Text and photos by Adeline Mai.
Down with the time; it escapes from me, run away, flies. Down with the time that makes me impatient. Down with the time that makes me forget. Down with the time that takes people away.
Down with the time; my camera can fix what only lasts a second. Down with the time; I caught it; I look at my images, the phantoms that are there, those ghosts. Those moments do not exist in the present. That’s why I love photography.
Eight years old. A disposable camera in my hands: my first trips. “New York is great.” Eyes wide open; I need to remember everything. If only my eyes were a camera, an infinite memory. The buildings are so tall and I’m so tiny. I’m frustrated. I cannot capture the smell, the smell of rain, the smell of Chinatown, the vile smell of garbage lying around.
Fifteen years old. I watch my friends, with admiration, nostalgia. I photograph; I stop the passage of time. They inspire me. Young cherry blossom girls, carefree, they blossom, unaware of their potential of seduction. Later, my fashion spreads are a reflection of what I know: (Kristina) (Nathalie) I romance a reality, I dream, I guess.
Kristina does not speak French or English. She is seventeen. She looks at herself in the mirror; smiles, she loves the styling. It starts. She tries to understand what I cannot explain, Kristina suggests, she seduces naively. I told her that I spy, her look changes, I deliberately annoy her, I am a voyeur (is it a tautology to say that I am a photographer and voyeur?). Our role-play continues, I keep shooting, the click of the camera reassures her she is beautiful, everything is fine, and I expect the unexpected, without showing her my impatience, what I can’t run/direct, her radius of beauty tinged with eroticism. Yes! You’re beautiful, yes, you’re gorgeous. I encourage her, she continues, falls into the role, she has fun.
Nathalie is younger, she’s fifteen, her father brings her, the size of her legs, her face, how could one think she is still a child in that woman’s body? I work on her simplicity, purity, and this unexplainable animal thing. She suggests her body is not hers, but a tool she controls perfectly, gracefully. Nathalie trusts me, moves her body spontaneously, imagines a dance, she dances slowly… I do not reduce my models to props for my satisfaction. She is Nathalie. Nathalie is delicious, unaware of her beauty and captivatingly honest.
I grew up, and my photographs of women, “my women,” grew up as well. This time I spy Leona, she plays the role of one who doesn’t see me. A sulky manner, a shy act, gives her, a haughty appearance. We are in the beginning of the movie Blow Up. I see her in her garden, from afar. She is fully aware of her beauty, she is older, twenty.
My life goes on, I always refer to my photographs as my diary. I cut my hair during a fit of insomnia: she s having a hard time, I take advantage of my drunk friends and have them strip naked in a forest, he threaten me to commit suicide, jumping out the window, I runaway to the Cevennes and find peace. I do not photograph the landscape. The landscape does not inspire me. People inspire me, and it is the exchange that offers me the person photographed that interests me. I do not like landscapes.
Despite their beauty, despite the sublime nature of the Cevennes, I don’t like landscapes. I try to imagine them as curves, the curves of a body, and learn to appreciate them, day by day. Reconciliation.
I love to wake up at his side, I idealize, then I work about the bed, sheets and male models. I slowly found my sleep, and dream of flying. My feelings seem real, my wakening is violent, muffled by the air in which I floated: unbearable. A slight drowning, smooth. A dream or a nightmare, an unknown feeling. Here is my underwater series.
Drowning is not smooth, death is not there yet, I imagine a deep coma or a state near coma called “outdated”. Death is no longer black.
She disappointed me, my “woman” ran away, then let herself go.
The woman in my photographs immersed herself in the darkness and found herself there. “Play with these lights, you’re lost, they’re guiding you ” and Lucyna suggests the inexplicable once again.
My Woman plays with men in this hotel where we shot all day. At 6pm the hotel’s press office tells us that we have no right to shoot a naked woman in this hotel. Too late. The pictures are on my film and I will keep them.
She becomes seductive again, dominant, invulnerable.
I make peace with couples, I admire my favorite pairs, my friends’ couples, my couples. The abandonment of the body has a different meaning, sleep well.
Falling asleep is falling sleeping alone; next to someone. It’s dreaming alone, next to someone. “It’s sad to fall asleep. It Separates people. Even when you’re sleeping together, you’re all alone. “(Breathless) They are stuck together they form one entity. They are one. I immortalize this entity that will not last, that will not exist in the future.
They are sometimes shy, almost embarrassed. Being a photographer is to become a comedian, to entertain people, to put them at ease.
-Are you afraid of heights?
-Are you afraid of being cold?
Rheon Iwan, who plays a superhero (misfits), goes with me on the roof of the studio in London. An Atmosphere often quiet, reserved, I reduce the amount of people around us, privacy is more enjoyable in a portrait. The click of my camera reassures again, the actors leave fewer pieces of themselves to be absorbed by the film, and I still wait for the moment when I capture a precious look.
Please visit Adeline Mai website for more informations and photographs.