This week for the first time (but hopefully not the last) I was asked over email if I wanted to get my kit off. “Just an idea to supplement your article,” Julien Vallon added sweetly. “Do you want to pose for me, as part of this project?”
The project he’s talking about is Pre-Conscience/Conscience, or PCS/CS for short, an experimental art series which he describes as “a long reflection on subconscious movement.” Julien explains: “During several hours, according to Jung’s precepts, I try to open the inside world of my models to reveal their true identity through their own movement, until each impulse becomes natural.” He’s trying to capture “the free movement beyond logic, will, thought and conformity, to release the beauty.” If it sounds gruelling, then you’ve got the right idea. “The time of each shoot is very variable. It can last up to ten hours.”
Working with ordinary people rather than models, and with a mixture of strangers and people he knows – “the mix is interesting” – Julien extracts his subjects’ inner beauty in the form of beautiful, contorted nudes. It’s a personal project, and a step away from his usual fashion work for the likes of Kanye West, Vogue, L’Officiel Brasil and Adidas, but it makes for a fascinating change of pace in his portfolio. The strong, abstract shapes formed by the awkward angle of a crooked neck, or a calf muscle twisted over a head, resonate long after the first look. As for posing, I’ll keep you posted.