. It also has to do with part of my frustration around the hyper-sexualization of the nude form."

It’s true.

"I wanted people to see a nude form and rethink their immediate reaction to it. I just think the human form is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Anybody, anyway it is. It’s just gorgeous."

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Are people what you are most passionate about capturing?

"Yes, people. People who don’t know they are being photographed, in a raw and natural way. So they aren’t trying to get ready for it or project anything. Real blandness or boring moments that are actually truly beautiful in one way or another. So definitely people."

Describe your dream shoot, anybody, any place, whatever concept: all options on the table.

"Like a hundred naked people. From all over the world. Just people. Normal humans and I don’t even care where they’re from. Just mass bodies. Photographing them all together would, for me, be like creating a painting using the most organic color palette and materials out there."

Who influences your work?

"I mean when I was in school studying printmaking and photography, definitely famous and not so famous artists such as Jenny Saville, and Francesca Woodman. Or Lucian Freud, I am so in love with his work. Now being out of school I think I am inspired by artist friends and the art community around me. Just shooting the shit at midnight after dinner about ideas or projects. It’s that real conversational experience of, ‘this is what I’m doing, this is what I’m working on, this is what I’m trying out, what are you doing?’ that inspires me. And just chatting about it. Just artists who are making whatever they are making, passing ideas back and forth."

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How would you like to influence others? The people who don’t know you and see your work.

"I think that with the recent work I’ve been doing and with the pieces I have been working on more long-term like the written word and cyanotypes pieces on my website — I would hope people would just take a second from their busy lives to read some of it. Whatever they might extract or feel in that process could be inspiring. And then as far as the true definition of ‘influencing,’ I want to teach. I want to teach printmaking processes and young people. If I could influence a student like my mentors influenced me, I would feel like I had truly accomplished something. I’m actually in the process of preparing for an MFA, though I haven’t applied yet. I should just do that."

Well on the topic, if you do have advice from a teacher point of view, an influencer point of view, do you have any for aspiring photographers?

"I think in terms of self-promoting if you can do something well you should tell people that, humbly but assertively. If you think you can do something and truly believe in it — tell people. And just do it. Communicate that. Like any other product or talent, you need to sell it."

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About Instagram and these super image-based platforms where it feels like everyone is a photographer with an iPhone, do you feel like it helps or hurts photography?

"It took me a long time to get an Instagram and I honestly thought “this is bullshit, trash.” It’s like titties, sex, lattes, and shit. And then I came around to it, and I do think that there’s some of that but it’s also an unbelievable networking resource. It’s a great way to get in touch and connect with people. Just use the tool intelligently."

What’s next for you?

"The reality is I’m in the transitional phase of making changes in my life to really hone back into art and my making process and it’s a struggle. But that’s okay. I’m deep in the process of trying to balance work and money and carving out a lot of time to get my ball rolling again."

Interview by Dana Lapinel @danaellapin

Photography and Visual Arts by Chloé Besson @c.jane.b


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