CHAR­LOT­TE COLBERT

Odalisque - - Contents -

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.

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