Analog Self-Portraits Help Chantal Convertini to Love and Accept (NSFW)

All images by Chantal Convertini. Used with permission. 

“I don’t like these overly perfect fashion images that are as pretty as they are empty.” That’s the thought of Chantal Convertini. She adds, “shooting self-portraits is a form of self-acceptance and self-love.” She gives her audience a raw, straight out of camera view of her world with film photography that is gentle, but also has a powerful message – we’re human, we’re different, and that’s okay. In her portfolio, a mix of portraits and self-portraits, we see women wanting to connect to themselves, not to the self that society tells them to connect to. We find this truly inspiring and we adore the beautiful results that come from this creative approach.

Alongside being a great photographer, Chantal has a strong business brain – something all photographers need in 2019. In our conversation, we discuss how she has made her art a form of income and she also gives us a peek into her creative world.

Phoblographer: Hey Chantal! You’re an analog photographer. What made you go down this route rather than digital?

CC: Well, the interesting thing is that I came from the other way around. Digital was the new invention of the 21th century and as everyone got excited over it for it’s obvious advantages I grew up digitally and til I turned 23 I’ve never had a roll of film in my hand consciously. So for me it was a new discovery. And to this day I love film for many reasons. I adore the look, that’s the first thing and also what I love about the process is that you shoot something „real“. I love that film is tangible and that you have to wait for the images. Every time I’m excited to get back a film and it’s like a present you give yourself. And you can’t even cheat.

But here I have to add, that I do also shoot digital. I like that I create with different media in photography and that I can choose them for what fits the situation. I learned using them as a perfect adaptation to what I want to do while shooting and also convey in the imagery. I choose digital for experimenting with a lot of time and for all client work and special occasions and events.

“I’m proud of finally having my own vision of myself…”

Phoblographer: You take a lot of self-portraits. We imagine that can be tricky when using film. What’s your process to ensure you get it right?

CC: You don’t get it right most of the time. I know how to meter light and I try my best to get the focus right where I will be in the end of the picture (placing something there first helps). But apart from that shooting self-portraits on film is try and error. And more error than try. But the beautiful thing about it is, that if you really got it, then it was worth all the trouble.

Phoblographer: We’re genuinely curious about your series “a feminine view of feminity”. In your words, how do you feel about feminity and what was your approach to communicating that through your images?

CC: The title comes from a thought that women had been muses to male artist for centuries and that I’m proud of finally having my own vision of myself and also a different vision on a woman as one myself. I know the circumstances changed a lot in the last 100 years and I’m not new to this movement, but I’m still proud to have figured that out also for myself and not only out of history books and out of others minds and thoughts. It’s just a very non-sexualized view on something that had been so highly sexualized in general and I want to show that.

Phoblographer: A lot of your work is has a dark, slightly underexposed vibe. What do you feel this says about you as an artist?

CC: My journey in photography started with a heartbreak. That deeply impacted my imagery. And it’s still there in one or the other work. And also, I like film a little underexposed.

“I want to make a book of my work. It’s gonna be called “God is a woman“ …”

Phoblographer: You have a Pateron page. For those who don’t know, can you explain what it is and how it benefits you as a photographer?

CC: Patreon is a page where you have a profile like on Facebook or Instagram or any other social media platform, but instead of friendships requests or followers you have people there that financially support you with a monthly subscription. I love Patreon for having all my expanses on film covered and for that I only have to do what I do anyways. It’s pretty cool.

Phoblographer: Let’s say you could only use one type of roll of film for the rest of your career – what are you going for and why?

CC: Cinestill 800T. Because it reacts differently in every light. So I would still have a variety of film looks.

Phoblographer: And one film camera….

CC: Canon A1, I shoot almost everything with it.

Phoblographer: Finally, could you let us know what creative projects you have planned for yourself in the future?

CC: I want to make a book of my work. It’s gonna be called “God is a woman“ and will contain unpublished work and words of mine and maybe others. Also, I’m gonna meet a lot of favorite artist on a self-organized artist gathering on Corsica in September.

You can see more of Chantal on her website, Instagram, and Patreon.