Four photographers, one men’s luxury fashion show in Milan, a big subject – as part of a collaboration between the Italian fashion house Zegna and Leica, female photographers were selected to deal with the subject of Men through Women’s Eyes. The four women, Queenie Cheen, Roselena Ramistella, Hélène Pambrun and Veronique de Viguerie, were behind the scene at the big event; their pictures take the viewers on a trip into a world to which they would normally have no access. We spoke with them about modern men, art and, of course, photography.
What do fashion and photography have in common ?
Cheen: In my opinion, fashion is a question of very personal taste, everyone has their own fashion; it’s like food preferences. We give “fashion” a standard meaning: a taste which is accepted by a lot of people. If you’re confident about your taste and are very comfortable with it, people tend to accept it as they see a new alternative – a new door has been opened. In this way photography is the same: everyone has their own understanding of seeing, and a very diverse range of sensitivities exists within people.
Ramistella: The creative side, the experimentation, going beyond a standardized language, are all characteristics they have in common. Fashion and photography are both art-forms that share the centrality of aesthetics and of the person, and they form a synergic combination.
Pambrun: From my perspective, being unfamiliar at first with the world of fashion, I quickly realized that these are two art-forms sharing similarities. Like photography, fashion is constantly evolving, in terms of modernity, creativity, diversity, with a multitude of different inspirations. This is why they are so full of passion. Like fashion, photography allows us to travel through time and diversity, sometimes going back to the “roots” to better grasp our way of understanding and interacting with everything around us; capturing people, moments, beauty, basically the world around us…
What does modern masculinity look like in your eyes?
Pambrun: I have to confess I’ve always been kind of obsessed with masculinity, since I’m passionate about photography: from anonymous faces I might meet on the street, on a walk or at an event (concerts, weddings…), to my boyfriends in my intimate life. I often say that I like to “undress” men with my camera, my lens, in those moments when they don’t expect to pose or be photographed, but feel comfortable being themselves. In my eyes, modern masculinity means a willingness to be emotionally naked, spontaneous, raw, no filter, vulnerable, and respected for allowing me to capture a bit of what they offer me at the moment I click the release – a bit (maybe) of their souls, of themselves.
De Viguerie: The modern man is more vulnerable, is allowed to show and accept his weakness. He is more sensible and sensitive. He accepts his “female” side completely. He can listen and expose his true feelings. He is not ashamed any more; and he is also scared of women.
What was your intention with this series? What do you want to show?
De Viguerie: I wanted to use the artwork as a living background. With people working on it, using it, transforming it.
Pambrun: With this series, I’m happy to show how I work as a photographer, wherever I am on assignment, whoever I’m shooting for. That is to say: capturing moments of (relative) intimacy, spontaneously, from my personal point of view. I feel like a discrete tiny mouse, ready to click and catch details from different, sometimes unexpected angles. I wanted to show it’s possible to be accepted and trusted by people around you, with a little help from curiosity, anticipation, patience, and of course, respect.
Ramistella: I tried to catch not only the aesthetic side but also the energies which surrounded Alessandro Sartori’s creative process – trying to let people feel those emotions.
Cheen: I like things people do with heart, so I can touch, watch and feel their minds and spirits through it. As a photographer I wanted my photos to be a testimony to the designer’s work; the drawing of the draft, choosing the materials, thinking about the clothes for men, picking the place for the show, and, last but not least, the sincerity in the quest for beauty, because that’s where fashion begins, and I want people to know it.
Veronique de Viguerie
After completing her Masters in Jurisprudence, the multi-award-winning French photographer studied photojournalism in England. She spent three years in Afghanistan for her work. Since 2006, she has been travelling for her reportage work to such dangerous places as Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Kashmir, Mexico, Algeria, Guatemala, Pakistan, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, and Syria. In 2018 she received the renowned Visa d’Or award for The Hidden War, a report from Yemen. The pictures shown here were taken with a Leica Q2.
Born in Toulouse, France, Pambrun first worked as a salesperson for a photo equipment business. She saved money to then purchase her first camera. This led to her first assignments for Paris Match. She has been working as tour photographer for the singer Harry Styles since 2017. At the fashion show she too was working with a Leica Q2.
The photographer was born in Sicily and studied Political Science at the University of Catania. Her photographic narrative focuses on social issues, portraits and the interaction between humanity and the natural world. Her work has been published in Corriere della Sera, Vogue and The Times. She photographed the fashion show with a Leica SL2.
Born in China, Queenie Cheen (Ji Qin) started her career in photography at Modern Media in China. After graduating in Law from the prestigious Sun Yat-sen University, she joined the avant-garde Chinese media group, Modern Media, as a journalist and photo editor. For three years, Queenie Cheen published her work in Life Magazine, Lens, Grazia, Modern Weekly, Vasto Magazine, etc. In 2011 she moved to Paris and became an independent photographer while starting studies abroad at Intuit Lab. In 2014, she graduated from L’École Superieur Privé Photographie Audiovisuel (L’école EFET ). The pictures shown here were taken with a Leica Q2.