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It’s not just photography – we are talking about moments. About instants. And, moreover, we are focused on these expressions and emotions that only appear when you are looking close. And that’s because we are talking with Soraya Daubron, a young photographer based in Paris who is constantly looking for any particular and characteristic feature to capture with her camera. In a world where everyone can become a photographer, she just wants to do what she loves. With or without glory.

Hello, Soraya. To start, tell us a bit what you do and how you got started in the world of photography. Have you always wanted to pursue this path?

When I was younger, I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to talk about others, those who caught my attention and stirred my curiosity. In high school, when I was 14 years old, my parents offered me my first camera. I started to work with Yassine, my first model. The more pictures we took, the more his self-love and self-confidence grew. We saw this as a therapy, and I became interested in working in this direction. After I passed my baccalaureate, I moved to Paris to study art history, and that’s when I seriously started to understand the aim of artistic photography.

Your shooting style is visually distinctive. You are able to capture the essence of those you photograph, providing a strong personality to each one of your works. Is this one of your main goals when shooting?

I don’t really know if it really is the main goal of each picture, but I try to capture something that is sincere, something that is real, that is not pre-fabricated. I love the instant, talking with the person I’m working with, discovering her. I need to create a certain closeness to be able to capture real expressions and real emotions.

Following the topic, tell us, how you choose your models? What features of the people who appear in your photographic work call your attention the most? Do you have a special type of obsession or fixation?

When I started, my only models were my friends and my girlfriend – we are so close, it’s like a family. It was interesting, and it still is, to capture what will soon become memories… Our trips, our parties, our solitude. Later I started asking myself: “In a city like Paris, where we walk across thousands of faces, why do we only remember a handful?” What caught my attention were these atypical faces, these hidden beauties, these particularly strong charms and these strong stares, and the sufferings too. A human detail. I love the solid, masculine attitudes we can find in women, and the natural elegance and sensibility we can find in men.

How would your perfect photo session be like?
I can’t really think of a perfect photoshoot. I like what is unfinished, the imperfect or unplanned shootings. I’ve often functioned upon lucky opportunities and encounters.

Professionals from the creative world are perhaps the ones who have a greater difficulty in achieving some kind of recognition. Have you thought about throwing in the towel at some point?
Yes (laughs). I often have moments when I tell myself it’s too hard. I combine photography and a job in a restaurant that takes a lot of my time, creativity and energy. Today, I feel like everybody is a photographer, so I wonder what would make me different and better than others. The problem is that there is no solution – I don’t think I dream about glory and success, but just to be able to do what I love my whole life.
In regards of your job, what does fulfill you the most? Which is the main reason for you to do what you do?

Being younger, I’d always struggled with my lack of self-esteem and had trust issues. I also had to deal with a crippling shyness – I couldn’t talk to strangers. Fortunately, photography has changed me a lot, and allowed me to express myself through my work. It is, above all, a way to liberate my moods, to be able to talk with as much freedom as possible.

How do you choose between b/w or colour? What do you want to convey with each option?

I started with black and white. I found it more nostalgic, more moving. The colour was harder to manage too. Today, it all depends on the model. I think some people are sometimes more interesting in black and white than in colour, and sometimes it’s the opposite. It also depends on the place, the light, and the camera I’m using.

Many of your photos have a timeless allure, and sometimes a sinister point. What do you want to reflect through this aesthetic? What are the references and personal tastes that influence your style?

The first photographers I got interested in were Nan Golding, Marlène Marino, Peter Lindbergh, Helena Ameida and Greg Kadel. I love, in Golding and Lindberg, the natural aspect, spontaneous and throbbing. I want to manage to show the power of feelings, I’d like the stare I capture to question the one watching the picture, create a certain environment, a certain interaction. I don’t want the picture to obviously be pretty. I want it to itch people.

You’ve recently shot a session you feel especially proud of – we can see a sample of it in this interview. Why do you think it’s the best work you've done so far?

The last shooting is the one I’ve worked for the most – it was the first time for me working with a team, with a makeup artist and someone taking care of the outfits. I originally intended to shoot in a nice apartment, but the plan failed, so we went in a bar, not far away from where I live. I actually really enjoyed having to find a last minute solution, and discovering this bar, which had and amazing charm. It had a strange feel to it that Celine perfectly grasped. We tried to do something quite “fashion”, while remaining in a natural environment, a place that didn’t need five-hour preparation – something sober.

How do you face this upcoming year? Can you tell us about a project that makes you especially excited?

As years go by, I see myself evolve. These last months I did beautiful encounters, I feel well surrounded and I feel like I trust myself more to do nice things, as well as going after my ideas. I see less self-restriction, twice as much work, and I hope to meet nice people. My last work will be out this month at Futur, a little Parisian webzine. I have photographed a bunch of friends, among which Camille, Grand Blanc’s lead singer, and Isabel, who is a part of the band Syracuse.

Cris Blanco

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