Colbert is a screenwriter turned photographer. Her visual work has strong references to movie stills, and storytelling is an essential ingredient. The visuals are most often shot in series, creating a narrative that is sometimes surreal and a bit scary, though always aesthetically beautiful, a timeless imagery with hidden philosophical messages that question the universe and life itself, often in correlation. In short, the world of Colbert consists of scripts waiting to be read.
MM: How and when did you start shooting?
CC: I've always taken photographs. The first photographs I took were in my head. I remember staring at a scene and trying to tie all its details down to memory, closing my eyes at the end of it to seal the image in my head. Then came those throwaway film cameras made out of cardboard. Much more reliable.
MM: Working on your photography productions, how does a normal work day look for you?
CC: It really depends. If I am working on a script it will start early with copious amounts of coffee, an oversized pair of spectacles and as much goodwill as possible to face the blank page. It ends with desperation and a sore bum. If on a film shoot, probably a very early start with a bacon roll, followed by a lot of running around. And on a photography shoot, rummaging through dusty ruins, avoiding collapsing walls and surrounded by an array of strange props and rolls of film.
MM: What can you tell me about your series In and Out of Space?
CC: In and Out of Space was done to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s death for the occasion of Frieze Art Fair in 2014. I chose the character of the astronaut, reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey but also of Kubrick himself, and decided to send her into our own past, into our history. The astronaut, an iconic reference to exploration, the overcoming of nature, the constant attempt to push back the boundaries of our condition, wanders here, alone, lost and swallowed by the ruins of time, through the large, gilded and decrepit rooms of the infamous In and Out Club at Piccadilly.
MM: How does you screenwriting affect your photography?
CC: It makes me approach it narratively, as a storyteller. The themes also tend to feed into each other.
MM: Who is your all-time favourite photographer? CC: It changes. At the moment I'm loving Claude Cahun.
MM: Anyone in particular that you’d like to shoot?
CC: Someone pregnant with sextuplets. Out of amazement.
Charlotte is now nine months pregnant with her first child and tells me that while seven months pregnant she directed a 20-minute film called The Silent Man that starred Sophie Kennedy Clark (Philomena, Nymphomaniac), Simon Amstell (Nevermind the Buzzcocks, Grandma's House), Ben Miller (Johnny English), and a surreal cameo by Cillian Murphy. The film has been supported by Gazelli Art House and Quad films (Intouchables) and will be shown at festivals and in galleries internationally in 2016.
MM: Is London a city of inspiration? What do you do, and where do you go for inspiration?
CC: London is the city you never stop discovering. It's so big and mysterious and ever-changing.
MM: What are you doing in 2016?
CC: Hopefully living surreal, exciting, random and beautiful adventures.