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The Questionnaire : Marie-Pierre Decuyper aka Capella MP by Carole Schmitz 


Capella MP: Emotion through images.

In the tradition of the great reportage photographers, Marie-Pierre Decuyper aka Capella MP constructs her images like an architect. She combines the evanescence of a look with a structure, capturing fleeting, timeless moments while developing her own style.

In the development of her work, each protagonist perfectly symbolizes the context in which he or she operates.

From backstage at a fashion show to the racetrack, her photos bring to light worlds where humor, elegance and sensitivity are subtly blended, revealing what is invisible to the naked eye. She uses shadows and colors as others use words… to tell a life story. For Marie Pierre, photography is like a delicate dance in which the unexpected sets the tempo.


What was your first photographic breakthrough?
Capella MP: A landscape photo of trees spread out over a lake.

The man or woman who inspires you?
Capella MP: Irving Penn, Guy Bourdin, Newton, Ansel Adams, Salgado, Bresson, Doisneau, split between reportage and studio! Digital photography, with its growing definition, brings the two worlds together, with digital retouching, among other things.

What image would you have liked to have made?
Capella MP: Marc Riboud, “a woman with a flower in her hand in front of rifles”. And then, pure reportage is still the essential part of photography: our societal memory. Gustav le Gray, landscape photographer extraordinaire, portraits that show the beginnings of photographic journalism.

Which one moved you the most?
Capella MP: “Fœtus 18 weeks” by Lennart Nilsson.

And the one that made you angry?
Capella MP: Nick Ut’s “Napalm Girl”, which shows the horror of war.

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Capella MP: In the photos I’ve made! A photo acquired by the Chanel conservatory, “Chignon Camélia”, in which the symbolism between the Chanel logo and the spiral is very strong… Or a man walking while reading his newspaper, like a gambler at a Parisian racecourse. His foot doesn’t touch the step, and he continues reading the forecasts in a sort of very large circular staircase.

A photographic memory from your childhood?
Capella MP: My first black-and-white photo lab when I was 12. I can still see the first image appearing…

With no budget limit, what work of art would you dream of acquiring?
Capella MP: The Venus de Milo, but now in 3D!

In your opinion, what quality is needed to be a good photographer?
Capella MP: I think you need passion and enthusiasm.

What, if any, is the secret to the perfect image?
Capella MP: In my eyes, an image is perfect if it sends a message of love.

Who would you like to photograph?
Capella MP: Whoever wants to!

It’s said that photos capture the soul of those photographed?
Capella MP: Very good portraits can reflect the soul at a moment’s notice …. As for the rest, it’s all a question of philosophy, of concepts…

Which photographer would you like to have your portrait taken by?
Capella MP: I don’t like being photographed…

A must-have photo book?
Capella MP: I really liked the retrospective on Robert Doisneau, published by Viviane Esders, in which you can see all Doisneau’s photos, the well-known and the lesser known. All very pretty. Humanist photography!

What was your childhood camera?
Capella MP: A plastic camera.

The one you use today?
Capella MP: A Canon 24×36.

Your favorite drug?
Capella MP: Balance in everything…

What’s the best way to disconnect?
Capella MP: The piano.

What is your personal relationship with images?
Capella MP: It’s a pictorial search. I think photographers are frustrated painters. It’s all about composition, light and color…. And the basis of it all: drawing.

What’s your greatest quality?
Capella MP: My greatest quality is also a flaw: speed.

Your latest folly?
Capella MP: Starting to play the piano

An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Capella MP: Flowers.

The job you wouldn’t have liked to do?
Capella MP: Seamstress, I have no patience.

What if you hadn’t become a photographer?
Capella MP: I could have been a painter.

Your greatest professional extravagance?
Capella MP: Exhibiting photos on wires with clothespins at the St Ouen flea market.

What do you think is the difference between photography and art photography?
Capella MP: Anything can be art, you just have to find the concept behind the photo.

What city, country or culture do you dream of discovering?
Capella MP: I’d go to Los Angeles.

The place you never tire of?
Capella MP: The sea, the horizon.

Your biggest regret?
Capella MP: No regrets, no way!

In terms of social networks, do you prefer Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Snapchat, and why?
Capella MP: Instagram by far. The most photographic network.

What have digital technology and smartphones taken away from or brought to photography?
Capella MP: Digital photography with its current image definition is extraordinary. You can do anything.

Color or B&W?
Capella MP: Both. Some subjects lend themselves more to color, others to B&W.

Daylight or artificial light?
Capella MP: Daylight enhanced by artificial light. You have to work with shadows.

Do you prefer film or digital?
Capella MP: Digital

What’s the most photogenic city in your opinion?
Capella MP: Agra in India, with the Taj Mahal.

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Capella MP: I’d ask him to pose, of course.

If I could organize your ideal dinner party, who would be at the table?
Capella MP: The people I love.

The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Capella MP: The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

What’s missing in today’s world?
Capella MP: The only thing missing is love.

If you had to start all over again?
Capella MP: I wouldn’t change a thing.

Any last words?
Capella MP: Long live photography and thank you Carole.

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