Contemporary Photographer Series - Lauren Marsolier

 from the series Transition - part 2 © Lauren Marsolier

Lauren Marsolier is a French photographer currently living in Los Angeles, California. Her ongoing series, Transition, features composite images made from individual photographs taken at different locations including France, the U.S., and Spain. In addition to solo exhibitions at Robert Berman Gallery in Los Angeles and Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco, Marsolier has displayed her work in group shows including the Flash Forward Festival in Boston, 31 Women in Art Photography at Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in NYC, and Landmark: The Fields of Photography at the Somerset House in London. She was recently interviewed by Trish Gibson for our ongoing Contemporary Photographer Series (CPS).

Your images are made up of many different photographs taken from many different places. How did you make the decision that your work would consist entirely of composite images rather than straight landscapes? How do you decide which photographs will go together?

First I started to work with Photoshop just to enhance my images, but after a while I realized the new technology gave me the freedom to create my own landscapes. So I started to juxtapose and blend elements from various photographs until I got a new landscape that resonated with what I wanted to express. I kept on experimenting with this process (which feels a bit like building a puzzle) and a group of images emerged. I felt there was a common thread there, so I kept on exploring. As the series built up, I became more aware of what interested me or what I was trying to express. It was not clear to me from the beginning. My decisions are rather intuitive. The image has to feel right. My intuitions come with work, by trying out many things. Then suddenly I see something and I know this is what I have been looking for, so I keep it. It adds a piece to the puzzle.

from the series Transition - part 3 © Lauren Marsolier

Photography, and art in general, have a history of being very male-dominated. What has your experience in the art world been as a successful female artist in a field that is still widely androcentric?

I don't think my work gets accepted or rejected on the basis of my being a female artist. It might have been true in the past, but I haven't had that experience so far.

Your images show a stripped-down version of a place that could essentially be anywhere. For me, a lot of your images have a dream-like quality that causes me to think of places I have seen or imagined. Is it important for the viewer to be able to associate these images with places and memories of their own?

I am interested in Art as a visual language. I think the more my elements are generic, the more I can highlight their symbolic charge. I try to create a specific atmosphere. I'd like the viewer to associate these images not so much with a specific place, but a specific state of mind, a mental experience. My images are about feeling disoriented without being quite aware of the cause of this disorientation. The environment looks familiar, but something is amiss, and you can't quite pinpoint where your uneasiness comes from. It is a mental experience one often goes through during periods of change - Transition. I think our times of exponentially fast changes are more than ever conducive to that kind of psychological experience.

from the series Transition - part 2 © Lauren Marsolier

Your images started off as a square format, but in your more recent work you seem to be moving toward a more panoramic format. Why have you decided to make this shift?

The change happened by itself. Some compositions felt better that way.

from the series Transition - part 3 © Lauren Marsolier

You have been working on your Transition series for over eight years now - how do you feel the work and your relationship to it have changed over time?

The work started off as very personal (my experience of radical changes in my own life) and then it evolved into more of a social commentary (changes that affect us all as a society). On the technical side, the change over 8 years is that I am getter better at my process of seamless collages, so I don't throw away as many attempts.

from the series Transition - part 1 © Lauren Marsolier

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