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The Questionnaire : Sylvie Castioni by Carole Schmitz


Sylvie Castioni : Truth and Freedom

After studying at the University of Visual Arts in Lyon, Sylvie Castioni took her first steps in fashion by working for the international press, in particular for Vogue. Her portraits were soon published in Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Numéro and Glamour…

In 2010, she crossed paths with actress Léa Seydoux. A meeting that proved decisive. Indeed, their series of photos made with little artifice triggered Sylvie’s desire to specialize in intimate portraits of celebrities. The result: images that question the woman and her representation. In her quest for truth and freedom, she seeks to give a deeper and more spiritual dimension to women’s bodies. Sylvie regularly exhibits her work in Paris and New York.

In May 2022 she was co-author of a documentary series of 14 portraits of women film directors “From Shadow to Light” showed on France televisions during the Cannes filmFestival. An adventure that she is repeating this year.

To be continued.


Website :
Instagram : sylviecastioni


Your first photographic trigger?
Sylvie Castioni :I was around 8 – 10 years old, I was an introverted child, I did not like the world around me which I found hostile. I took refuge in my view of this world to feel safe.

The man or woman of image who inspires you ?
Sylvie Castioni : Marylin Monroe, she is the feminine incarnation of a whole patriarchal system that projected its fantasies and expectations on her. She died and today I wonder about the place of the icons and the muses in history. The representations of the female figure are the very heart of my work.

The image that you would have liked to realize ?
Sylvie Castioni : The first photograph in the world “Point of view from the window of the Gras” by Niépce, the inventor of the process.

The one that moved you the most ?
Sylvie Castioni : The one I took of my daughter and her father on the first day of her life. It was 25 years ago.

The one that made you angry?
Sylvie Castioni: The stolen photograph of Princess Diana when the death of her father was announced .

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Sylvie Castioni : I have several : portraits of committed women : Simone de Beauvoir , Jeanne d’arc , Olympe de gouge , George Sand , Lauren Bastide … and I hope one day to have mine !

A photographic memory of your childhood ?
Sylvie Castioni : The cover of Ellen Von Unwerth’s June 1994 photo magazine featuring Eva Erzigova. I was a teenager and I grew up identifying with these women whose beauty I admired. In the 90s the super models invaded the media.

The image that obsesses you?
Sylvie Castioni: An image that we do not look with our eyes but with our heart. The one where we feel a woman’s power, her magic and her accuracy.

Without any budget limit, what would be the work you would dream of acquiring?
Sylvie Castioni : The venus de Milo exposed in the Louvre. It is part of the history of the representation of the female figure. It is on this criteria that many photographic works of women have been inspired in our modern societies.

According to you, what is the necessary quality to be a good photographer?
Sylvie Castioni: The most important quality for me is the receptivity to the invisible, the availability to capture the essence beyond appearances.

The secret of the perfect image, if it exists ?
Sylvie Castioni : An image that touches the unconscious and makes the collective conscience evolve.

The person you would like to photograph ?
Sylvie Castioni: Kim Kardashian. I would like to photograph her without artifice.

An essential photo book?
Sylvie Castioni : “The atlas of Beauty

The camera of your childhood ?
Sylvie Castioni : I used disposable cameras, I come from a modest family. I got my first camera when I was 18 years old and went to university. It was another time when patience was required because to see the processed films we had to wait two weeks.

The one you use today?
Sylvie Castioni : A Canon EOS 5 D mark 4 . I have been a Canon pro for 20 years, it is difficult to change habits.

Your favorite drug ?
Sylvie Castioni : Dancing. Dancing. Dancing.

The best way to disconnect for you ?
Sylvie Castioni : Practicing trans while dancing, it helps me to connect again.

What is your relationship with the image?
Sylvie Castioni : It is paradoxical, photography allows me to reveal the beauty of the world while exploring my shadow zone. It is the disease and the remedy.

Your greatest quality?
Sylvie Castioni: Hope.

Your last folly ?
Sylvie Castioni : I went alone to Japan to discover another culture, I looked for a job there, and for an agent and finally I have been working there regularly for 10 years.

An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Sylvie Castioni : A dinosaur, let’s not forget our condition of simple mortal. We can also disappear.

The job you would not have liked to do ?
Sylvie Castioni : If I think of professional work, the one that makes you earn a living, I would say all those that do not bring joy and pleasure and that are lived in constraint without alignment with its raison d’être. I am very lucky, I chose a job that feeds me on all levels.

Your greatest professional extravagance?
Sylvie Castioni : I am a reasonable person and simplicity and authenticity are at the heart of my approach. My extravagance lies in the fact that I allow myself not to have any.

What are the differences between photography and art photography?
Sylvie Castioni : Photography becomes art when it delivers a profound message, when it is committed to advancing humanity. Art includes human works intended to touch the senses and emotions of the public. Since for me all photographs tell something and touch a place, they are all art.

Which city, country or culture do you dream of discovering?
Sylvie Castioni : I dream of discovering Peru, and of climbing Machu Pitchu. My childhood was marked by the cartoon ” The Cities of Gold “. The  ancient civilisations that disappeared  fascinate me .

The place of which you never get tired ?
Sylvie Castioni : The arms of my lover.

Your biggest regret?
Sylvie Castioni : I regret not having super powers and being immortal in order to enjoy the true meeting between men and women which for me has not yet taken place. We live in a society where gender inequality still exists and when that happens I’ll probably be dead.

In terms of social networks, are you rather Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Twitter?
Sylvie Castioni: Snapchat what for? Instagram is the only one I master! And I already spend enough time on it not to add other constraints.

Color or B&W?
Sylvie Castioni : B&W without hesitation.

Daylight or artificial light ?
Sylvie Castioni: It doesn’t matter as long as there is only one light source identical to the sun.

What do you think is the most photogenic city?
Sylvie Castioni : There are several, Pompei the city buried by the volcano eruption or all those disappeared! Heracleion city of Egypt swallowed by water. Finally all those disappeared!

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Sylvie Castioni: I would ask him to pose for me. I’ve always been looking for him in my work and I feel like I know him but I’ve never been able to solve his mystery.

If I could organize your ideal dinner, who would be at the table?
Sylvie Castioni: All the inspiring and inspired women around me.

The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Sylvie Castioni: The new SpaceX rocket

What is missing in today’s world?
Sylvie Castioni: The respect of the living which is not compatible with the current capitalist society.

If you had to start all over again?
Sylvie Castioni: I would do the same life path with the same trials. Each experience, as difficult as it is, allows us to grow and to find our way.

The last word ?
Sylvie Castioni : There is no end or beginning, everything is in perpetual motion. It is the flow of life ….

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