March's Featured Artist has been blowing us away with her submissions to the Fantastically Flawed Facebook page. Michèle's Facebook feed is wrought with emotional imagery that dances the line somewhere between real life and fleeting dreams. She has an astute eye for the poetry of life and infuses it effortlessly into her photography. Her vision is crafted with the use of dramatic black and white, soulful nostalgic colors, and the sweeping stir of freelens movement.
Michèle Tremblay Photo
How did you get your start in photography?
Photography has always been in my life as something very meaningful. My parents owned a Minolta, the one that cost a fortune, although they were not involved in photography at all. I know that they became pretty skilled with it, because automatic mode didn't exist at that time. So I guess that, more than a simple heritage, the dozens of printed albums of our family acted as a powerful trigger. From the moment I became a parent myself, I had to document. I was always the
one with the camera, everywhere, at an early age. Many of my friends/ family members relied on me for some of their most important events over the years. When they come to visit, I simply leave albums on the table (because I still print!!) so they can browse into them, with emotion.
It all began seriously with a good Sony point an shoot that had some manual options. After two years of practice, frustrated by poor quality of images, I had to move on to serious stuff. I got my first (and still using) DSLR in 2014, a crop Nikon d7000. Since that time, the number of jpeg in my computer exploded, just as my artistic passion. Like every of us, of course, my four kids were my inspiration.
I'm not officially considered as a photographer in my own circle. For sure I am a passionate hobbyist. I know deep inside that I could jump into a professional journey one of these days, but I wait to 'be ready'. Are we really getting that 'readiness' feeling one day?
What artists have influenced your journey in photography? How have they inspired you?
Without Facebook and communities, I would still be sitting on my island. I can honestly say that I have learned so much just looking at other's work and some tutorials. Self-taught photographer, I am still refining my artistic skills, getting in touch with different visions. Looking back, I think that the very first artists I felt attracted to are the one that feelensed the most. I think about Kelly Elliot of Salty Air Creations, Anita Cline of My Three Sons Images, Erin Hensley or Joni Burtt Photography. I have a love affair with B&W too, and those from Nikki Boon and Vicki Winston spoke loud to my heart. Artistic voice of Rose Amalia Photography seduced me too. I know I will come across some names today or tomorrow and complain that I forgot them. There are so much wonderful artists in my feed!
I was starting from scratch, photographing the world in an artistic way. In the past I was documenting, and then I discovered all THIS through the work of above-mentioned artists and many more: the dreamy, the out of focus, the painterly look and textures, the fantastic power of breaking the rules to stimulate imagination, and over all, the fantastic emotional response that came with those flawed images.
Then, I began to feel my artistic voice, enjoying my Art like never before. I have to fight constantly with myself to keep that lens attached to the camera body. Every time I make a commitment to stay sharp, it ends shooting wide aperture, searching unusual focus, and finally have a few freelensed shots. That's in me. I just can't fight it. My only dream/goal is to find people, and eventually clients, that share that vision. So glad that I found Fantastically Flawed. So glad that I could overcome the language barrier, as a french speaking girl, and reach all those wonderful artists that helped me to grow in that vibe.
What is one thing you wish you know when you first started taking photographs?
I would say one thing is a bit sad. I wish I had been told not to expect any clients/models/family members to be grateful, emotionally overwhelmed, enthusiastic and supportive in the same way that I am invested myself in the job. Sometimes they will, sometimes not. In fact, while you are glorifying myself for creating everlasting memories, you have to keep in mind that many people think that being photographed is not a significant thing, for a lot of various reasons. Maybe they live the present moment, maybe they hate to be in the picture, maybe they don't see what you intended them to see, who knows? For them, taking pictures is a thing that has to be done, not a celebration of Art, not wonderful trip towards their inner world or a Monument to their life. Do you get me? Waiting for gratitude is a painful thing that opens the door for self-doubt, stress and sadness. Now I think that I have to manage to be proud of me, feel confident that I have done my best and love my work as a unique piece of art, fruit of my personal vision.
What does photography mean to you?
To me, a photograph is a gift, an heritage. I think that's the reason I love freelensing. Beautifully done, it's a enhanced version of reality, underlined, emphasized. Just like the memory itself! Just like a rare jewel in a precious box. I personally had my most intense inner experiences looking to my kids freelensed pictures. My literary background (studies) makes me try to infuse poetry, to create a story. To me, a photograph is an invitation to an inner travel to a destination words can't reach.
What is the best thing about being a photographer?
I think that a photographer has the power to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. To be able to see all the textures, lights, colors, contrasts and atmospheres surrounding me, is the best gift I have ever had. When you come into photography, some of the things you were considering as trivial ones, for example drops of water in a window, are suddenly popping into reality as beautiful and important details. You discover yourself a super sensitive person, with super powers of perception. A photographer is a firmly grounded person and a perfect dreamer, at the same time. To me, it's the best of what life has to offer.
If you could shoot with any photographer, who would it be and why?
I would be way too shy for this lol! But if I have to say a name, I would say Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk. I love painterly-like images. Her work is truly inspired from the Masters of paint. I would like to know more about the way she uses light and how she manages to achieve those wonderful tones in her work.
What is your favorite photograph you have taken to date?
This picture of my wonderful husband, carrying our boy, arm-in-arm with our daughter. The way my little boy is giving up control, lying in my husband's arms with his loose hand and foot, is melting my heart every time I look at it. To me, his position reflects the vulnerability of children. I can feel the strong of father's embrace and protection. I love them so much!
What inspires your photographic vision?
Kids and nature are my main inspirations at the moment. I am drawn to rustic, simple things. I'm not attracted by luxous, ostentatious, glamorous, flashy and trendy things. Again, an academic background in history leads me to a more classical approach. I tend to represent timeless scenes, bonds, connections, stories. I love when my pictures seem to come directly from of old ages, with a romantic brush on it. I can't say that I always achieve it, but I tend in that direction.
In a certain way, a photographic vision is a vision of life. My life is minimalist and old style. I think I'm a kind of hippie style: no wi-fi, lowest level of technology as possible, organic food, contact with nature, gardening, love of animals, large family (four kids), etc. I think all this can be seen in my work, reflecting my convictions, my views and values of a simple frugal way of life fulfilling all our essentials needs. I think happiness lies in little things of a daily routine, contented relationships and small wonders of childhood.
How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography? Do you have a favorite flawed technique?
Breaking the rules allows to bring unexpected angle, movement or energy, unanticipated variations, textures and patterns, magical effects of all kinds. I feel truly challenged and get more satisfaction doing it. I have a Lensbaby in my kit, an Edge 35. I tried it but I have to admit that freelensing is definitely my favorite way to introduce imperfections in my images. It's an addiction! To my point of view, a beautiful freelensed image, with focus and blur on right spots, gains so much in power of expressing emotions. Freelensed images make us dream. There is something so inspiring about the world being out of focus, for once.