© Sandrine Hermand-Grisel
French Photographer | Born: 1973
Sandrine Hermand-Grisel grew up in Paris, France and in London, UK. She studied International Law before deciding to dedicate her life to photography in 1997. Influenced by her late mother's sculptures and her husbands paintings and films, she worked on several personal projects before her series Nocturnes was recognized in 2005 by Harry Gruyaert, Bertrand Despres and John Batho for the Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique. In 2006 she moved with her family to the United States and began experimenting landscape photography with her series Somewhere and On the road.
Despite the diversity of her projects she has a unique, very intimate, relationship with her subjects. Photography provides her with a way to express her feelings, like in the series ''Nocturnes'' where she photographed only close friends and family members peacefully abandoning themselves in front of her camera. ''Somewhere'' is her dream of America, a road trip through her adopted country. And ''Waterlilies'' is full of joy and love for her two children as she watched them jumping and playing in pools over and over again. Sandrine Hermand-Grisel not only photographs what she loves, she breaks free from her own reality in her poetic vision of the world.
In 2013, she created the acclaimed website All About Photo and now spends most of her time discovering new talents while still working on personal projects.
All About Photo (AAP):
When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
I always knew that it was what I wanted to do but I took the decision to do what I love after I lost my mother. She was only 47 and I realized how short life could be. My husband whom I had just met comforted me in that direction.
AAP: Where did you study photography?
I am a freelance photographer and despite the fact that I started taking photographs at a young age, I never took lessons.
AAP: How long have you been a photographer?
A long time now... I decided to become a full time photographer in 1997... Time flies!
AAP: What or who inspires you?
Life in general but my family in particular.
AAP: How could you describe your style?
It is hard to define but I would say it is very personal. I am the author of stories that come to my mind often in my dreams. I follow my moods, the ideas I have that I want to share with others.
AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
For a very long time I used a Leica M9. I used to consider that only film could make beautiful images. But I must admit that I was tempted by the comfort of digital cameras and that I now use a Nikon D4. I try to use both cameras depending on the projects.
AAP: How did you came up with the idea for Waterlilies? Where you inspired by Monet's Waterlilies?
I started to take a few pictures of my children playing in a pool and as I watched the first images, the patches of colors from their swimming costumes in the middle of the greenish water reminded me of Monet's Paintings. I then pursued that idea and every time we went away on vacation I asked my children to spin in the water.
AAP: What feeling do you want to bring across with this series?
Joy and love but also "frozen time", hence the choice of a cement texture blended with the water. The idea to freeze my children's childhood in time, to keep them little maybe... The choice of the sculpture feel is also inspired by my mother who was a sculptor.
AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?
Yes because I have a precise idea of what I want to do but it takes me a long time to achieve it. I add textures in my latests series but that is about it.
AAP: Photographers who inspires you?
There are so many! Inspiration comes from a slow process of construction and all the images you see here and there are part of that process. Nevertheless I have like everyone else I suppose my favorite photographers. My husband and I are photo collectors, we have mainly black and white photographs by masters of photography but if I could I would have a print by each photographer that I feature on All About Photo!
AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
Work hard and don't be afraid to show your work. Follow your heart but don't try to do the same thing as the others. I tend to see a lot of similar images when I am a juror of a contest. To be able to stand out your work needs to be original.
AAP: Why did you create All About Photo?
I moved to the United States in 2006 and it came to me that a unique website with all the information (in one place) a photographer could be looking for was missing. Since my husband is a talented web designer and entrepreneur, he created the entire website for me. All About Photo is my dream website as a photographer and since my husband and I are also collectors, we love to discover new talents. It is a project driven by a passion for photography.