Lydia Metral’s ongoing insightful photography project titled Les Insouciants (the reckless) captures a wide range of queer identified individuals as they really are; themselves. Each picture intends to meet those involved at their eye level in order to as closely as possible meet their perspectives and point of view. The subjects of each photo within the documentary project focus on people who look, sound and feel different to society's established norms.
Metral shares about her early creative developments and what led her to where she is now, “I was not destined to be a photographer, I studied economics and worked in the private sector for more than 2 years. I felt I needed to connect with my inner self, which is why I decided to become a photographer and explore the world around me. Exploring the queer world is also a way to explore myself and deconstruct all I have built during my childhood in order to be the person I am meant to be. I am interested in people's voices and opinions and the ways they embrace their true selves.”

Embracing one’s identities can and often is a scary step but ultimately a necessary one. Without the freedom to express who and or what we choose to be; our lives would be nothing but boring and monotonous. Relationality and/or the relational self stems from the social construction of who we are, how we see ourselves, how others see us and the care we receive should not be determined by these constructed viewpoints/identities. Particularity focuses on our differences. We have all experienced separate and or individual lives – although some aspects may intersect – that shape who we become as people. And with our differences in self comes our need for differences in how we receive care and possibly how we view love and or care to begin with.

Lydia Metral’s creative process includes getting to know her subjects beyond the given photoshoots which produces a deeper connection which is then represented across her work. In her own words: “For me, creating a photo is by creating intimacy with my subject. I love interacting with them in order to capture their true inner self. Warmth is crucial for me, as well as authenticity. I want the audience to connect with my models the way I connect with them.” Her documentary project captures those differences in an honest and blatant manner. The authenticity comes from the wide range of people involved which in turn bolsters the title of the project as a whole.
The photographer takes into account each individual's experiences, internalises their needs and portrays them in an honest and passionate way: “I try to interact with tact and be delicate in order to bring the best out of my models. Some of my models have had very difficult moments, especially with their families and also with themselves. Some were brought up in very harsh environments. Others are more confident and live in a more secure environment. We have to understand that everyone has their own story and every story matters.”

Knowing that the ideas and overall premise of Les Insouciants intends to amplify the voices and showcase positive diverse body imagery among queer identifying individuals we (the audience), are given an opportunity to gather insight into peoples lives who may never be shown in a more typical mass media setting. As this project is also stated to be a tribute to youth, individuality and diversity we find ourselves reflecting on our own lives as we peer into a piece of their lives.

“I am very proud of this piece of work and everyone involved. It's been such a beautiful adventure that has led me to meet a lot of beautiful people. I always feel very happy when someone says “thanks for what you are doing for the community,” it’s a little reminder that I am on the right path when I feel a little bit lost…,” Metral shares her closing thoughts on this long-running project and is looking forward to where her work will take her next with a deep appreciation of where she has been able to make thus far.
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