Jeanne Chauveau, Photographer & Director
Jeanne Chauveau is a Paris-based photographer, video director and all around talent. Her work reflects the playfulness of her dance background with an other-worldly glow. We loved hearing how her creative practice has evolved and what inspires her.
What do you do?
I am a photographer, director, artistic director and part-time dancer.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
Stay focused! Afterwards, experiment, have fun and surprise yourself.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
I have in mind people and meetings more than particular events. I believe that my relatives, my supportive best friend and my incredibly generous friends have played a decisive role. It’s only the beginning so it’s difficult to talk about it. But if I had to pick three important events I would say studying dance during my high school years, a three months internship in Poland which helped me to put things into perspective and understand what I really wanted to do, and more recently, moving to Paris.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I am preparing an exhibition that will start on the 8th of June at the Simon & Roth gallery in Paris. I am working on some choreographic projects with hip-hop dancers Gabriel Um and Mackenzy Bergile. A video campaign for a young designer is on my list and also a music video in the south of Sweden this summer.
What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?
I used to sing in an indie pop band called Candids. It was a rewarding experience and a true dream to share with some of my closest friends. At the moment I am focussed on my visual projects. It was a hard decision to make but I don't regret it. They are still doing some nice stuff, check them out!
What places are important to you?
I feel the most at home outside. My early experiences of travelling in North Africa and playing outside with my brothers in this particular atmosphere left a lasting imprint on me. I spent most of that time wandering alone, collecting rocks and little treasures (my best find was a cat skull in the Mauritanian desert). I don't believe I've changed much - I long for open spaces where I can find freedom and peace. I seek to get back to that feeling and to bring my partner in life travelling with me.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
I have a bunch of females that are creative and really supportive friends. I feel really lucky to have them by my side, especially my best friend who is my ally for life and a full support network herself. My energy is strengthened when I get to share it with other women. A few weeks ago I became a member of the Deli Paris Club, which encourages women to be creative and take risks, run by the beautiful Agathe Pelisson. I believe it’s important to not wait for things to come to you. Take a chance, share, and help others to move forward and get somewhere too.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
Trust your intuitions. Don’t lose heart, sometimes it’s only a question of timing.
Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?
Last year, just after I finished my masters degree in visual communication, I took a dance and photography workshop with artists Aëla Labbé and Stéphane Tasse. I was not expecting much from it, but this short experience allowed me to get back what I had left aside during my studies. In only three days I gathered so much energy, I realised that I couldn’t stop what I love the most.
What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?
My (non-existent) cooking skills.
How can we find our more about your work?
Who would you most like to answer these questions next?
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
The current idea of feminine beauty feels like a lie. Natural beauty is more present in the media than previously, but we still have a long way to go. We need to see more confident women showing themselves in a very raw way, they are much more beautiful and interesting than any over-edited picture. Another thing I would like to see change is elitism. In the Parisian artistic and fashion world it is particularly obvious, you basically have to know someone if you want to show and share your work.
What is your dream project?
A documentary project which gives the floor to people and allows me to travel.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you ?
I watch a lot of movies that are a real source of inspiration. I also had an intense period of reading Patti Smith’s books. I listen to a lot of music but with a different perception - at the moment, I am really into Spectrum!
In terms of entertainment, I am addicted to Lena Dunham’s Girls. I can’t believe it's over.