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When we discovered Claire Guarry’s photos, it was love at first sight. Her images truly felt like the epitome of what inspired us to create Mootsh: an anthology of photos that tell stories in a powerful and genuine way.
The images document her children’s childhoods and her family’s wanderings. Their freedom and love for each other. The result: incredibly beautiful images that convey emotions in an honest, wild, almost raw kind of way.
Claire was kind enough to let us use a series of her photos to illustrate the Mootsh philosophy, and to inspire you to capture your big little moments. Keep reading to learn more about this talented photographer and her story, as well as insights on her approach to photography.
I was born and raised in a small village in southwest France where I enjoyed a free and simple childhood close to nature and rooted in community. As the daughter of an art restorer and antique dealer (who used to shoot polaroids), I grew up surrounded by beautiful things from the past. Always curious and avid for discovery, I left my hometown at the age of 18 to explore new paths and lived in London, Barcelona, San Francisco, Bordeaux and Buenos Aires. I am now back in San Francisco with my partner in crime and our three children Anton, born in the heart of Palermo, Buenos Aires two years ago, Elión Marcel, 6, born in Bordeaux and Lou Blanca, 8, a native of the Mission district in San Francisco.
Your Visual Identity.
I am a self-taught photographer. I have always loved images, paintings, illustrations etc. as far as I can remember.
I used to draw constantly as a kid and I think I keep satisfying this need as I edit my pictures, as I “paint” them, meticulously retouching the hues, the tones, the light, the grain, etc. To me, it’s like a never ending creative process starting from the second I press the shutter to the last minimal adjustment. Sometimes I like to go back to my archives and completely change the post processing of a picture, creating a new one from the very same photography.
I think beyond the recurring themes of childhood, humanness, raw freedom, vulnerability, anti-conformism that characterize my photographic identity, there is a strong attraction to the editorial genre. Somewhere in between artistic and journalistic, telling stories like old movies, sharing the electricity, the eternity, the strength of a moment – to a point that is almost disturbing, in a good way.
I just recently started to work professionally as a photographer. I’m still in the process of finding out where it’s leading me, open to a broad range of collaborations and contracts, as long as I know I have the freedom to be faithful to my own style, my heart, and what moves me.
I think this is the key: to not try to adapt your work to what you think your audience or client or collaborator is likely to expect, but on the contrary to make sure that the project has something to do with what you already are (“be yourself, everyone else is already taken”, they say!).
What do you usually shoot with?
When my first child was born 8 years ago and until my second was around one, I used to shoot exclusively with my iPhone – I loved the spontaneity of it, and I was able to obtain good images. I began to feel its limitations and the urge to use a “real” camera five years ago; I invested in a full frame mirrorless from Sony. Today I always have two cameras with me: a Sony rx1r with a fixed 35mm lens and a Sony alpha 7 mark 2 that I use with a 80mm or my vintage Minolta rokkor lenses (58mm and 135mm) with a simple adapter. Old legacy lenses are more challenging for children photography as the focus is manual, but they are amazingly sturdy, have a unique feel and are affordable!
Do you have 1 or 2 tips to share?
I know the digital era makes it easy to press the shutter without even thinking but I believe good photos happen with intention, paying attention to what is happening, being patient, waiting for this special movement, interaction, emotion.
In French we say “le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” (“better is the enemy of good”): I believe I do apply this when I take and when I SELECT my pictures, meaning that I am very demanding regarding the ones that I will keep and play with and share. Only the GOOD ones, not the “not bad” ones – even if they are technically perfect and pretty.
We tend to take so many pictures that the selection process became a huge part of the work, and you have to be very selective. Maybe keep but put the ok ones aside (for their memory value) and play with the crème de la crème ones.
Also, because people ask often: I use both VSCO and Lightroom apps to edit my pictures; 95% of the time on my phone which is a bad habit I want to change to a maximum of 25%, for the sake of my eyes! There are many great editing apps and softwares around and I wouldn’t recommend one over another.
What do you do with your photos?
I mostly share them on Instagram and with my family; I very rarely print my pictures, which is a shame. It is such an achievement and a joy to have a photograph you made and love in your hands, feeling it, seeing it in a much smoother way than on a screen. It’s an object, a piece of art. I own very little things because we’ve been moving so often but the few photos I have, I cherish them dearly, and they travel with us. Now that I’m subscribed to Mootsh I can’t wait to start printing on a monthly basis – I’m already thinking of wall art, self-edited books… Beyond the concept of a high-quality photo printing service, there is a real intention to help people re-appropriate the photographic process at Mootsh, and I’m thrilled to somehow be a part of this great project.
Each month, we print your memories with care and deliver them to your doorstep, ready for you to live with and adore.
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