Marine Toux is a young female photographer in France. She has a very personal style and we're very happy to present you her work and universe for the International Women's Day. In this interview, she shares her approach of feminism and talks about her work.
Hello Marine! Welcome on board for the International Women's Day! Could you tell us more about your work related to women?
Hello :) Thank you for having thought of me for this day not only dedicated to women, but also especially to their global rights and equality. Although my photos are not directly political, I am a strident feminist and I hope to show women through a different perspective than the viewpoint we are used to seeing.
You did a really nice series called Les créatives (Creative Girls), can you tell us more about this series?
I started this series of portraits about 1 year ago, this work is still ongoing, I update it regularly, whenever I have a little time.
At first the idea of this series was to force me to go to people to do more portraits. And then I realized that even if I make portraits of people I do not necessarily know, I could take advantage of the shoot to meet creative people whose work I really love. So I started contacting some really cool girls to ask them to make some pictures together, and up until now, nobody has said no! It was a bit of a coincidence that it was only girls, maybe I was more comfortable contacting them, or more drawn to their work.
After a few shoots, I had the idea to make these portraits a specific project that would promote talented women doing cool things in the world. (OK, maybe it’s a little bit political!)
In any case, the project is constantly evolving! The ideal scenario for me would be if a media outlet saw the project and was interested in publishing the portraits regularly. I would like it to be a serial, each episode a new woman, a new universe of talent.
How do you decide to deal with women and women bodies in general in your shots? What's your approach in these topics?
In my series I always try to have a narrative. It’s easy to take “test” shots with girls to try out some photographic techniques, but to build a series I need to have a story to tell.
For Devil Got My Girl, for example, the idea was to show the transition from childhood to adulthood, the world that changes around you and the different stages of its construction. I am slightly obsessed with this period of transition, the moment when one grows up and enters an adult world, and I often focus on it within my photos.
What about the series Playground Love?
For Playground Love I had several ambitions: to create a stylized universe in the colors, the clothes and the decor, and also to show independent women, each with her own identity but also a group identity. In my mind there's nothing more cool than a girl gang!
I asked for the help of four friends with whom I had already made projects, all super creative and talented, and we worked together on this. It was the first time I had worked with so many different people, it was not easy in terms of timing and organization, and it was a real challenge to direct the four girls for each photo! But in the end it was super rewarding, the girls all put a bit of themselves into the final photographs and I am very happy with the results :)
As a female photographer, did you encounter some issues towards your gender?
Like in many industries, many people still assume that if you are a woman you can not carry anything heavy, repair anything and that you know nothing about technique. I have heard comments relating to these things when I was in a photography studio, for example. Most of the time it is just small details but I find it important that this sexist way of seeing things is no longer seen as "normal" or "logical".
Do you think it's complicated to be a woman in the photography world?
I confess that I never really thought about it, but I prefer not to dwell on it too much because I’m scared I would start acting differently to compensate. There is already so much competition in this world that if I put up barriers up for myself because I am a woman, it would be even more difficult.
Women bodies is under a lot of pressure, especially in the fashion industry and media in general. But some trends like body positivism tend to be more important. What do you think about it?
It is true that as soon as it comes to fashion or advertising there are certain codes that must be adhered to, which are introduced to us early in our photographic education, telling us to create perfect skin or refine the body shape. But I also feel that the traditional rules around a body “ideal” are increasingly broken, perhaps with the development of the body positivism, or more globally feminism which has taken an increasingly important place in the media. Our generation takes more liberties, everything is not obliged to be perfect, on the contrary.
Are there some female photographers that you like?
If I could only name one, I would say Petra Collins. She is the perfect example of this "new generation" I was talking about. She made herself known on the Internet after Instagram censored one of her photos that showed a girl in a bikini with some hairs sticking out. And now she works for Gucci and Adidas for example.
I feel very close to her work, she is my # 1 inspiration right now! She shows independent women and above all her work feels different from what we see in most magazines. And then she works in analog, playing with light and colors, her style is really apart.
My other favorite photographers include Nan Goldin and Diane Arbus, among the first to break codes.