“Often hyperbolic and satirical”, Salomé Trezise crafts intricate narratives through her photography
Shot predominantly on iPhone, the London-based photographer uses polished set design and references to family life to inform her unique practice.
- Olivia Hingley
- 18 January 2022
Photographer Salomé Trezise thrives most when exploring every corner of her creativity. She “loves the challenge of being a one woman team”, Salomé says, who leads the art and movement direction, graphic design, set design and styling for all of her work. Despite being a young photographer, this precise, confident and decisive vision has already given Salome’s work such a recognisable brand. Retro, garish backdrops, references to everyday absurdities and examination of familial and intimate relationships; every one of her photographs has a clear Salomé stamp. Being born to a Sengalese mother who grew up in the South of France and an English father, Salomé views herself as a “Sengalese, English and French hybrid.” This sense of being connected to numerous places also translated into Salomé’s childhood with her and her family being regularly on the move. Born in Paris, she spent most of her childhood in London, and moved with her family to Brussels when she was 8. And, after spending her teenage years in Belgium she moved back to London to study for a degree in design for art direction at London College of Communication.
Whilst Salomé has been attracted to photography for “as long as she can remember”, it was her family's move to Brussels that solidified her love for the medium. Describing herself as “super unhappy” after the relocation, photography offered her a means through which she could channel her discontent. “I can remember sitting at the window of our apartment and just taking pictures of everything I saw through the window, trying to create a little story in my head for each image. It was a form of escapism to me.” Getting her first camera when she was 13 – the one she still uses today – Salomé moved onto portrait photography, documenting her friends and their shared surroundings.
But while Salomé still sometimes works with her treasured camera, more recently she has been mainly shooting on her iPhone. Salomé enjoys the sense of immediacy that shooting on iPhone gives her, meaning she's able to “shoot, edit and have my final image on the same day". She adds: “I really like the fact that I can just pull out my phone at any given moment and create imagery that is of a certain standard, I want to be able to create 24/7.” Self Portrait 1, one of her iPhone pieces, is a personal favourite because it “was the first time in forever that I got back into creating," she says. “I had been in a creative block for a year or two and was never satisfied with anything I made.” The portrait, which shows Salomé perched on a stool, and her surroundings wrapped in plastic cellophane, was inspired by the various lockdowns of 2020: “I wanted to visually translate how being stuck in lockdown in London felt [...] I felt suffocated by all these rules and regulations and had an urge to make something that highlighted that feeling.”
Interestingly, when talking of her current influences, Salomé tells us that she's most inspired by packaging. With around “200 random product images” on her phone, Salomé is inspired by “the choice of colours, imagery and typefaces.” “I love the aesthetic of poorly put together ads that are almost awkward at times.” This sense of fabrication and overly staged imagery is best explored in one part of Salomé’s ongoing series Dysfunctional Families, “an ode to the chaos and beauty of family life and the way it shapes who we become, how we grow.” In the photos, a mother and father freak out as their son accidentally crushes a large cake. With the garish style, gaudy 70s backdrop and the subjects clashing retro clothing, the photo could easily be an old ad for carpet cleaner. With her clear insight, staging and direction, Salomé creates an insanely perceptive, satirical and humorous image, full of layers and vivid action.
On the flipside, for each part of Dysfunctional Families, Salomé seeks to “create a new aesthetic that reinforces the narrative and allows me to keep the series constantly evolving”. In her photos of two boys and their dad, Salomé offers her audience a beautifully sensitive portrayal of familial bonds. “An ode to single dads”, she says, Salomé wants to challenge the “negative connotations and stereotypes” attached to Black fathers through her photos. Taking place in a laundrette, with the simplistic, muted colour scheme and plain clothing, Salomé draws attention to her figures. The two boys sat atop the machines, their dad looking serenely at the camera; they share a relaxed, meditative moment in the lull of a mundane, everyday domestic task.
In an attempt to “feel more rooted to [her] heritage”, Salomé also directly explores her own family and culture through her series Senegalese Fever. The series materialised during her travels around Europe in 2021. When she ended up in Milan, she tells us that she was “pleasantly surprised to see so many beautiful and familiar faces on unknown territory” after not realising the city had such a large Senegalese population. Wanting to pay homage to “the heat and vibrance of our people”, Salomé aimed for a “firey and bright” aesthetic. With an eccentric, oversaturated editing style, Salomè gives the male subjects red eyes and red foreheads as “an exaggerated visual translation of Senegalese fever.” And certainly, with this otherworldly, high-contrast effect, the end result is so visually striking. Possessing such drive and determination as well as an exceptional creative eye, we have no doubt that Salomé is destined for greatness.
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.