We can’t consider today’s cutting-edge photography scene without mentioning the work of Florence Tétier and Nicolas Coulomb. After having launched Novembre Magazine seven years ago, the artistic duo has never stopped spreading their very own aesthetic through an amazingly large spectrum of mediums, projects and collaborations. Pushing the boundaries of beauty, the weird or the ugly, Florence and Nicolas are redefining a certain vision of art and fashion where luxury has become an obsolete concept. Better not to say too much here, let images talk for themselves.
Hello Florence and Nicolas, who are you?
Florence: We are a couple living and working together. We do photography. We teach at the Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL) together, and sometimes we split for good. I myself teach also at the Haute Ecole d'Art et Design de Genève (HEAD) in Geneva, and I publish Novembre Magazine, and work as a freelance art director too.
Can you tell us more about the genesis of your artistic collaboration?
We started working together quite naturally, even if we have different backgrounds and different influences. Nicolas is a photographer and I’m a graphic designer and creative director, so we complete each other pretty naturally. After a while, we decided to label ourselves as a duo because we thought that the result (images) was more important than the process.
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You like the aesthetic of the accident, the detail that disturbs, the line that questions what’s beauty or ugly. You work is complex, oscillating between the unusual, the delicate, the sartorial and the bizarre. While shooting, when do you reach the final point when you can say, yes, this is it?
Hard to tell. I would say it’s when an image speaks to us and gives us a certain emotion, I guess. But it’s very personal, it’s not like there’s a recipe!
What about post editing?
We do the minimum, really. Almost nothing, we like showing what we see on set.
You master the art of experimenting with colours and textures with recurrent themes such as flowers, glossy make up, jewellery, etc. Who are the artists, designers, photographers and stylists that inspire you the most everyday?
We could go on forever, but we’ll say Irving Penn, Prince, Courtney Love, Torbjørn Rødland, Jamie Hawkesworth, Philip-Lorca di Corcia, Beni Bischof, Fischli & Weiss, Eckhaus Latta, David Carson, Talia Chetrit, Dries Van Noten, Tina Barney, George Michael, Acne Studios, David Sims, Thomas Ruff, John Waters, Donna Trope, Camille Bidault Wadington, Virginie Despentes, Buffalo Zine, etc. And here’s my own moodboard.
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We’ve seen your names on many campaigns for brands like Kenzo, Camper, Ground Zero, or Neith Nyer. How to find the right balance between your creative direction and the designers’ aesthetic?
It’s about discussion and finding the right balance between the brand’s DNA and your own aesthetics. It’s also really about meeting people that trust you. It takes a while to find them, but when you have, it really is the best.
What does luxury mean to you?
Not much, aesthetically at least. Because to be honest, we will work with the same process for a high jewellery brand as for a streetwear company.
We couldn’t do this interview without evoking your work with Novembre Magazine as co-founders and creative directors. Next issue just went out a couple of weeks ago. Can you tell us more about the creative process behind issue #12?
It’s very personal as well. It’s what we find inspiring at the moment, what we feel attracted to, what we find relevant at the very moment; a lot of meetings, researches, moodboards, Skype calls, and coup de coeurs as well! It’s a lot of discussion too, with Jeanne-Salomé Rochat (art) and Georgia Pendlebury (fashion). Also, I’ve been listening to Booba a lot, maybe that shows?
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What is for you the biggest challenge with print editing?
Finding money, for sure. Creativity is always there, we could have ten magazines out in a year if we had the funds because there are always great contributors either getting in touch with us or that we discover by ourselves. In a way, I guess, that’s also good because it really forces us to make the best selection.
What do you think makes Novembre Magazine such a referent in the fashion world today?
Oh, thanks! I don’t know, am I the right person to say? I don’t really have an idea of our impact or of what people think of the magazine, to be honest. Maybe that’s better so that I continue doing it without thinking too much. I wouldn’t want it to be too geeky/brainy/obvious.
What would your dream collaboration be?
Anything with John Waters.
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