I couldn’t think of better time to share Julie de Waroquier’s work. Julie is a young (she’s only 23!) talented photographer, whose story is very inspiring: she is a self taught artist who started “quite randomly”, and has just published her first book: Rêvalités/Dreamalities! She was kind enough to answer a few questions for YM&C readers, so, with a dear friend of mine, we set up an appointment in a cozy café and spent a great part of the afternoon talking. Read what she has to say about photography (and about magic and fairy tales too!), and see her stunning photos!
Ninon: You say that you got involved in photography when you were 19. What was the starting point?
Julie: I was offered a small camera for my birthday. I wanted one to take pictures of my holidays, but I soon discovered that I liked to create my own stories and sceneries…
N: What was the first camera you used? What camera do you use now?
Julie: It was a Sony DSC something, a very small digital camera that anyone can buy. Now I have the amazing Nikon D700 with 18-55mm and 50mm f1.4 lenses.
N: Editing is very useful, and also fascinating: the possibilities are endless! How do you know when a piece doesn’t need more editing?
Julie: This is a good question! I think it’s both a personal feeling and a care for not going too far. Editing a picture does not mean transforming it, but enhancing it, revealing its treasures. It completes the initial idea. So I guess I find a picture is edited enough when it looks like the image I had in mind at the beginning. It is when my concept seems finalized. I always try not to alter the picture, but to finalize it.
N: Is there something (anything..! can be a specific tool or maybe a lucky charm?) without which you cannot create, something absolutely indispensable to you?
Julie: The tool “curves”, which exists in most of the editing softwares; it’s the tool I use the most to edit color.
N: You have been awarded many times. What did you feel when you received these prizes? Do they affect the way you work? Do you think that, in some way, being awarded puts pressure on you?
Julie: Being awarded reassures me. I doubt a lot about the value of my work, so receiving an award gives me some self-confidence. It does not put pressure on me, it really helps me to trust in my work.
N: Some of your works seem to be inspired by fairy tales: Snow-White, Cinderella… While we were looking at your photos, one of my friends told me (speaking of gone with the fairy tales) “It reminds me of that scene in Mary Poppins, when they are all floating in the air due to too much laughter!” What is your favorite fairy tale, or the one that inspires you the most?
Julie: What I like in fairy tales is that they express universal feelings and values, that everyone carries in his/her heart. This is precisely what I try to create and express in my own pictures, universal feelings… the tales that inspire me the most are the “New Fairy Tales” by the Comtesse de Ségur, especially “The Little Grey Mouse”.
N: What would you want people to feel, to experience, to understand when they look at your art?
Julie: I try to express various things, there are different levels of interpretation. If my pictures can make people dream for a while, it’s fine for me. But if my pictures can lead to introspections or wonders about our world, I’ve reached my goal! I try to question our world through my pictures, by showing how it could be, that is to say how it is not.
N: Who are your favorite artists (can be any artists, not only photographers!)?
Julie: There are so many… At the moment I’m in love with Desiree Dolron‘s artwork.
N: Lots of people ask you to reveal your secrets, ask you to explain how you create without manipulating. Of course we know there is always a trick, but nevertheless, some of your pictures really seem to be magic. Do you believe in magic? Would you say you are kind of a magician?
Julie: I’d rather consider myself a story-teller with pictures… I believe in magic that can be seen in everyday life. A sunshine, a birds flight, dust floating in a ray of light… magic is everywhere.
N: To finish, let’s play a little game! If I say “dreams” you say…
N: If I say “Paris”…
N: And if I say “America”?
N: If I say “travel”..?
Julie is a student in philosophy. She is inspired by great philosophers and sometimes uses her photos to express philosophical paradoxes in her own style. We exchanged our feelings on some pictures and we were surprised that they can be read into in many different ways! Please, tell us some of your interpretations in the comments!
*Editor’s note: Thanks a lot to my friend Jennifer for helping me with this interview