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The Questionnaire : Odile Vuillemin by Carole Schmitz


Odile Vuillemin : Exploring the world

You probably know her as an actress, but between two film shoots, Odile Vuillemin, who has won several awards, has also devoted herself for several years to another of her passions: photography. Thus, during her solo travels, which she considers to be immersive experiences, in so-called extreme countries, which she chooses “without really knowing why”, this ethnologist at heart travels the world to discover other shores.

There is no desire for extremes in her choices, just the call of a country. And if she likes to travel alone, it is above all to forget her cultural baggage and to facilitate the meeting with the other.

In short, Odile Vuillemin has always liked to confront the world and herself. From her explorations she has thus drawn a story “Latitudes” (published by Michel Lafon), funny and poetic in words and images. She captures the essence of what she sees, of the people she meets on her way, of little bits of life, of anguish or laughter. Her images are an ode to the beauty and diversity of the world.


Instagram : odilevuillemin


Your first photographic trigger?
Odile Vuillemin: I must have been between 8 and 10 years old, it was on vacation on the Island of Oleron. I was given a camera and I started to photograph the crabs and lobsters we had just bought. However, the passion for images came to me later, probably on film sets. Loving framing I naturally forged my own eye. I like to choose my piece of reality, which I also do for my characters on the screen. Then my travels also played their parts. That’s when I finally accepted the idea of loving photography and wanted to do it seriously. So I bought myself a camera worthy of the name and I asked for advice from a set photographer with whom I get along well. This allowed me, finally, to have fun with the object.

The man or woman in the picture who inspires you?
Odile Vuillemin: Without hesitation, Steve McCurry, even if it’s not really an original answer. But as I love to travel and I was trained as an ethnologist, I have always loved the strength that emanates from his images.

The image you would have liked to make?
Odile Vuillemin: “Earth rise” a photograph taken by William Anders on December 24, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission to the Moon. The picture and the experience are just crazy.

The one that made you angry?
Odile Vuillemin: Any war image.

With no budget limit, what would be the work you would dream of acquiring?
Odile Vuillemin: In photography, probably one or two Doisneau. He always knew how to make simple moments of life iconic with humor. And if not, a Norman Rockwell. Each of his works is so incredible.

According to you, what is the necessary quality to be a good photographer?
Odile Vuillemin: The look at things and life.

The secret of the perfect image, if it exists?
Odile Vuillemin: The moment without any doubt. Because the moment provokes an emotion.

The person you would like to photograph?
Odile Vuillemin: I would have loved to photograph Mandela !

An essential photo book?
Odile Vuillemin: Any of Steve McCurry’s or T

The camera of your childhood?
Odile Vuillemin: A Kodak XTRA

The one you use today?
Odile Vuillemin: A Fuji X30

Your favorite drug?
Odile Vuillemin: Travel.

The best way to disconnect for you?
Odile Vuillemin: Being alone and traveling. It’s the best way for me to meet others and to immerse myself in other cultures.

What is your relationship with the image?
Odile Vuillemin: As an actress, it is quite particular without being “control freak” of my image. But I am not necessarily very comfortable in front of a camera.

Your greatest quality ?
Odile Vuillemin: Perseverance.

Your latest folly?
Odile Vuillemin: I won’t tell you again that it was a trip (laughs)… I would say that it was to offer myself a Burberry trench coat.

An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Odile Vuillemin: Trees.

The job you would not have liked to do?
Odile Vuillemin: Tax inspector or policeman.

Your greatest professional extravagance?
Odile Vuillemin: Maybe to have taken photography seriously.

The city, the country or the culture that you dream to discover?
Odile Vuillemin: Mongolia, Peru, Japan, Bolivia… and the list is long.

The place you never get tired of?
Odile Vuillemin: London, it is a city of refuge for me.

Your biggest regret?
Odile Vuillemin: Not going to study in the US after high school.

In terms of social networks, are you more Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Snapchat and why?
Odile Vuillemin: Like everyone else I use Instagram, I scroll a lot unfortunately. To my great despair, I find it very addictive and very disconnected from reality. In my opinion, social networks make the apology of nothingness, are disconnected from reality and dehumanize everything. This is also the reason why I refuse to do interviews by email.

Color or B&W?
Odile Vuillemin: Color.

Daylight or artificial light?
Odile Vuillemin: Daylight, because I am against artifice. Besides, I retouch my photos very little.

What is, according to you, the most photogenic city?
Odile Vuillemin: New York of course. But is it really or because we decided so? That is the real question. And I would also add Jodhpur.

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Odile Vuillemin: I’m not really into selfies. For me God is in the details. So I would do a few macros.

Your motto?
Odile Vuillemin: “I was not born for a small corner of the earth, my homeland is the whole world”, a sentence of Seneque on which I have built a lot. It is taken from Letters to Lucilius.

If I could organize your ideal dinner, who would be at the table?
Odile Vuillemin: Katia and Maurice Krafft, Nelson Mandela, Kate Winslet, Thomas Pesquet, Helen Mirren, Seneque, Claude Levy-Strauss and Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Odile Vuillemin: A black hole.

What is missing in today’s world?
Odile Vuillemin: Re-humanization, benevolence, a reconnection to nature and real life to make sense of things. “Let the Earth take care of us”, as the saying goes

If you had to start all over again?
Odile Vuillemin: I wouldn’t change much actually. But I would perhaps work a little more on my self-confidence.

Your last word?
Odile Vuillemin: Thank you!

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