Photographer Spotlight: Rafaëlle Berthault

Today’s photographer spotlight is Rafaëlle Berthault is 27-year-old French photographer living in Paris. I asked her some questions about her work, and this is what she said…


What do you shoot with?

I mainly use analogue camera. My favourite one is a Nikon FE that I found two years ago on internet. I began to shoot film with an old Holga, from Lomography, that I had borrowed. And eventually I got myself one.. but I was a bit disappointed by the new one.. Then I used a lot of Lomography cameras such as supersampler, Diana mini, Fisheye. A very good friend of mine gave me a Polaroid Instax mini Fuji for my 24 birthday and I liked it so much! Sometimes I use a Canon EOS 3000… but my favourite one is definitely my Nikon FE. 


How long have you been taking photographs?

I was first interested in photography as a teenager because then, I wanted to be a war photographer. I was fascinated by them. I really started to take pictures when I lived in Mexico, in 2008, because I was discovering another continent, another culture and I was fascinated by this country. One year later I started to use analogue cameras and now, I mostly focus my work on it.

sweet snowy evening.

What inspires you the most?

My work tends to focus on showing reality, or maybe I should say “my reality”, little things that I see everyday, while going to work or having drinks with friends. I take pictures of the houses where I stayed, where I felt good and safe. I take portraits of people that I know, that I love. I try to reproduce those feelings in my work. With my pictures, I try to relay the vision of my world, my imagination. 

One of my subject is contemplation. Ordinary contemplation. I am doing a series of pictures which shows people in a contemplative mood in front of nature, monuments, attraction, anything you can contemplate.


What’s your favourite thing to take photos of?

People! I love to take pictures of my friends or some people that I don’t even know but who look special to me. For example, I went to Lebanon two weeks ago to visit a friend who set up an association to support the education of Syrian children refugees.
Most of them stopped to go to school when they left their country and their parents can’t afford to send them to school in Lebanon. My friend succeeded to collect enough money to support the education of 50 children.  We went there and I took pictures of the professors (which are Syrian refugees too) and the children. It was amazing. 


If you couldn’t take photos, what would you do instead?

I would draw. But to be honest, I’d be very sad if I couldn’t take pictures anymore!


What are you plans for the future?

My dream is to open a café and art gallery in Mexico city. A place where people can stay, read, talk and discover new things. But as I say, it’s a dream. In the near future, I’d like to continue to work in humanitarian issues, but not in France. I really need to move and have a field experience.


What is it that you enjoy about photography?

For me, pictures can show things stronger than words can do. That’s what I like the most. When I take a portrait from someone that I love, someone who loves me too, I can feel it trough the picture, you can see the feeling in the face, the eyes. I love that.

I also think that photography can help the world to be better, showing reality. I recently read a book of a French photograph that I like, Raymond Depardon, about Lebanon. He made a compilation of his pictures of Lebanon from de 60’s until now. He tried to show the evolution of this country, before and after the war. His work is amazing. That’s I enjoy about photography. It’s the best “witness” of what’s really happen.

a sort of quietness.

What motivates you?

Well, I feel happier when I take photography. The thing I love the most when I come back from one of my travel is developing my films and see the result. I’m like a child waiting for her Christmas gift.
I want to take more pictures about what happens in the real life, I want to show the changing of our societies, the bad things, the good things. I’m not pretending to became a reporter, I just want to show what is happening in the world with an artistic point of view. That’s my motivation. 

You can find more of Rafëlle’s work here.

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