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The Questionnaire : Leslie Moquin by Carole Schmitz


Leslie Moquin: Extravagance and poetry.

A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles (2013), and a Master in International Relations (MRIAE) from Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris (2010), Leslie Moquin‘s photographic work is essentially marked by the diversity of the countries she has had the opportunity to travel through. From Shanghai to the Colombian Caribbean, via Iraqi Kurdistan, her approach is original, aesthetic and poetic.

Her images are sensual and sensitive, with a focus on symbols. She makes us take a different look at what at first glance seems banal, with a touch of humor here and there, but always giving free rein to our imagination.

Her work is exhibited both in France and abroad. And until September 16, 2023, she will be exhibiting “Persephone” at the Fondation Thalie, in collaboration with artist Jeanne Vicerial, featuring just under twenty photographs from the “Quarantaine vestimentaire” series, taken during their first confinement as boarders at the Villa Médicis, and previously published as a digital diary on Instagram.


Instagram : lili.moquin
News: Fondation Thalie in Arles, until September 16.


What was your first taste of photography?
Leslie Moquin: I remember being fascinated by a Pierre et Gilles book at my parents’ house.

The man or woman in Photography who inspires you?
Leslie Moquin: At the moment, Anita Conti.

The one that has moved you the most?
Leslie Moquin: Alessandra Sanguinetti’s series “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda” really moved me when I discovered it as a student.

And the one that made you angry?
Leslie Moquin: I also work in the photo department of a major daily newspaper, and there are many images that can make you angry on a daily basis.

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Leslie Moquin: It doesn’t come to me, but I do have a collection of images of swimming pools and another of people photographed in bushes.

A photographic memory from your childhood?
Leslie Moquin: A photo booth with my mother.

With no budget limit, what work of art would you dream of acquiring?
Leslie Moquin: I’d buy the Chauvet cave or a painting by Douanier Rousseau. Maybe I could hang it in my cave, where I’d walk around in a Schiaparelli dress with a Jeanne Vicerial “coiffoune”.

What do you think makes a good photographer?
Leslie Moquin: I guess it depends on the kind of photography you do.

What, if any, is the secret to the perfect image?
Leslie Moquin: AI? nNo, I don’t think the perfect image exists in the absolute.

Who would you like to photograph?
Leslie Moquin: Mads Mikkelsen.

The photographer you’d like to have your portrait taken by?
Leslie Moquin: Sarah Moon.

A must-have photo book?
Leslie Moquin: A book that moves me a lot: “Between Love and Death: Diary of Nobuyoshi Araki”.

Your childhood camera?
Leslie Moquin: I can’t remember the brand, but I had a small 24×36 for travel, with which I mainly photographed hotel lobbies.

The one you use today?
Leslie Moquin: Often a Sony alpha 7

What’s your favorite drug?
Leslie Moquin: MDMA. Just kidding, it’s illegal, so how would I know what it does?

The best way to disconnect?
Leslie Moquin: The most effective way I’ve experienced in recent years is to be out at sea.

What is your personal relationship with images?
Leslie Moquin: Too intense, we need to take a little distance.

What’s your greatest quality?
Leslie Moquin: Is that a Human Resources manager question?

An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Leslie Moquin: The mask from Jeanne Vicerial’s Lingua del Fuoco.

The job you wouldn’t have liked to do?
Leslie Moquin: Driving instructor, among others.

What if you hadn’t become a photographer?
Leslie Moquin: Certainly not a master chef, apart from that it was pretty open.

Your greatest professional extravagance?
Leslie Moquin: La quarantaine vestimentaire was quite an extravagant piece of work, in the sense of out of the ordinary, because of the context, the way we constructed it, the role this series had for each of us during the confinement.

What do you think is the difference between photography and art photography?
Leslie Moquin: Art photography is one of the many meanings of photography. Just as “painting” can refer to the practice of a house painter as well as the practice of Frida Kahlo, it’s broad.

What city, country or culture do you dream of discovering?
Leslie Moquin: The Marquesas Islands, on a sailboat.

The place you never tire of?
Leslie Moquin: Saint-Romain.

Your biggest regret?
Leslie Moquin: I don’t really have any.

In terms of social networks, are you more into Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Snapchat and why?
Leslie Moquin: Instagram the old-fashioned way.

What have digital technology and smartphones taken away from or brought to photography?
Leslie Moquin: That’s a question that could be the subject of a thesis in media history, so I’d just say they’ve changed everything.

Color or B&W?
Leslie Moquin: Color.

Daylight or artificial light?
Leslie Moquin: Natural light.

Does your heart lean more towards film or digital?
Leslie Moquin: Film!

Which city do you think is the most photogenic?
Leslie Moquin: Havana? Baracoa?

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Leslie Moquin: Go for the selfie.

If I could organize your ideal dinner party, who would be at the table?
Leslie Moquin: That’s very kind, my friends, all wearing Jeanne Vicerial “coiffoune”.

Which image represents the current state of the world for you?
Leslie Moquin: In the exhibition, it would be the mask with a bright smile. It could be read as a denial of a reality that doesn’t offer much in the way of prospects. Eyes masked, we prefer to smile and move on.

What’s missing in today’s world?
Leslie Moquin: It seems to me we’ve got more of a problem with too much, don’t you think?

If you had to start all over again?
Leslie Moquin: I hope that’s what happens in the end.

Any last words?
Leslie Moquin: Thank you, the Perséphone exhibition is on view until September 16 at the Fondation Thalie in Arles, and we look forward to welcoming you.

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