Walking Between Boundaries


Every year the Colombian Consulate in Paris makes a Visual Art Contest for all the Colombian artists resident in France, the idea is to help promote the artists in the french art environment.

I have participated twice and fortunately both I have been one of the winners, but this year was very special because the topic of the contest was the borders and diaspora, how we as artists chose by our own decision the exile to go to a different country and develop our art, far away from our physical, cultural and historical borders.

I decided to participate with a series related to my returning to street photography. Last year with the intention to go back into my roots to find my own visual voice, I decided to explore again the type of photography that started me on this art and so I went back to the streets. Every week since February 2015, I hit the streets at least twice a week and walk around Paris in that search for my internal voice.

The topic of the contest was very related to my own internal artistic process of last year, so I went through all the pictures of this period, looking for links with the diaspora and the crossing of borders and what I decided to submit were the following images, each one also related to a phrase which at the end are 2 paragraphs explaining about the visual introspection that I`ve started since 2015.

LAC201510190007

“Stepping out of my door into the streets feels like diving into a dim river,

LAC201603130125

I never know what I´m going to find under the mighty waters of concrete,

LAC201602080140

light is the beacon that guides my walks around Paris,

LAC201602080135

my eyes are the compass to lead my way.

LAC201602150164

After one year scouting the streets, I have come to know the city of lights,

LAC201602160010-2

I have seen it under its skin, I have seen its real life, I have seen its ordinary days,

LAC201510190058

but at the same time I have seen myself, reflected in these pictures,

Paris People

And I have understood that this search is not only about Paris.”

The series is going to be exposed at the Colombian Consulate in Paris until the next June 7th 2016, if you want to see it, you´re welcome to come during the office schedules.

Cheers!

The Controversial Art of Oh de Laval


Theater at Trocadero from the movie The Dreamers by Bertolucci. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Street at Strasbourg St-Dennis from the movie Une Femme est une Femme by Godard. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Here I am, in a bright and sunny day inside the darkness of the metro, going to meet Oh de Laval at popular neighborhood Strasbourg St Dennis, my head is full of thoughts intrigued by the mysterious personality of this young Polish painter, I have been talking with her through Facebook during the last month and a half, trying to step inside her world to imagine the best way to photograph her. I step out of the metro and finally see her from the back, waiting for me just outside de exit, with a sporty outfit and a small backpack, I arrive from behind, she turns her head, we see each other in the distance, a smile comes out of our souls and then we finally say hi face to face.

Oh de Laval is a Paris lover, she’s always in Paris for her birthday the 7 of January, celebrating with her friends around Strasbourg-St Dennis, le Marais and Cafe la Perle near Picasso museum. During our conversations in Facebook before she came to Paris, I found that she has a deep knowledge about the movies that has been filmed in this city, so I decided to photographed her in the places where those movies were filmed, giving her the opportunity to put her own personality inside the ambiance of those movies. From her list I picked Une Femme est un Femme from Jean-luc Godard shot entirely at Strasbourg-St Denis, The Dreamers from Bernardo Bertolucci which was filmed by the iconic Cafe Valois and at Trocadero theater and finally Last Tango in Paris  by Bernardo Bertolucci filmed in the area of Bir-Hakeim.

Pictures done in places related to the movies Une Femme est une Femme, the dreamers and last tango in paris.

Her personality is as controversial as her work full of color, violence, sex and love, you will never guess which will be her answer to the next question. While we were having a coffee in a traditional Parisian cafe by the Porte St. Dennis, I called her an artist and she immediately replied “I’m not calling myself an artist, I’m a painter. I’m the only one who knows which one of my paintings is art and which one isn´t, if I can finish the painting with the idea that I want, it’s art for me, if not it’s just a painting.” and she continuous by saying “I just paint because I like it, people come and go, one day they like you and the next day they don’t, one day they like one of my paintings and the next one they don’t like it because it’s too violent. I think that if you like someone`s work, you should like everything of it, people like to put artist in boxes: abstract, portrait, landscape, etc. but one person is made of many different layers.”

Theater at Trocadero from the movie The Dreamers by Bertolucci. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

When Oh de Laval was 19 went to the school of design but she quitted because it was too hard for her, she didn´t felt the freedom to do what she wanted. Right after she started to paint and unexpectedly, she received the strong support of one of her teachers from the design school who made her life difficult while she was a student. Today she paints full-time, her art is managed by a young Parisian girl who she found through instagram looking to meet somebody in the city, the girl end up being an art student, they met and went out to Bastille, got drunk and days after she became her manager.

Street at Strasbourg St-Dennis from the movie Une Femme est une Femme by Godard. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

When people says that her work has an influence of Picasso she says: “I don’t see it! Actually, one time during one of my vernissages in Paris a guy told me that my work looked like Picasso, and I asked him: why didn’t you say it looks like George Braque? and he replied, because the only cubist I know is Picasso…so?” and then she adds “I’m more influenced by Francis Bacon, not in the style but in the subject matter. He’s not my inspiration as a painter, but more like a person, he was very cool guy and I like the way he lived.”

Porte de St. Dennis from the movie Une Femme est une Femme by Godard. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I continued digging inside her personality, I take a new zip of my coffee, looked her straight to the eyes and very intrigued by the continuous use of different kinds of violence mixed with sex on her work, I asked her why and she says “Because it has a strong impact on people, it moves some strong emotions, you have to kick people’s ass to make them move, as Francis Bacon said: The art that has no balls, has no value”.  That answer was in contradiction with the person who I was watching in front of me,  when you see her, you can only think about tenderness and love, with a soft voice and sweet face you can only imagine an angel fallen from the sky, and then she gives me the final thrust by saying “I have a horrible character, I’m very terrorist, I’m the only child at home and I always have to get what I want.”

Theater at Trocadero from the movie The Dreamers by Bertolucci. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Oh de Laval. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

My cup of tea was almost empty, a sign that we should step out into the streets to start shooting, but I had one last question in my mind and as I said before, her answer was also unexpected…Do you have a boyfriend? “I completely quit the idea to have a boyfriend, I don’t want to spend time on it, I spent the best years of my life with guys and since I can have many boyfriends, why should I think to have just one? We humans are not monogamous by nature and also not sedentary, I love to keep moving and traveling and at the end of my life I want to have my grave in Barcelona.”

Strasbourg St. Denis neighborhood from the movie Une Femme est une Femme movie by Godard. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

After that last answer, we walked to each one of the places from the selection of movies that I picked, to paint with light the way I saw her that day.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

The Magnetic Energy of Actress Madeleine Pougatch


Madeleine Pougatch

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I meet Madeleine for the fist time on a cloudy and cold day at the end of 2015, we met at the metro station Hotel de Ville exit of rue de Rivoli and immediately we headed towards a cafe bar three blocks from there. We sat down in one of those small tables with a typical red couch in one of the sides and in the other a normal chair, I let her pick the side and she sits in the couch. The waiter arrives, she orders a strong cocktail, strong as her personality and right away, I started to be bombarded by all that avalanche of energy that she emanates, specially through her big emerald color eyes.

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Madeleine is an actress by choice and by passion, since she was a 3-year-old child she was always looking where was a camera to stand in front of it, she had this strong desire to live a life in front of the lens. she almost felted like a jealousy of the actors that she was watching on the movies. Ever since, she used to create plays with her brothers and sisters  where she was always acting, but also directing and disguising them to personify each of the characters.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

When the moment to decide about her professional career arrived, acting couldn´t be an option since her family was not related to the field and she didn´t know anybody in that world, so she decided to do a bachelor in Hospitality Management. Nevertheless, the first day of class when the teacher asked her what she wanted to do after the school, rather than answering she wanted to be an entrepreneur or a business woman, she said “I want to be an actress and singer”, because she also uses of her sexy  hoarse voice to sign, actually in this moment she’s working a piece of music with Jerome Goldet who is the bassist of Mathieu Chedid, et  Vanessa Paradis.

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

She always knew her passion was acting and ones she finished her bachelor, she decided to go full-time into the search of her real dream, as she says “There is just one life, I didn’t want to have regrets and so I decided to go deeply on it”. It was only until she was 22 years old that she started to study theater at Cours Simon . Since then things have been evolving as an actress, last week for example, she was at St. Petersburg presenting her first main role in an independent film called “Particulier à Particulier”, which was first presented in Paris in an independent festival. The film is completely filled by her character and as she says “if you don’t like me as an actress, you’re not going to like the film.”

This time we met at a typical crepes restaurant by the Canal St. Martin called Lulu La Nantaise, small and cozy ambiance, with tables that are as big as the scope of your own breath, she ordered a Salmon crepe and in my side I got a chicken cheese and honey mustard one. But of course, when we were ordering the drinks, Madeleine  recommended me to try the cider, which is a french apple wine, we got a jar for the two of us. Of course I have to thanks her because the recommendation was great, it was the best starter to warm up our tiny table and our shooting.

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The food arrived, we started to eat and went deeply in a conversation about her life and she made me understand that the fascination she has for acting is because it allows her to live all the stories she can’t in real life, as she said “if I would do in real life, what I do in the scene, I would become completely crazy: killing a baby, being a lawyer, being a crazy mother in law, etc. As an actress, I can do all those things which I have the desire to do a little bit, but in real life I can’t. At the end, what I love of acting is that it makes me vibrate and there is no other thing in life that can make me feel like that”

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Right now, she also working mainly in two projects: a role in a french TV show called “Joséphine Ange Gardien” of TF1, she will be playing a young 16th years old girl during the 60´s, who got pregnant and has to abandon her baby.  The second project, is a role in a film where she had to work in the snow, up in the mountains with a beautiful sled dog, shooting in a T-shirt under the cold winter and doing scenes where she had to put her feet and arms completely inside the snow.  She’s also working in a project for a group of 30 students inspired in Maurice Pialat, at the same time she will be filming for a director of the école de la cité  who wrote a film inspired on her as actress, she says to inspire someone to create a story is “The grail of any actor”

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile, we were eating and in between the sounds of the cutlery hitting the plates and the noise of the talks of the tiny tables besides us, I asked her which would be her dream roll? She looks up and after a fraction of a second without any shadow of a doubt she says: “I would like to represent Charlotte Corday, the noble girl who killed the french revolution leader Jean-Paul Marat inside his own house while taking a bath. She was sentenced to the guillotine dressed in a red which represented the betrayers who had killed a representative of the people. But, in general I would like to do different roles, change from one genre to the other, from comedy, to drama, to action, to history, etc” She looks down to her plate and continues eating.

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

We finished our lunch and with the stomach full and the soul warmed up by the cider, we went out to hit the streets of this neighborhood by the Canal St. Martin, but wait! she says, before I have to smoke a cigarette. The area of Canal St. Martin is one of the places which Madeleine likes the most in Paris, she says: “it is a very Parisian area, with a huge population of young people and with an immense diversity of places for the social live: bars ,restaurants, cafes, brasseries and of course the sidewalks of the canal which become a picnic area during the spring and summer” and since I like construct the visual stories around something attached to my guests, we went there to do our shoot.

Actress Madeleine Pougatch at canal st. martin.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

To finish I just have to say that while I´m writing finishing to write this post, I´m watching live on Internet the visit of Barack Obama to Cuba, the fist visit of president from United States in more than 50 years, at the same time is Monday of Eastern and it is also Full moon … too many coincidences for one day and I can predict that is because also with Madeleine we are being witness of the birth of a new star.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

So, here is the photo story about my walk with her, a very passionate actress that I´m sure will reach all her goals and will delight us with her talent and explosive energy through the screen for many years.

Cheers!

El Irónico trabajo de Thierry Bruet.


Painter Thierry Bruet

ENGLISH VERSION

Este año quise empezar a invitar artistas a mi blog cuyo arte a primera vista me sacudiera el corazón y el cerebro al mismo tiempo, artistas que estuvieran desarrollando una manera original de ver, diferente a lo que normalmente encontramos alrededor, pero al mismo tiempo, artistas con un fuerte sentido de la crítica del mundo moderno.

Una noche, cuando ya estaba acostado en mi cama decidí  iniciar una búsqueda en Instagram por hashtags y encontré éste: #parisart, ingresé y poco a poco comencé a desplazarme hacia abajo, en medio de la completa oscuridad de mi pequeño apartamento, sólo la luz de mi iphone estaba encendida iluminando mi cara, trataba de encontrar algo que atrajera mi atención. De repente, una pintura llena de colores sorprendentes atrajo mis ojos como un imán, inmediatamente di click en ella y cuando abrió las fibras de esa doble conexión se conectaron , la pintura era del artista francés  Thierry Bruet.

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

A la mañana siguiente, lo primero que hice fue enviar un correo electrónico a Thierry y un par de horas más tarde ese mismo día recibí una llamada telefónica de un número que no tenía registrado, contesté y en el otro lado estaba la amable,  profunda y dinámica voz de Thierry Bruet, diciéndome que quería concertar una cita para el día siguiente….Cuando las cosas están destinadas a suceder, las puertas se abren sin problemas, sin ningún esfuerzo.

La pintura de Thierry Bruet  golpeó mi doble fibra interna por 3 razones: en primer lugar utiliza una técnica clásica para pintar (que es inusual en nuestros días), en segundo lugar los colores, contrastes y la forma en que utiliza la luz es  simplemente increíble y tercero (y más importante) la forma en que se burla de la sociedad con sus cuadros mediante la combinación de personajes de épocas del arte totalmente diferentes, en situaciones que tienen un fuerte sentido de crítica, usando una forma caricaturesca para pintar que hace más fuerte el mensaje que quiere enviar. Cuando le pregunté por esta última razón, me dijo “Yo pinto personas que pueden encontrarse fácilmente en las calles, personas con una belleza que no es la tradicional para las pinturas clásicas, incluso se puede encontrar gente con un aspecto más caricaturesco en la vida real, es simplemente  una belleza diferente, que normalmente no se encuentra en las pinturas clásicas y por eso lo hago “.

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

El día de la sesión de fotos llegué a su estudio alrededor de las 11:30 am, la mañana estaba fría y nublada, abrí la puerta, pasé por una cortina hecha de un plástico de burbujas y allí estaba sentado en su sofá fumando tranquilamente  un cigarrillo mientras me esperaba. El ambiente en su estudio es cálido y acogedor, con algunas luces tenues en la sala donde se encuentra un hermoso sofá escoltado por una enorme biblioteca y justo al lado está el espacio donde pinta, lleno de materiales, bocetos, marcos y por supuesto de pinturas que realiza en ese gran formato que le gusta usar. Thierry me ofrece un café expreso, se olvida de traer el azúcar y Cesar (su compañero, que está a cargo de todas las cuestiones administrativas que Thierry odia) le recuerda traerla a la mesa, nos sentamos en la sala , empezamos a hablar, a romper el hielo y a decidir cómo empezar mientras disfrutábamos el sabor del café.

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Thierry es un pintor autodidacta, ha pintando desde que tiene memoria y el primer contacto que tuvo con los maestros del arte fue cuando tenía 5 años y su abuelo lo llevó al Louvre. Sin embargo, la única persona de la familia relacionada con las artes era su tía (la hermana de su madre), quien trabajaba con  Paul Colin (un fabricante de afiches famoso de los años 30 en París)  y al mismo tiempo era la novia de un famoso pintor francés llamado Georges Mathieu quien trabajaba con la abstracción lírica en los años 50.

Un día, su tía le pidió que le diera una de sus pinturas y se la llevó a casa, cuando Georges Mathieu fue a visitarla, vio la obra de Thierry y le preguntó: “¿Has comprado un Modigliani? Wow! Un Modigliani pintado por un niño que simplemente se divertía jugando con pinturas. Cuando ella le contó a Thierry la historia, él se sintió muy orgulloso de ello, pero como solo tenía 7 años de edad, no entendió bien lo que significaba, como él dice “Fue una manera de sentirme bien y continuar pintando todo el tiempo”.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Años después, tuvo que tomar la decisión sobre su carrera profesional, pero como venía de una familia de industriales (su padre tenía una empresa de publicidad), estudiar bellas artes en ese momento no era una opción, por lo que pensó: “Voy a estudiar algo entre los dos campos (industrial y de artes) y se decidió por la arquitectura”.

Cuando se graduó, comenzó a trabajar como arquitecto en un estudio de diseño, era el encargado de hacer los planos, años después se involucró a fondo con en el negocio y terminó construyendo edificios en París. Sin embargo, toda la gestión administrativa que implica ese trabajo lo aburría enormemente y paralelamente continuaba con la pintura. El día de su primera exposición llegó y poco a poco empezó a involucrarse más en su trabajo como pintor hasta que a la edad de 35 años finalmente decidió dedicarse tiempo completo a ser un artista. Su trayectoria no es la normal de un pintor y siempre ha pintado con una técnica clásica, por lo cual explica: “Creo que todavía hay una gran cantidad cosas por decir con este estilo y como yo quiero enviar mensajes directos, la mejor manera de estar cerca a la realidad es usando el estilo clásico para pintar “.

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Cuando le pregunté acerca de la reacción del público francés a sus pinturas, dice “Hay algunas personas a las que les gusta lo que hago, pero en general el público francés es un poco aburrido, no tienen una mente vanguardista y siempre quieren el mismo estilo clásico “. Thierry piensa que el arte está hoy en día exactamente en el mismo momento del siglo 19, cuando los grandes “Salones de Pintura” vendían obras de los pintores oficiales por una fortuna y paralelamente había un grupo de artistas que estaban desarrollando nuevos conceptos pero nadie los conocía y agrega: “Hoy en día los museos no quieren perderse nada del arte e incluso si no lo entienden lo compran debido a su miedo a pasar por encima de algo que podría ser importante en el futuro, sin embargo, la mayoría de las veces terminan comprando basura y mi arte se burla de ese sistema “.  Por su parte, el continua viviendo su día a día, no le gusta hacer planes para el futuro y sigue vendiendo su arte en todo el mundo, su próxima exposición tendrá lugar en Palm Beach, en el mes de abril de 2016.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Ese día, los tres (Thierry, Cesar y yo) almorzamos en su estudio, Cesar trajo una pizza deliciosa de un buen restaurante italiano que queda a la vuelta  y el más sorprendente Éclairé de café que he probado desde que vivo en Francia. Hablamos de su gusto por los buenos restaurantes en París, su amor por la isla de Córcega y otras regiones de Francia que vale la pena visitar y al final terminamos con broche de oro hablando un poco acerca de Napoleón.

Esta es la forma en que vi a Thierry Bruet en su estudio, espero que disfruten las fotos!

The Ironic work of Thierry Bruet


Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

SPANISH VERSION

I wanted to start inviting artists to my blog whose art at first sight could shake my heart and my brain at the same time, artists who were developing an original way to see, different from what we normally see around, but at the same time artists with a strong sense of critic of modern world.

One night when I went to bed decided to start searching on Instagram by hash tags and found this one: #parisart, slowly started to scroll down, in the middle of the complete darkness of my flat, just the light of my iphone was lighting my face, trying to find something who could attract my attention. Suddenly a painting full of amazing colors attracted my eyes as a magnet, I immediately tapped on it and when it opened my dual fibers connected, the painting was from French artist Thierry Bruet.

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Next morning, the first thing I did was to send an email to Thierry and Couple hours later that same day I received a phone call from a number I didn’t have registered, picked it up and in the other side I had the friendly, deep and dynamic voice of Thierry Bruet, telling me he wanted to arrange an appointment for the next day….When things are meant to happen, the doors open smoothly, with no effort.

Thierry Bruet paintings knocked my inner dual fiber for 3 reasons: first of all he´s using a classical technique to paint (which is unusual for this modern days), second the colors, contrasts and the way he use light are just amazing and third (and most important) the way he mocks society with his paintings, by combining characters from totally different eras of art, on situations that have an strong sense of critic using a caricaturized way to paint his characters which makes stronger the message he wants to send. When I asked him about this last reason, he said “I just paint people who you could easily find in the streets, people with a non traditional beauty for classic paintings, you can even find people with a more caricaturized appearance in real life, it’s just a different beauty that normally you will not find in classical paintings and that’s why I do it”.

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The day of the shooting I arrived to his studio around 11:30 am, the morning was cold and cloudy, I opened door, passed through a curtain made out of a bubble wrap and there he was sitting on his sofa placidly smoking a cigarette while waiting for me. The ambiance in his studio is warm and cozy, with some low lights in the living room where you find a beautiful sofa escorted by a huge library and just besides the space where he paints, full of materials, sketches, frames and of course paintings made in the big format that he likes to use. Thierry offered me an espresso, he forgot to bring the sugar and Cesar (his partner, who’s  in charge of all the administrative issues which Thierry hates) remembers him to bring it to the table, we sat down in the living room, started talking, braking the ice and deciding how to start while we were enjoying the flavor of that coffee.

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Thierry is a self – taught painter, he’s been painting since he has memory and the first contact he had with the masters of art was when he was 5 years old and his grand father took him to the Louvre.  But the only person of the family related to arts was his aunt (the sister of his mother), who was working in the fine arts market with Paul Colin (a famous poster maker from the 30’s) and was the girlfriend of a famous French painter called Georges Mathieu who was into the lyric abstraction in the 50’s.

One day, her aunt ask him to giver her one of his paintings and she took it home, when Georges Mathieu came to visit her, he saw the work of Thierry and ask her: “Have you bought a Modigliani? ” Wow! A Modigliani painted by a child that was just having fun playing with paintings. Then she told Thierry the story, he felt very proud of it but  since he was just 7 years old, he couldn’t understand well what that meant but as he says “it was a way to feel good and continue painting all the time”.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Years after, he had to make a decision about his professional career, but he came from an industrial family (his father had an advertisement company), so studying fine arts at that time was not an option. He thought “I’m going to study something between both fields (industrial & arts), so I will do architecture”.

Ones he graduated, he started working as an architect in a design studio, he was in charge of doing the plans, years after he went deep in the business and ended up constructing buildings in Paris. But all the administrative management involved in that work just bored him, meanwhile he continued painting and the day of his first exhibition arrived . Little by little he started to get more involved into his work as a painter until the age of 35 when he finally decided to dedicate full time to be an artist. He has not followed the normal path of a painter and he has always painted with a classic technique and explains: “I think there is still a lot things to say with this style and since I want to send straight messages, the best way to keep it closer to reality is by using the classical style to paint.”

Painter Thierry Bruet

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

When I asked him about the reaction of the French public to his paintings, he says “There is some people here that like what I do, but in general the French public is a bit dull, they don’t have a vanguard mind set and always want the classic style”. He thinks art is today in the exact same moment of the 19th century, when the big “Salons de Peinture” were selling for a fortune the official painters and in the side there was a group of artists who were developing new concepts but nobody knew them. He says “Today museums don’t want to miss anything in art and even if they don’t understand it, they buy it due to their fear to pass over something that would be important in the future, but most of the time they end up buying crap and my art mocks that system”. At the end, he continuous living his day by day, he doesn’t like to make plans for the future and continue selling his art all around the world, his next exhibition will take place in Palm Beach in the month of April 2016.

That day, the 3 of us (Thierry, Cesar and me) had lunch together at his studio, Cesar brought a delicious pizza from a good Italian restaurant around the corner and the most amazing Eclaire du Cafe that I’ve had since living here in France. We talked about their taste for good restaurants in Paris, their love for the Island of Corsica and other regions around France worth to visit and at end we finish with the cherry on the pie talking a little bit about Napoleon.

Here is the way I saw Thierry Bruet  in his studio, hope you enjoy the pictures!

The Mysterious World of Actress Lara Megan Mistretta


A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

In my search in photography for real life experiences, real people, real life stories, real life moments, I decided to search inside the world of actors and more specifically I wanted to see the life from inside of an actress, the places she likes, the place she lives and her passions.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

So I contacted Lara, a french actress born from the mix of an Italian father and an argentinian mother, an interesting 3 cultures cocktail. I had met her 2 years ago when we did a small shooting in a studio while I was in the photography school,  but this time I wanted to take pictures of her universe, staying with her during one day, to get a touch of her life, so I proposed her the idea and she immediately accepted.

That day I arrived to Lara´s home located in a typical parisian building in the 3rd district of Paris, a very particular place of the city center where you can find a mix between the jewish neighborhood called Le Marais, the trendy stores, the cool restaurants and also a strong presence of the gay community.

The door of the building had a beautiful grayish blue color with some small windows guarded by steal bars with amazing plant´s shapes. When you open the door a classical checked black & white floor welcomes you surrounded by mirrors that seems to be staring at you until the end of the hall where a door with colorful stained glass invites you to go into the typical parisian wooden snail staircases. Everything in the halls was perfectly painted, with really good taste and simplicity, it was like entering into the beginnings of XIX century in a really pleasant way.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I knocked in the door and Lara opens, letting me go inside of her calmed, relaxed and mysterious world. An apartment with a very beautiful light that enters through 4 huge windows and bathes the whole apartment with an special energy, an energy that I´m sure is potentiated by Lara´s aura itself. Lara was dressed like at home, in a really relaxed way, with a pink extra size shirt and black leggins, really confortable and natural, exactly what I wanted for the start of the shoot, I wanted the real way, her way.

We started talking about her place, her life, the weather, the light, the cappuccino that she made me, about how she eats in a really healthy way since she´s a child by her own decision, long before all this fashion of being healthy arrived (no meat or processed food is included on her diet), about her neighbors and the cat that from time to time she coddle when he knocks on her door and of course about the passions that she has in life besides acting.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I discovered that behind her big and beautiful eyes the soul of a real passionated artist is living the present to express her feelings, desires, dreams, fears and demons. Lara not only has followed her passion for acting studying at many different schools like Cours FlorentCNRR (Conservatoire National) Nice or Atelier Blanche Salant & Paul Weaver  and winning prices like the Soulier d’Or for best actress in “Lifever” at Festival 2013, the Grand Prix of the Jury du Dau’Film Festival 2013 and Special price of the jury for the best actress Palmares at the Vidéo Festival of Voreppe in « Lifever » de Ted Hardy Carnac 2014, but also she´s an avid writer keeping her own well decorated personal books and diaries, at the same time she also paints when the inspiration of the daily life comes and makes her hands flow with her soul over the canvas.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

But it doesn´t end there, she also loves to dance and letting her body free her inner energies and desires whenever she´s alone at her place or when assisting to the Centre de Danse du Marais – Mia Frye to dans street jazz. In sum, Lara is like one of those living volcanos that appears beautiful and calmed from outside, but inside her bowels the hot lave of her artistic passion is boiling getting ready to explode when the time comes to show to the artistic world her existence.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

When you talked to Lara, you feel the mystery on her life, on the way she sees and she talks, the way she thinks and goes from one topic to the other, the way she takes you from one situation to the next one, you start discovering the parallel worlds that she can see not only through her real eyes, but with the eyes of her soul. Since she´s a child she has had the ability to experience things that not many of us can, having out of body experiences like that one time while staying at her apartment being awake she was able to see what was her girl friend doing in the corridor of the entrance of the building while she was 6 floors above her, when her friend came back into her apartment Lara asked her if she was doing this and that and her friend was just amazed to tell her that was exactly what she was doing downstairs. The mysterious soul of Lara is enriched by this type of parallel world stories and many more out of which she could made a film saga if that was her desire.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

That day, as the time passed by, Lara started opening more and more layers of her life for me to see and to know, it was like an artichoke that was taking away little by little, one by one of her petals. We went for a walk, we had lunch together in a very typical parisian cafe, we went to the marché des enfants rouges, walk around different corners of the neighborhood and came back to her home with the soul and the life richer by the fact that we had learned from the life experience of each other in a sincere way.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Here are the pictures of the amazing journey with the polyvalent, mysterious, calmed and full of good vibes of Lara Megan Mistretta, hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Cheers!

Firma Blogcropped-lac201308120029.jpg

THE FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE – Aerial Photography Journey.


© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The cellphone vibrates one time, it´s a whatsapp message, I`m concentrated on the computer, scrolling down, looking at some pictures from Paris I had taken the week before, I´m looking, thinking, selecting, feeling and remembering the seconds which are embedded in each of those pictures. I continue working, the Iphone still remains there, in the table by the keyboard and again it vibrates 3 more times, the creak of the vibration against the old green wood of my desk disconnects me from my photo world, I turn my head and look at it, grab it in my hand to see the message, the screen shows I have a message from my friend and brother in Paris Gabo and it says: Alejo, how are you? I´m going to fly this weekend, do you want to come with me?

I immediately had contrasted feelings, I wanted to say yes! I´m going! but at the same time the fear appeared inside of me since I know it will be a learning flight for my friend. I think, I feel, I think and I feel again, some minutes passed by before answering the message, the battle of the heart and the reason goes on inside my body, finally as it has been for me in the last years, the heart wins and 5 minutes later I answer the message: ¨Hey Gabo, I´m good! sure, let`s do it!”

Two weeks went by and here I´m am on a saturday early morning, packing my equipment and getting ready, waiting for Gabo to arrive on his blue Peugeot 208 to pick me up. I finish everything and sit down in the couch, in the middle of the silence of my flat at 7:30 am in the morning.  I can hear my breath slowly going in and out of my nose, I start relaxing, feeling comfortable, the rhythm of my breath starts slowing his speed, I start getting sleepy and suddenly the cellphone vibrates again, I got a whatsapp message: “Alejo, I`m here just outside, let´s go!”

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

One hour after,  we are arriving to the Aéroclub Aigle de St-Maur, a sunny and bright day just perfect for  the adventure welcomes us in the aviation club. Ones I cross the door I enter to a world that feels back like in the past century. The first thing I see is the wooden desk of the counter with the logo of an eagle, all the chairs, colors, sofas and interior design in general has kept this flavor of the 80´s, I continue walking until the back of the room where there is a foosball and an old coffee machine, I see a brownish, padded old sofa that is inviting me strongly with its shape to sit down and relax, the smell of coffee reaches my noise and I start to relax again while I wait for Gabo who is in a small room preparing the flight with Jim his flight instructor.

Thirty minutes went by and we´re ready to board the small plane, a Robin DR-400 painted in blue and white stripes; while I´m going up I realize that the plain is mainly made by a really light and fragile material, Gabo tells me exactly where is the metallic part of the wing to put my foot and get inside the  cabin, I go to the back seat, Gabo goes in the front left side and Jim in the right front, the instructor gives me the headphones and ask me to put them on to see if they are working, ones I do it, a typical radio noise comes into my ears asking me if I hear him, I just say yes!

The engine is on, we start moving and my heart starts beating more strongly, I hear through the headphones a technical language between Gabo, Jim and the control tower, I don´t understand anything of their talk, from that moment ahead I´m completely alone in the trip, they are on their business and I have to prepare for mine.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Ten minutes after, the tiny plane is ready to take off with the 3 of us inside, I see Gabo`s hand pulling thoroughly the accelerator and we start going really fast to take off, every single atom of that plane is shaking and I can feel all those vibrations going through my body, suddenly the nose of the plain goes up and we lift off, I can feel the wind crashing strongly to the plane, everything is moving strongly, Gabo makes a small turn right losing the balance of the plane, a strong sensation of vertigo overrun my body through all of my cells reaching the bottom of my soul, after 3 seconds Gabo corrects the maneuver, we are again on the right position and for the first time in my life I have the real sensation of flying, it´s  like riding a pegasus with just a couple of wings to keep us in the air.

Fifteen minutes later we are starting to prepare to land in another airport, I have started taking pictures long time ago, trying to get the frames I imagined, trying to be keen when I press the shooter in an environment where everything is shaking, even my breath.Gabo and Jim are concentrated on their business, we are landing and 10 seconds after we do it, we are taking off again without stoping the plane, all in the same run,  all in one move; again the plane vibrates strongly, the wind is hitting us like the ocean hits the rocks of a cliff, this time Gabo manages to make a smooth turn right and then after few seconds we are high in the sky again. We did the same operation 5 times, landing and taking off of the same airport track, until the end of the lesson when we went back to the first airport were we took off.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

One hour later I was again sitting in the brownish sofa by the foosball, I´m not anymore the same person, I have experienced how is to fly a small plane and literally feel the wind under your feet, I have changed as a person, I have one more story to tell, I have traveled in a different way for the first time and specially I have a strong dizziness to handle before coming back again to the normal life.

Thanks to Gabo again for inviting me to this aerial ride!!! Here is the photography of the adventure, the aerial and the ground pictures, I hope you enjoy them.

Cheers!


Firma Blog

cropped-lac201308120029.jpg

Photography: Like a Sailor Quest


Rue de Rivoli

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The sun comes up, the alarm screams at loud, there is a new day starting to be discovered; my brain slowly, very slowly starts coming down from gamma vibrations to start connecting again with reality and my soul starts coming back filling my body from the crown of my head to the tip of my thumb until the moment when I´m completely conscious to remember that a new opportunity to start a search is now starting.

I say “search” because it’s the word that has haunted in my mind during the last times, a search that is more likely a Quest, which the Oxford dictionary defines as: A long or arduous search for something. It is a photography quest to find my own way to see outside through the discovery of my inside, I believe we see reality according to our own experience, which means reality is something as individual as the number of people in this planet. Even though everything is inside you, the quest to find the essence and put it in your pictures is the challenge.

LAC201507160231

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Fifteen minutes after, I jump out from the warmth of my bed, have an energetic breakfast, take a hot shower, check the weather predictions, get dress accordingly, grab my camera and sail out of my place into the big ocean that represent the streets of Paris.  Ironically I need to start a quest outside, to find out my inside as a projection in my pictures, it’s almost like a self therapy to rediscover yourself in every click.

To find your photographic voice, there are no shortcuts, no magic answers, no apps, no technology, no famous check lists of things to do like those ones which are so popular on internet or crap like that. It’s a process that takes time, effort, study, observation but the must important of all: doing pictures every day if it’s possible, it doesn’t matter if the pictures are not directly related to the field of photography that you’re developing right now.

Real photography at the end is about photographing what fascinates you,  every day for sure you will discover things that fascinates you in many different ways in your surroundings and photographing them will give you the opportunity to put all that knowledge together to after using it in your field. Harry Callahan ones said “To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures”

LAC201507140028

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

For me this quest is like the one the sailors did in ancients times: they sailed from their port of departure to the deep ocean searching for something they were not sure to find and even didn’t know what it could be. Every time I put my feet into the street, I feel that I’m immersing myself into the waters of the concrete ocean that lies just outside my door and starting a new journey without knowing exactly what I’m going to find.

Yes, it’s  a lonely work, no one can do it for you, you’re outside alone with your camera, with your thoughts, your emotions, your insecurities, your history laying in your back, silent, attentive, doing the ritual of a feline chasing for its dam, a dam that will be outside, in that concrete ocean to reveal something from your inside, yes, it’s ironic but it’s the way it is.

The final result of a sailing day can be great or poor, but what matters is the journey, because all that learning process will be put in your next photo. At the end, what really thrill me about sailing away into the concret ocean of the city is that I’m sure to find a new adventure that will make me feel alive in the present which I believe is the only thing that in reality I can decide for.

This time I made a selection of pictures of spaces, buildings and things that touch me in some way from my latest journeys, no people involved…hope you enjoy them!.

“Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters …” – Harry Callahan

Cheers!

Firma Blog cropped-lac201308120029.jpg