Half-dressed torsos and life-sized leopard-like sculptures, it can be difficult to tell what you’re looking at in Laetitia Negre’s photographs. Her experimental, action-packed images sit at the intersection of performance art, film and photography, inviting the viewer to imagine the snapshot’s preceding and subsequent moments. After working with the likes of Dazed, i-D and collaborating with legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, the French-born, London-based photographer has accumulated an enviable portfolio over the past few years.
Laetitia’s photographs display an alternative understanding of the human body. Where most fashion campaigns display similar-looking models with a set number of stock poses, Laetitia looks to capture bodies in mid-movement. In this way, Laetitia prompts the viewer to reconsider what the human body looks like and how clothes can be photographed and presented. “I am interested in our materiality – in our fragility. I look for a place where meaning collapses and one can re-imagine the human form,” she tells us. Laetitia does not follow a fixed set of rules when it comes to shooting. Instead, she starts with a large pool of references, snaps as many shots as possible and goes on to closely edit.
“I try to avoid the constraints of the medium, and destabilise my ideas by challenging a traditional approach to framing, giving space to the accidental and unpredictable. Sometimes this happens during the post-production process as well, and one keeps investigating to see what other possibilities there are,” Laetitia explains. During an i-D shoot, for example, Laetitia travelled to Hawaii to document a paddle board event. She goes on to recount the extent of her seasickness and how, during the shoot, the swell broke inside the boat. Despite these challenges, the final outcome is still one of her favourite shoots to date. It is this fearless attitude that sets Laetitia apart from other fashion photographers; it is her ability to adapt and embrace difficulties that have shaped and moulded her signature style of off-centre shots and bold colours.
Laetitia recently expanded on her skillset by creating a film for Vogue Italia with Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood. “The collaboration and mix of people was at the core of the project, creating an art performance with a diverse cast of dancers and performers,” she says. Film seems like a natural progression for Laetitia, whose enigmatic images are cinematic in their own right. Investigating alternative routes within photography is, however, still at the heart of Laetitia’s interests. As she puts it, “it’s a medium that is constantly evolving and changing if you want it to”.
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