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Challenging the mundane by revealing surprises

By Rita Álvarez Tudela | 8 months ago

Maia Flore is a French born artist and photographer born in 1988. Her photography is inspired by what she perceives as the boundaries between reality and unreality. “One way to challenge the mundane everyday is to reveal the surprises within in,” she says.   

Inspired by literature, music and other forms of art, Flore creates narrative scenes, sometimes bizarre or even surreal. Her pictures are always ambiguous and the viewer can imagine what remains outside the frame. Instead of relating them to a specific story, she suggests psychological and symbolical scenarios. Recently, she became interested in exploring methods to allow the viewer “the experience of recognizing the invisible and the immaterial: an atmosphere, an emotion, a longing, that which resides in one's inner self and not in the material world.”

Her series, ‘Morning sculptures’, was shortlisted in the Professional Competition of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.


Hi Maia. Thanks for talking with us. Firstly, tell us a little about you and how you got started in photography

As a teenager I dreamt to become an art director. By the age of 15, I knew the school I wanted to go and the job I wanted to do. But it didn’t happen. By chance, on a day of rain in Paris, I saw ‘Open doors’ and I entered in this building. It was a photography school and I signed up and I passed the exams. I was very disappointed to end up in such a narrow box in what I imagine being my art school: only retouching and photographing. At the same time, I accepted that it was probably better than my other idea of traveling and being an airline steward. I completed two years and Agence VU’ called me right after that to be a member.


Remind us about your successful series, 'Morning Sculptures'. What did you hope to achieve with this work?

I hoped to build myself a home. I was travelling a lot and sleeping in a different bed almost everyday. Every morning was the same ritual, I woke up in a new scenery and I felt lost. I decided to turn this feeling into a playful time while remembering my childhood feelings. What were the feelings on Monday or on a Friday? I realized that I was much more brave on Fridays than on Mondays.


What advice would you give to those thinking of entering their work into the Sony World Photography Awards, and competitions in general?

Chosen to be part of this huge community of artists, I would simply say: Why don’t you give a try? There are a lot of categories to choose from and it depicts the wide openness of the competition and its jurors. It is a great place to keep trying. I check the photographers awarded each year and I am always very impressed by the selection.

Do you have a photographic philosophy or a way of working that always stays with you?

I live everyday as a research of the aesthetics of life, but without thinking about it too much. It's just a matter of what I see during my long walks, what I cook, what I eat, or what my body feels when I am at the right place. It is pretty simple but that's a daily basis needed.


People seem to play a big role in most of your series. Can you tell us about some of these characters and why you choose them?

I mostly use myself in the photographs. As I need to experience the situation, I like to share it in a picture. I play around a naïve and poetic character, who is always researching movement and lighting.

Your work is very conceptual in nature. How did you end up going down this route and what continues to inspire you?

When I have a camera in my hands, I feel like there is a possibility to see something in a different way. What would I find on the other side if I look through? I guess it ended up being something surreal and conceptual.