Calypso Mahieu’s photography makes the simplest things sexy (some NSFW)

Date
20 November 2017

Calypso Mahieu could photograph a bag of over spilling rubbish and make it look sexy. The ECAL graduate has an enviable ability to transform the simplest of objects into something charming — and when models and cinema settings are involved it just becomes next level.

For instance, there is one image of Calypso’s which is literally just a hallway but looks magical through a clever use of light. This is her secret weapon, Calypso explains, as she believes that everything depends on lighting within the field of photography. “It can destroy or make a picture sublime very easily.” Born in Paris, and “half Parisian, half Provencale,” the photographer’s light inspiration develops from alternative sources: “cinema light, romantic ‘South of France’ sunset light, or even desk lamp lighting,” are all sources of inspiration for the photographer.

Introduced to the medium by women’s magazines, Calypso’s attraction to photography came from a fascination of “the bodies, the light, the attitudes, rather than fashion itself,” she says. This is obvious in her portfolio, where female figures feature heavily with elegance, covered with a gloss which the light bounces off. Calypso applies a similar approach when she is photographing still life too, such as glass perfume bottles whizzing through the air or carefully placed on a rock.

Her approach, “tells stories, anecdotes and is full of references to the past,” Calypso explains. “My pleasure resides in capturing the past and transcending it to my own vision. I like working around women, nudity, eroticism and the macabre.” The women cast in the photographer’s shoots consequently aren’t dainty, or just clothes horses, they’re bold and showcase individual personalities in styling, positioning or just a certain gaze emphasised by “experimental makeup looks and fashion styles from the 80s,” she says. It’s a method that seems to be working with Calypso already having shot for Italian Vogue, New York Times, King Kong and Please! just a year after graduating too.

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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Calypso Mahieu

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.

lb@itsnicethat.com

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