In part II of our interview with French photographer, Melanie-Jane Frey, we discuss the motivations and inspirations behind her artistic work, after a 20-year career covering war, social issues and politics. Discover why Melanie considers using the right tools to be so important and how it can affect your creative process as a photographer.
Did you miss Part 1? You can read it here
What drives you to produce your work as a photographer now?
It is is still my sensitivity to the story of people and to History. The reporter in me is still alive and I often want to express something about a very contemporary issue. I am very attracted to women symbolically and to the supportive relationship between people.
In my next work I will be turning a lot around the idea of rebirth, relation with nature, baptism and pagan symbols that celebrate life… always with my alchemists methods using 19th century processes on glass and metals.
© Mélanie-Jane Frey
Do you have any role models or mentors who inspired, or continue to inspire you in your work? Who and Why?
- Sarah Moon, Deborah Turbeville, and Francesca Woodman - I feel very inspired about their poetic vision of women, life, and intimacy.
- Sally Mann and Stephen Gill - for their creativity and attraction to handcraft and plastic art way of using photography.
- Paul Graham - for his use of photography to tell concepts and his vision of the world.
- Rinko Kawauchi - she makes me travel in the sweet, soft, and enligheting experiments with her work, and I am very found of Japanese photography.
All these examples come to me impulsively. I am very curious and very attracted to all surprising ways to show life with photography. Probably because I need to be surprised myself to have my attention caught by something!
AFG, Afghanistan - North's Montaigns after Nahrin - One day away from the next city (with 4x4), miners are working hard and without much security in a coal mine. After years of war, the assassination of the Afghan guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, and the end of the Taliban power, the people of Afghanistan are in the same time, living a new social beginning, and trying to survive in an extreme poverty. Credit: © Melanie FREY / Fedephoto
What is the biggest change you’ve had to adapt to in your 20+ years as a photographer?
There has never been as much money, interest, possibilities or ways to show and share your work in photography, as there is nowadays. I feel so blessed to have had the chance to live a bit of the beautiful years of photojournalism and now enjoy this great adventure, where photos are a major factor of the Art World.
What is War Reporters for Peace and why did you start the project?
War Reporters For Peace is an artistic installation where I put together interviews of 18 famous War Reporters on a monumental screen. They seem to be answering each other, but always about the message they would like to give through their photojournalist pictures and risky jobs from war-zones all over the world. They talk about what they would like it to mean to the general public, and what they would expect you to do with it - as they are giving their lives to be a witness. I also did very special and still monumental wet plate collodion close up portraits where their eyes are very intense and saying a lot about all what they’ve seen.
I guess the main message is “are you listening, people?!”. The exhibition should be on next year, scheduled to take place in a great exhibition hall. I am very excited! www.WarReportersForPeace.com
FG, Afghanistan, Narhin - Military presence is still very important in the streets, although the war is over. After years of war, the assassination of the Afghan guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, and the end of the Taliban power, the people of Afghanistan are in the same time, living a new social beginning, and trying to survive in an extreme poverty. Credit: © Melanie FREY / Fedephoto
Why are post-production tools so important to you?
Since the digital era began, we can not only cherish our cameras and lenses - there are other daily tools that have become an extension of our expression and creativity as photographers. As a creative, being able to make a living from your passion is the ultimate dream and I am attached to FotoStation as a joiner would be attached to his tools. For me, Fotostation has never been replaced.
How did you come across FotoStation in 2006?
The French representative of FotoStation was also the head of the agency I had started working with that year. All the photo editors were working with it and I couldn’t find a better tool!
Vaccination campaign in the refugee camp of Orina, lead by Medair officer Filda Orina is a satellite of the Internally Displaced People camp (IDP) of Adilang. People lives in camp because of insecurity with LRA army since 20 years. © Mélanie-Jane Frey
Why is FotoStation still the right tool for you?
I have my routine with FotoStation. It answers all my need in terms of editing, writing captions, organizing my selected images, as well as renaming and resizing. I’ve never been disappointed.
I know that there is other software to work with, but FotoStation is the fastest and the most complete. For me, editing is also part of the creative process and I need the tool I use to be as intuitive and complete as possible. This why I stick with FotoStation.
Where can our readers find more of your work?
Melanie-Jane Frey is a photographer, photojournalist and artist, who has been using FotoStation since 2006 for image management, organization and editing.
Cover Image: Hilla, Iraq: IN A BIG FAMILY, THE WOMEN OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD ARE PARTICIPATING TO A CEREMONY IN WHICH THEY CRY AND EXPRESS ALL THE SUFFERING THEY HAVE LIVED - A MASTER OF CEREMONY (WOMAN) IS LEADING THE PROCESS BY SINGING SAD STORIES OF ISLAM. WOMEN ARE HITTING THEIR FACE IN RHYTHM WITH THE SONG. © Mélanie-Jane Frey