Nocturnes, Charlotte Mano Nocturnes, Charlotte Mano
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Charlotte Mano, Photographer

21 March 2022 Portraits
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Graduated from GOBELINS Paris' Bachelor of Photography and Videography in 2017, Charlotte Mano is now a photographer. She won the HSBC Prize for Photography in 2020 for her series "Thank you Mum", a moving tribute to her mother who suffered from an incurable disease.




You graduated from the Bachelor of Photography and Videography in 2017. Why did you choose photography, what do you like about this art/medium ?

Since childhood I've loved telling stories more than anything. I first began studying literature, thinking I could combine my love of reading with writing, but once I graduated I felt the need to express myself in a concrete way and it is through photography that I was able to do it very naturally. I find that it is a sensitive medium and that it leaves a lot of room for out of frame and interpretation.


It is also a very nostalgic medium in the sense that once an image is taken it immediately belongs to the past, which fits my personality perfectly. I also like its "sensual" or even mystique vocabulary with words like "diaphragm", "aperture", "mirror", "sensibility", "developer" they are, I think, very palpable terms. Once you have a camera in hand, it becomes instinctive.




You presented your series "AIRES" during the opening week of the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles in 2016 while you were still a student. Did this opportunity open doors for you for the future ?

To have my work showcased in this context is like some sort of professional network booster. Beyond the exhibition, I was able to show my work to agents, to galerists, and to institutions who helped me evolve my work and helped me through the beginning of my career. Some are still part of my network to this day. Each year, it is for me a human as well as professional rendez-vous that I look forward to.



Portrait,Young Girl With A Neckless, Charlotte Mano 
Portrait of a woman, back view, Charlotte Mano

Portrait, Jeune fille au collier, Charlotte Mano 

Portrait Silhouette féminine de dos, Charlotte Mano 

Your series "Thank you Mum" won the HSBC Prize for Photography in 2020, and you published a book gathering all these pictures right after, what is your next project ?

I am currently working on multiple "transition" projects as I like to call them with the series "Thank You Mum". It is a heavy project that I carried for three years. Nowadays I'm experimenting with new historical techniques that I mix with digital, so far it has neither name or concrete shape, so we'll see how it goes...




What are your influences? Where do you draw your inspiration? You seem to be very inspired by your family and your childhood memories.

My influences evolve over time. Fantastic literature of the XIXth century remains like a gentle melody in my head with its stories of hauntings and doppelgangers. Visual artists like Oscar Muñoz, who tackle memory and materiality of images, are inspirations to me as well. The plays of Pina Bausch are another.


My family and my childhood memories aren't what I would call an inspiration but more like concrete matter through which I can express feelings, sensations. They are often the starting point of something very personal that I seek to use, they allow me to try going up and down the scales from individual to universal.



Thank you Mum, Charlotte Mano 
Thank you Mum, Charlotte Mano 

Thank you Mum, Charlotte Mano 

Thank you Mum, Charlotte Mano 

You work on both commissions and personal projects. How do you choose your collaborations ?

I try to collaborate with people who have more or less the same universe as me or a common language. The idea is to unite to go further, to nurture each other rather than one serving another. I believe human interaction is essential. In fact, to this day I am more in the process of transmission and I intervene in different schools, notably at GOBELINS.




Can you tell us a good memory of your time at GOBELINS ?

There's so many, it's hard to pick one. Our promotion (2017) really was like a family. I think that one of my most cherished memories is still that one night out with our teachers at Malicorne to take pictures of the moon and meet Hubert Reeves, it was incredibly moving.




What advice would you give to succeed in photography today ?

I won't hide that it's a job that is both difficult and often precarious (I speak for myself and my own experience as an "artist" photographer). But it's a job/a passion that I will never give up, it's visceral. So I advise anyone to follow their calling through to the end, to always remain focused on their objectives, to never stop learning, to not let the critics and rejections drag you down. And especially to surround yourself with good company, it's essential!







Interview by Sophie Jean 

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