Pauline Darley is a young fashion photographer based in Paris. Working as a full time photographer only since 2010, she has an impressive number of series and collaborations for magazines as Marie Claire, L’officiel and Elle. Recently she caught the attention on the web with the series “She has waited too long”, featuring model Clementine Levy in a ghostly skeletal make-up that is hauntingly beautiful.
Her photographic universe is mostly composed of female portraiture and fashion, as the artist herself admits she enjoys creating the composition around individuals. Feminine, elegant and timeless, her images create a subtle and elegant mood.
I like taking pictures of people, I like aesthetic, to create around people. Fashion was logical in my photography choice, as well as portrait photography.
In the interview that Pauline gave us, she talks about working as a professional photographer, about the fashion world and the mood that she loves creating around her images.
Already having worked with some important names from the fashion industry, being published on international fashion magazines and already shooting at fashion shows, Pauline let’s us know how is it like to work in such an environment. And although the limits are already predefined in the fashion world, in terms of the result, Pauline is happy that she managed to bring an infusion of her world into the scene:
It’s special, because they are a big corporation. They know what they want to do and what they don’t want. On the other hand, nothing was shocking because I made what they asked me to do and I managed to bring a little bit of my “photographic universe” too.
Pauline confesses that the world of fashion is pretty closed and that it is difficult to enter it from the beginning. She considers herself lucky of having the occasion to enter it, but she’s aware that she’s not completely a part of this world.
Big clients don’t want to take risks, they want to trust you and your skill. As a photographer, I get often recommended for a job. For me, I’m not yet “inside” the fashion world. I’m an unknown! I think you have to move bit by bit, being yourself in order to have success. The world of fashion is very closed. I’ve been very lucky to work with Armani or Sony Music or to go to the fashion shows.
Although she is an autodidact when it comes to photography, Pauline acknowledges that the learning curve is much more faster when dabbling with this art in a professional environment rather than freelancing on your own.
I am an autodidact, my boyfriend taught me studio lightning, but the retouch, composition and the idea is my part, although we still do learn a lot together. I think that being an autodidact can be good with motivation and hard work. You’re alone, you can choose where you want to go. But the process takes more time I think. Because you have to make mistakes to realize you made them. On the other hand, with school, you learn more quickly, you know the “tips and tricks” of the profession, you get very useful advice from other photographers or people who are already in the business.
Being influenced by a variety of concepts, from history to mythology, concepts, movies, paintings and daily life, the artist started to like fashion through the lens of her camera. But she started creating her universe around the model, and she’s now choosing all the elements of the scenario: the hairstyle, makeup and outfits.
As we all have to start somewhere, Pauline recalls her beginning in photography during her studies in Paris and then experimenting with it as a profession later. Now she has a full staff at her disposal.
I started to work as a professional during my studies in Paris. People wanted to give me money in exchange of photo shoots. Then, I worked with a French magazine for a few months. At the end of my scholarship, I wanted to try being a full time photographer to test if it’s ok for me to live out of my passion. Today, I can ask the model agency to work with its models, I have a staff composed of a hairstylist, make up artist and stylists working with me very often.
For Pauline, the mood she creates and the element of surprise that comes with every new composition is what she enjoys most about her work. And of course, there is a certain freedom that comes with working like this:
In photography, I like to look a lot at little details to have a good picture and join them together to make a powerful image. My pictures aren’t good or strong but I like doubt, because, even with a good preparation, even if I think of all the details, there will often be a little surprise which will make the difference. I like creating a mood, in the preparation (make up, hair, style), photo shooting (light, composition) or retouching (color, contrast). I also like to manage my own agenda, being my own boss.
As for the future, Pauline loves to take things slowly and enjoy what she’s doing. No pressure, no projects, just the joy of the moment and more stories and moods through her feminine images.
Day by day, I observe what’s going on with me, and do what I can do. I don’t want any pressure on me, I take my personal projects according to my preferences. I know that I want to continue in the fashion world because it’s huge, I want create more stories, more moods. I want to take my time!
Check out some selections of Pauline’s work below, and for more check out her Facebook page.
All photos are courtesy of Pauline Darley