All journeys begin with a date. In 1976, the creative spirit of Géraldine Villemain was born in the vibrant city of Paris, influenced by the currents of modern art. Later, in a serendipitous turn of events during a train journey to Bordeaux in 2000, she stumbled upon a discarded camera in a street trash can. Since that moment, photography has seamlessly integrated into her daily life.

Géraldine, a woman, a mother, and a photographer, embraces the instant format, mirroring the natural flow of her life. She treats each moment as a narrative, experimenting and learning as one does with life’s lessons. We are honoured to welcome Géraldine to Instant Photographers for this new photography season.

Instant Photographers: Géraldine, your work has been exhibited in different places, where it has been possible to identify your work with a biographical process, in which all the places seem familiar to the eyes of the viewer. Tell us a little about your way of reaching those objects and places and then moving them to a space where you can feel the moment of the photograph.

Géraldine Villemain: In each project, I instinctively and spontaneously choose places, characters, attitudes, and accessories. The desired emotion is present but crystallizes into an image only moments before the camera clicks. The familiarity in the settings stems from my surroundings—elements inspiring me to create an outfit expressing the intended emotion. The polaroid lends a timeless and immortal quality to these moments.

IP: Your creative process involves instinctively selecting elements. How do you connect these elements with the emotions you wish to convey in your photographs?

GV: Most of the time I first have the idea of an emotion, of a feeling that I would like to create through a photograph, then I take a lot of time to search, to look around me at what would be the elements that would attract me and create the atmosphere. desired.

Finding the right items can take some time.

IP: You mentioned that instant photography allows you to make moments timeless and immortal. How do you think this quality affects the way the viewer experiences your works?

GV: The viewer is affected by the representation of instant photography because it breaks the most basic and elemental reference points that mark and frame our daily life, and our memories: space and time. Instant and experimental photography allows time and space to be curved, thus causing a caesura in which our mind can let itself go and abandon itself without a time frame.

IP: How does instant photography become an integral format in your artistic work?

GV: Photography came into my life because I had things to say and to express out loud, but no sound came out. Everything was stuck inside. Words do not come naturally to me, and I often find that the word chosen is never exactly the one that corresponds to what I want to express.

A Catalan friend told me about photography and lent me one, and then I found this camera in a trash can, so I thought, “Why not photography…?” Photography has appeared as a means of expression that allows me to be as close to what I want to express.

I chose analogue and instant photography because both allow me to compose, search, create and experiment naturally. I like to control some aspects of my shots, and at the same time, I like to surprise myself. There is a texture, an atmosphere that I have never found with digital. So, I left it aside.

IP: These are times of creation in complex times, how do you see the panorama of art and photography in particular today?

GV: Art globally faces challenges, often mistreated and demanding constant justification. Artists, especially in France, navigate precarious living conditions. Despite the struggles, art remains crucial, expressing feelings, and emotions, and serving as a platform for advocacy and resistance.

It’s time to make it essential.

IP: As a photographer who has exhibited her work in various places, how do you select the spaces and environments to display your instant photographs? What considerations do you consider when presenting your work to the public?

GV: Each space deserves a particular scenography. Each photograph needs to exist both alone and with others, each one must have a place that highlights it. What do I mean? How do I want to guide the viewer’s journey?

Where do I want to take it? In each exhibition, I think of my exhibition as unique, as if it were the first, maintaining my point, my story and at the same time allowing the viewer to create their own story with my photographs.

It happens that the series is shown partially because it would not be suitable in its entirety.

IP: What impact do you want to achieve with your instant photographs? Is there a specific emotion or message you hope to convey to those who view your work?

GV: I want the viewer to get lost in my universe, I want him to free himself from his own perception to let himself slide into mine. My photographs remain and will always continue to be part of me, my emotions, my personal history and my relationship with the world. Therefore, the viewer is invited to enter it, to face it.

I want to create a reaction, whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t matter, I just want it to exist. Creating art is expressing yourself, showing yourself naked, if there is a reaction then it is a bit like someone is listening to me.

IP: Are there any photography projects you are currently working on or any ideas you have in mind for future explorations in the field of instant photography?

GV: I also work with films, and I like to experiment in a laboratory. I don’t have any projects particularly linked to instant photography, but I continue to explore what it can offer me in more visual practices.

Today I am looking for how to express my feelings about our society in a committed way through different cinematographic techniques (photograms, chemograms, cyanotypes, pigment prints, etc.)

IP: What advice would you give to photographers who are starting to delve into the instant format?

GV: Instant photography can be very satisfying because of the immediate result, but it has a fairly high cost. Think of it like any other photograph, write it down. You have to “see” your image, your photograph before taking it.

The cost of cartridges will remind you of these notions.

If there are wasted, “failed” photos, and there necessarily will be, do not throw anything away, then it will become your experimental support for alternative practices.

So photograph with your image in mind, try, experiment and, above all, persevere.