I bought a copy of Mirage in Paris during my Christmas holiday, left it unopened in a corner of my parent’s flat, returned to London and after a hectic month remembered to look at it when I found a male friend in my kitchen grinning at the pictures in the same way he would when looking at the … sports pages (although he may think that this is an unfair caricature)! This “incident” was precisely what encouraged me to finally sit down and turn the pages of the magazine. I was immediately seduced by the intense vintage quality of the stories and the direct and indirect softly erotic references. In the days after having looked at Mirage in its entirety, I realized that it had been a quality investment: the shoots reflected an aesthetic I love and a sensuous visual exploration you don’t always see. In parallel, it is coherently creating a new understanding of nudity combined with fashion. Another vital element is photography. A lot of mainstream fashion publications don’t have the freedom to commission new or more imaginative photographers and express their sense of identity through the use of the same “banal” image-makers year after year. Finding Anne-Constance Frénoy’s work in Mirage was delightful on every level. It felt like I had discovered a jewel among the erotically charged dimension of the magazine’s pages. I was fascinated. She is a remarkable and original photographer who seems to have a fundamental obsession with the female body, nature’s marvels and romantic atmospheres. In her images the dreaming world appears to mingle freely with reality, combining the unlikely with the closely observed (almost naked girls in sun-drenched gardens or fields) and for the technically minded she also demonstrates how to lead the eye to wonderful light games. This is the kind of work that leads me to make an exciting connection to David Hamilton or Tana Kaleya. They all share the same desire to please the senses and develop a poetic and nostalgic vitality. Looking at Anne-Constance Frénoy’s pictures it is inevitable to see that her narratives are sometimes based on her personal experience as a dancer and model giving her a better awareness of a woman’s body.
She’s a new firm favourite of mine!
All images courtesy of Anne-Constance Frénoy