Showcase: Claire Burelli
Meet Claire Burelli a French photographer based in Montreal (Canada)
Hi Claire, you said you are French but live in Montreal, why this choice
In 2004 with my boyfriend decided to make a trip to Montreal for vacation. Later on he had a job opportunity in the city and left France. At the time we didn’t know we would stay this long, but we love Quebec and Montreal, and here we are today, 9 years later with a 2 years old son!
When did you start to take pictures?
I started a long time ago as child. My father always took pictures so I guess I inherited his passion.
I am constantly searching for new inspiration, whether it is from photography field or other visual arts. It takes a big part of my process. Finally I don’t do so many shootings. I prefer putting myself in a mood, for as long as it is necessary to be ready to shoot. I can’t say that I think about ideas a lot, it is much more like preparing myself to be happy to shoot. Then I shoot. It is when i look back later on my images that I create a story. I also like to experiment various way to use the photographic medium. For example I use digital as well as film cameras. I use different kind of film depending on the idea I have or the site I will explore. I like to tell stories with my images. It is the most important for me, beyond my technical skills and the pictorial quality of the image itself. For me photography is like poetry for those who does not know how to write. For that my work can be seen as narrative one, although the formal aspect can be quite abstract sometimes.
At the moment what strikes me the most is how simple or common things around me (places, objects or people) can tell such beautiful stories, if you just look a bit closer.
I take my inspiration everywhere. Now as it is summer time we live a lot outside, so nature inspires me a lot. I tend to be fascinated by the green and brown shades you can find in the forest. Also my son is a great source of inspiration.
I did not choose to make this serie on purpose. We went to Cuba for a family trip and I took a huge amount of picture while we were traveling. Most of them are picture taken from the car’s window!
I am not sure, we spent only 3 weeks in Cuba so I can not pretend I know how the people feel in this country. I think it depends on the people, the situation in which they are. Some obviously wait for a change in their country politics, others are just waiting for the bus or taking a break during the heat of the day.
Of course, if you travelled in another country you would see other kinds of people, other kinds of waiting and other ways to live. Do you think is the place that conditions the people or is the other way around?
I think it is both. For example, in Canada we are somehow conditioned by our weather. We kind of “wait” for the warm days for 6 months…
The first years we were here I was really surprised to see how the population was joyful and exited when spring comes
Of course people can also change the country, we saw it recently with what happened in Island.
In the kind of pictures you took in Cuba, the country seems to be in “black and white”. For me “black and white” are Paris or Berlin, for example, from the first time I’ve seen these cities.
When did you start thinking of Cuba as a “black and white” country?
I used back and white just for this serie because I thought it was more powerful. As the topic is related to time. Cuba is indeed a very colourful country, but for “Intervalles” the fact that people seems to have to wait for such a long time forced me to use black and white.
I travel because I love it. And of course it is easy for me to take inspiration from my travels. Also when I am back home, I take photograph that in a way makes me “travel” again.
Tell me another country or situation that inspired you most.
Not really a country or situation, but there is this friend of mine, who has a very particular face and character. I found that almost everything on her and around her is worth looking at. Her hair, the furnitures she has in her apartment, the clothes she wears. That is truly inspiring! I have always liked to photograph her and I am planing to make a small portrait book for her someday.
One last question, when you were in Cuba, were you also “waiting”?
Of course! In many aspect. In the everyday life we had to wait for common things like a bus, a taxi a shop to open…
Also I am always “waiting” in a contemplative way. I think that is essential for my work. In a way, it is almost like an oxymoron, waiting for the present future to happen!
(Images © Claire Burelli)
More of Claire’s work here