Stephane Sednaoui: Not about a Pretty Girl

it takes courage to enjoy it
the hardcore and the gentle
big time sensuality

Perhaps the only way to describe a mountain is to try to describe just one of it’s views. Stephane Sednaoui is a French Photographer, Director and Producer with a career history that spans 30 years. Bjork, Madonna, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Massive Attack make up the constellation of icons he has directed music videos for. He’s worked as a Photo Journalist during the Romanian Revolution of 1989. He’s captured the alien horror of Ground Zero while volunteering for the clean-up of 9-11. And in his most recent works of fine art photography, Clues I, he’s articulated the slivers and seconds that make up the mundane and heartrendingly intimate. Moments so small and close they turn supernova under the eye of a witness. Beneath an image of his mother are the words of their last conversation.

Yet here we start with the surface. Sednaoui has worked with Vogue, Interview and The Face to cultivate his unique take on Fashion editorial. Working closely with Gaultier and citing William Klein as his influence, gives us some insight to what’s going on behind Stephane’s smashing gaze.

It’s not about a pretty girl, they’re heroines. Often in black and white, riddled with grain, cut up, slashed, twisted and warped, his fashion editorial has a lens that seems to focus like a knifes edge yet also blur like a vision submerged. With wide angles, multiple exposures & a strong presence of the photographer’s eye, Sednaoui’s work brings a sense of cinema and narrative. It’s not about the surface. Each piece plays out like it’s own symphony. A movement between quiet moments that pulse, jagged tensions that jar and a needle-like focus from which everything else spirals out. Perhaps this stems from Stephane’s love of photo reportage. A series of shots determined to tell a story. A world view that sits bigger than the frame it occupies. There’s that edge of your seat quality. A gritty irreverence that whips the contrived. “When I was in the street with a camera I was too self conscious, so I wrapped the camera round my hand. The next two years I never looked through [it]. I based my early career on accidents”.

It’s lively and curious and sophisticated enough to be open ended.  It asks you to pay attention rather than glaze over with the gloss. If this is what Sednaoui brings to the rag trade, just imagine what he’s doing with the riches.

“What we are doing with art is we are trying to go beyond limits and explore other territories and see just how far we can go”.

See more of Sednaoui’s Directorial Work.

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