Shoot the Breeze: Camille Rouzaud

Camille Rouzaud’s photographs are visceral, rough, intimate, and voyeuristic. Her vision tends to focus on the exuberance of youth, though it is tempered by a kind of remote detachment, articulated in high-contrast color and what often looks like digital grain. Rouzaud’s work is like a memory of adolescence, defined by a quality of freedom which will forever stand in opposition to the bitter realities of adulthood and life in general. 

Why do you take photos?
That’s my way to communicate with others. 

How do you shoot?
I know what truly moves me. I know what makes a strong link to who I am. I shoot instinctively. Film or digital.

Besides other photography, what inspires your work?
I get inspired by what surrounds me. People, bodies, movements, politics, aesthetics. Past experiences, as a kid and during my teenage years in a public housing in the South of France, also had a big impact on me. It was a very contrasted environment full of struggle, beauty, diversity, violence, broken dreams, sharing, learning, freedom and confinement.

What else do you like to do?
I love a hot summer day. When it’s sunny, I like to walk around neighbourhoods and speak to the people who live within them, my neighbours. I listen to their stories, sometimes daily stories, sometimes incredible stories. I have a collection of stories from the different cities I’ve lived in. Mainly in Puerto Rico, New York, and France. 

Do you enjoy photographing people?
When I do it my own way, I love it. 

Do you think that there is anything particularly special or unique about photography as a means of expression?
The accessibility of it. I love the immediacy of it. To get an honest moment, I like to be fast and right in the moment. Photography allows me to do that, and yet you can still give it a special care. You can work on it and transform it when you get home or at the photo lab. I mean, that’s my way of working, I know photographers who imagine their photos like they would a painting way before shooting. 

Are you a morning person or a night person?
It depends on where I am in my life. Different moments, different rhythms. 

Do you ever get bored with photography? What do you do?
It’s not that I get bored, but if I’m not happy with my practice, if I don’t like the results and I overthink the entire process, I get overwhelmed.  I just have to let it go for an amount of time and let the creativity come back to me slowly.

What’s your favourite picture by another photographer?
Hard question. I don’t think I can give just one favourite picture, so I’m going go with the photography of a movie: L’Esquive by Abdellatif Kechiche. 

Do you think the world is getting better or worse?
I don’t know if it was better or worse before or if it’s going to get any better. I don’t have the nostalgia of specific years that I’m not living in. I find the world very indecent and insane, but also beautiful and violent. Stupid, but also passionate. I feel, unfortunately, that the injustice and hate we are currently experiencing is inherent to the human historic condition. At the very least, I’m happy that we are still fighting for more acceptance, more education, more diversity, less domination, more ecologic conscience. Maybe it’s a never-ending story, and it can be depressing, but it’s also full of passion and honesty.