Window or Aisle: Juliette Charvet
I know Juliette for over a year now.
We first met in a Food Photography’s weekend class at ICP. I think we both had the same camera (Nikon D90) and we worked together on some assignments. Since then we made it as a habit to meet each other once in a while, ALWAYS in a Le Pain Quotidien somewhere in the city (I think we almost covered all the branches in NY) and catch up about our recent or up-coming travels plans or the photography projects we both have in line. (yes, these images of mine were taken by Juliette during one of our Summer Session over a drink in the Lower East Side)
I think it was because of Juliette that I got the courage to travel by myself to Vietnam, as Juliette used to live in Hanoi few years ago. And maybe she got the idea to visit Tokyo because of my recent trip there. In any case, I find Juliette a vibrant photographer who is passionate about travel as much as I do. For my column Window or Aisle, Juliette chose to focus on Black and White portraits; ‘I thought it would add a B&W touch to your blog -haha!- and also thought it would be nice to show that travel photography is also about portraits and how you can travel even in your own neighborhood’ she wrote me, and I couldn’t agree more.
As I write these words I happen to be in Paris, waiting for Juliette’s first exhibit to kick in. The exhibit ‘NY Figures’ will be showing on June 14 till July 28 in Le Village Royal. If you happen to be in Paris on that time, don’t miss Juliette’s exhibition.
Where are you from? I am a French photographer. I grew up in France and I now live in New York.
Where did you study photography ? Like a lot of photographers I guess, I learned the fundamentals of photography from my father. I studied journalism and in 2001, I traveled to Beirut and perfected my skills at the news agency AFP’s photo service. This is where I learned how to shoot digital. Since I moved to New York, more than 7 years ago, I have been involved with the International Center of Photography, first as a student and now as a Teachers’ Assistant.
What made you want to learn it? I have always wanted to catch and frame certain moments, faces, looks and situations. It’s when I traveled to the US for the first time as a teenager, that I first realized that photography could allow me to take a step back and a certain distance with reality. By taking a picture I could literally “freeze” my surroundings.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you do? I would be a wine maker and oenologist, maybe in the South of France or in Italy. I LOVE wine!
Where do you get your inspiration from? I get my inspiration from the places I travel to. Different people, atmospheres, lights, streets, landscapes, architecture, that make each place unique. That’s what I try to capture.
How do you usually approach a new project? For me, the usual approach is to look at my environment with wonderment and to let me get “surprised” by a subject, a situation, an idea. Then I start working from there.
What are you working on right now? I am completing a series called ‘Faces of the Lower East Side’. It’s a series of portraits I started to shoot last summer in my neighborhood, the lower east side of manhattan. I have been leaving in this neighborhood for 7 years and have been witnessing the recent evolution of the neighborhood. Gentrification is slowly forcing out low-income families of all ethnic backgrounds. One day I realized that the deli down my building was closed and that I won’t see the Pakistani owner and his nice face any more. That is when I decided to start this series, in order to document my neighbors, the people who live on my block, in my street, who are the faces of the Lower East Side. Taking these pictures make me travel in my own neighborhood. It is a journey through places and time: people from Cuba, Porto Rico, Jewish people, Chinese, young hipsters…
Window or Aisle? Window definitely! I want to see what is going on down under. But you don’t want to seat next to me as I will constantly go back and forth, I can not seat still in a plane! I am too impatient and cannot wait to arrive to the next place.