The Interview: Caroline Ruffault
When did you start with photography?
I started photography at the age of 12 when a photography club opened at my school. I guess at first it had a lot to do with avoiding lunch at the cafeteria.
Can you remember your first camera?
Yes, it was a canon AE1. I kept using it but it broke last may.
Who or what made you become a photographer?
At first I wanted to be a cinematographer.
I had a sort of revelation watching John Cassavetes’ s movie « opening night » with Gena Rowlands. I was in high school and my older brother put me in front of it. I thought she was so incredible that I decided it was what I wanted to do, make movies.
I worked for television and some production companies for a while but it never felt right. 4 years ago, I moved to Austin and the only thing I had was myself and a camera. It turned out to be a really good thing.
What were your first influences?
My first influences are also from movies, Wenders, Lynch, Cassavetes, Tarkovsky…
Current camera and equipment; details.
I have a SL35 rolleiflex and a 50mm lens. It’s small I can carry it everywhere.
Lately I also started to process my films in my kitchen. I hide in the closet under the stairs to unload the film in the tank and process it in the sink, it’s fun.
What’s your favorite light?
The light that comes on a face from a window.
What are the subjects you love to photograph and the stories you love to tell?
I love taking pictures of girls and of musicians. The starting point is almost every time a location and then I let my imagination roams on it.
What is the location that you have enjoyed most to take your photographs till today?
I don’t think there is a specific location that turned me on, especially with film you never know what you will get but if I had to choose one, it would be white sands in New Mexico, it’s so photogenic.
“The Female Gaze”, please describe the project.
A girl in one of the shooting I did last year, was taking these suggestive poses without me asking her and at the same moment, I remembered the essay of Laura Mulvey « visual pleasure and narrative cinema » and it suddenly struck me that this model but also me as a photographer were reproducing images and cliches creating by and for men.
It was a kind of wake up call, we have to think about the images we create as women and if possible we should avoid creating images where woman are only seen as an object of desire displayed for man sexual pleasure.
In the series the female and the male body seem almost similar.
What is your good purpose for this new year?
This year I am committed to SHEGAZES (www.shegazes.com).
It’s a magazine dedicated to the portrayal of women.This first issue will be printed in march/april.
It’s the extension of the female gaze series or so far it’s been really great to get in touch with talented photographers that are going to be part of the project.
The submissions are open until the end of January, I am still waiting for more amazing things!
Have you any artistic dreams that you can share with us?
I have a dream of a street made of gigantic photos glued to walls.
Where can we follow your art?