Only a French man will tell you straight faced that a collection of photographs of vaginas, tits, bondage and a few cocks isn’t at all pornographic. Which was the case when I met French art critic turned photographer Olivier Zahm, last night as he exposed a collection of his finest œuvres in Colette, to a Paris fashion week crowd.
Editor in chief of Purple Magazine (a bi annual art and fashion magazine) and the controversial blog, Purple Diaries, his work features models and actors alike. Kate Moss, Karl Lagerfeld, Pamela Anderson, Peaches Geldof and Uffie are a just a selection of his photographic fodder. Here’s what he had to say on the exhibition.
Why did you choose Colette to exhibit your photographs? Because I didn’t want to be categorised, as I would have been had I held it in a gallery. Here, my work is like a product (points to a bottle of shampoo).
Would you consider your work as pornographic? No. My photographs capture an aesthetic, like a building or an object. I don’t take photographs with the intention to ‘excite’ I merely capture a moment.
How do you get women to pose so provocatively for you? I don’t make them do any thing. I photograph what the women want to show me.
Amongst the 10 000 photographs you’ve taken, how did you go about choosing the ones you’re showcasing here? Well, I chose the softer ones, the less graphic photos, because I know there are kids that come to the store and I respected that.
Later on, I saw Lou Doillon, a French actress who features in the exhibition. She explained to me how he gets hot, horny celebrities to get, well, hot and horny for the camera. « He’s a friend and I feel really comfortable in front of him. Or rather I do at 4 in the morning. It’s only the next day that I realise what I’ve done and I’ll go on his site and realise I feature under the « sex » section of his photographic blog!»
Like a Ron Hubbard of the Church of photography, Olivier must have sent me subliminal messages during our conversation, at the end of the night I realised my camera was full of photos of female attendees with big tits.