Volt Café: How did you become interested and involved in photography generally, and this project more specifically?
Marc Lagrange: I’ve always been fascinated by photography, even when I was a child. About twenty years ago, I discovered large format Polaroids, which were taken using specialized, professional cameras. I’m rather visually inclined and photography happens to be a medium that allows me to emphasize the beauty of people and composition.
VC: Could you tell me a bit about your current exhibition in London?
ML: It’s my first solo exhibition in London. Heist Gallery has given me the opportunity to do this mixed exhibition, which is mainly inspired by my sepia Polaroids. It has turned out to be something really unusual. The environment has been influenced and altered by my work. It reflects perfect harmony, as far as I’m concerned. I really hope that the people in London will be excited by the exhibition. Notting Hill is a great location and it seems that people are enthusiastic about it all. And this could, of course, lead to additional exhibitions…
VC: How does each piece develop? Do you start with a visual you want to create or with an idea that you would like to express?
ML: I usually have a theme or an idea for a project in my head. The preparations take an awful lot of time: finding locations, models – actors; this is followed by the props, the elements that tie the whole thing together. You could compare it to shooting a film, although I make a ‘still’ movie or a photograph. The entire process is obviously teamwork. I couldn’t possibly do everything by myself: my wife, Saskia Dekkers, is in charge of styling, and then there are the people who do make-up, assistants, etc.
VC: Can you provide a commentary of some of your strongest pieces in this show?
ML: ‘SnowWhite’ is, in my opinion, a particularly strong piece…
The scene was inspired by a passage from The Godfather… Palermo, wealth and decadence, eating sushi from beautiful women’s naked bodies…
This is my version. I was looking for a pale voluptuous woman – not too skinny – I wanted real meat…
At first sight, you hardly notice her, your attention is drawn to the seven characters surrounding her: the supposed seven dwarves eating her… The seven ‘models’ are basically actors, models and friends. During the shoot we’d play the intro to The Godfather. For me, this photograph is one of my most iconic images.
VC: Could you talk us through some of your influences? We’ve noted strains of Helmut Newton, David Lynch and Hollywood in general. Can you be more specific about what comes through in your tableaus?
ML: As a youngster, I was heavily influenced by quite a few photographers. The greatest of them all – for me at least – was Irving Penn.
His work inspired me to reach for perfection in large format photographs. He truly was a master photographer and the thing I find so utterly intriguing, is that his work is timeless… it remains a thing of beauty regardless of changing styles and fashions.
I do, obviously, feel a connection with Helmut Newton, another great master, and also someone whose work remains up-to-date, so to speak… “nothing has been digitally altered, what you see is what you get”.
That’s how I prefer to work.
My newest series, ‘Hotel Maritime #58’, is heavily influenced by David Lynch’s world: the composition of the images, the mystique, the secrecy, and the open-ended questions… the imagery itself… and there is, of course, the added musical installation by Liesa Van Der Aa.
2nd – 30th October 2014
By appointment only
41-43 Linden Gardens
London W2 4HQ
TagsDavid Lynch, Heist Gallery, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Liesa Van Der Aa, Marc Lagrange, Saskia Dekkers,