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Become a fan  -  Fashion

Pierre-Ange Carlotti: plugging into the parisian underground.


Pierre-Ange Carlotti has become an integral part of the underground Parisian fashion scene. The photographer - who counts Simon Porte Jacquemus, Clara Deshayes, Lotta Volkova and Agathe Mougin as personal friends (he’s also visually documented them all too) - has developed a keen eye for capturing the new energy of the creative zeitgeist in the City of Light.

His knack for exploring the fascinating reality around him traces the alternative and unusual, the sexually provocative and the hedonistic boldness of youth, where people dare to be themselves without boundaries. Capturing the unscripted moments of life as it happens has made him the go-to portrait photographer, with work appearing in zines such as Purple and Ponytail; he’s also released a 2015 calendar and presented an exhibition of his work entitled ‘Bored and Naked’.

From his Corsican roots to making his mark shooting the social jungle in Paris, in a stylised collision of youth icons, music and fashion, we caught up with him to talk falling in love from behind the lens, aspirations to work with Rihanna, and why he associates the Eiffel Tower with a penis.


Hello, how does it feel to be Pierre-Ange Carlotti today?

Blurry, it’s 8:00 am.

You’re based in Paris now, but originally from Corsica - why did you decide to move there and what was the scene like when you arrived?

I was sixteen at the time and I was obsessed by the idea of leaving, I was craving something new. I knew it would be Paris for me when I first started to come here on weekends and hang in the city.

When I arrived in 2007 there was a scene already present, I remember this club called ‘Paris Paris’ on Avenue de l’opéra - there were a lot of parties, concerts, I saw MGMT and Soulwax playing there, but at that time I think we were too young to get on this wave. I was arriving from my island, not very shy, all I wanted to do was explore and I learned a lot by going out at night. At 18 you still have to figure out exactly who you are.

Describe home in Paris to me?

At the moment it’s a big mess full of boxes and you can not easily get access to my desk! There is a Peter de Potter signed poster taped on the wall which says, ‘You only fall in love with pictures.’

And do you… fall in love with pictures?

I think I’ve been in love with every person I took a picture of.

Are you a collector of art and photography…or anything else?

I would love to be the owner of a collection but I am definitely not. I always start and then I give up. I did it with books of Marguerite Duras, with all sorts of DVDs, boxes of matches… but I don’t have enough of anything to say I’m collecting it.

So what is a typical day in the life of Pierre-Ange?

I don’t have a typical day, I’m very bad at scheduling my life. The only good part of this is that routine is a stranger to me.

What about a typical night then? Where is the real pulsing heartbeat of Paris?

Well I would I call a friend, he or she is in the mood, we meet up wherever and we go where the music could be good. There is no club in Paris where you can end up and be sure to have fun.

“There is no club in Paris where you can end up and be sure to have fun.”

And what would you be wearing on that night out?

Bomber, T-shirt, Jeans, Boots. Often all black. Uniform. I don’t spend time looking at myself dressed, I always dress the same.

Talking of fashion, there’s a lot of fresh design blood in Paris now - who do you think is really making their presence felt?

I feel close to Vêtements and Jacquemus. I think before Simon, Paris was dead, nothing new was coming up, people were blocked and they didn’t give a shit about anything that was young. Jacquemus opened the doors to a fresh wind and somehow I think he gave people energy or the balls to go and show what they are doing.

Vêtements has also had a big effect on the fashion world today because what they are doing is true. I think they are doing something close to them and that’s why people react to it, they want to be close too. I love what they are doing, it’s something I really believe in.

“Before Simon (Jacquemus), Paris was dead, people didn’t give a shit about anything that was young.”

And Vetements is a label you’ve collaborated with?

Well, I had the chance to shoot their upcoming lookbook, it was something very important for me because it was the first time someone gave me the opportunity to represent their image officially. Also it was the first time I was shooting fashion without thinking about fashion. They believed in me as I believed in them.

You’ve also worked (and are friends with), Jacquemus and Clara Deshayes, both of whom are setting Paris on fire creatively - who else do you hang out with in the Parisian social jungle?

Lotta Volkova Adam and Paul Hameline. They have great dance moves and really good taste in music!

It’s interesting that your work explores the youthful, anarchic energy of underground Paris, where you also hang out - how do you find and select your subjects, what’s your approach?

I think I need to be attracted to the people I take pictures of. I never take a photo of someone I don’t find beautiful. So it’s subjective, I don’t have a norm of beauty, I only need to have a crush on my subject.

And Paris is of course the City of Love - if you were to shoot your own postcard to visualise that statement, how would you interpret it?

In my mind I always associate the Eiffel Tower with a penis, I think it’s very phallic. So I guess my postcard would not be for sale along the river!

What about the weirdest place you’ve ever photographed anyone?

It’s not about the place but more about the subjects. I took pictures for a gay sex party a month ago - I learned a lot about myself, that I can blush when I take pictures of someone with a butt plug in.

Well that’s kind of a personal moment really isn’t it?! So what else makes you curious generally in life?

Some people, but not people in general.

What about the Instagram generation - as a curated space, do you often look there for inspiration beyond the rules?

Well first of all, those rules on Instagram… when you’re not free to post boobs or ass or something that includes nudity, there is no freedom on that app. But I think as a lot of people use it, I’m kind of addicted to it. I scroll when I’m waiting, I scroll when I’m bored, I post kind of regularly. But I don’t look for inspiration on Instagram, I look for hot characters.

“Instagram: when you’re not free to post boobs or ass or something that includes nudity, there is no freedom on that app.”

So it doesn’t influence your approach to photography, say for example, in terms of documenting street life?

Not at all, but if I have to think about the relating point between my work and that kind of platform, I realise that if you look at my Instagram account, I don’t share much work but more moments - people I’m with or snaps from the last party I was at. That must be the main point in common with my approach to photography, it’s documentation. Maybe Instagram is the diary of my documentation.

And who would you love to document next?

Rihanna. I would love to shoot Rihanna, maybe on a weekend away with her. Definitely Rihanna!

You’ve also presented your work in exhibitions and released a calendar this year too - what other projects are you working on now?

I’m really attached to putting an exhibition together, maybe because that’s how I started to publish pictures, but also because I feel free when I do it, I don’t have to respect any codes or make someone else other than myself happy. The next exhibition will take place in Paris. I’m also working on editions at the moment, I’m planning to edit fanzines for early 2016.

Tell me something we don’t know about you?

I burned the wheels on trucks a few times in front of my high school. I was always into strikes and against school.

You rebel! And finally, tell us a secret about underground Paris that nobody knows?

We are all Virgins. Never been in a bed with… !!



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