Images from my first solitary trip to Italy, on the coast of La Compagnie. In these photos, young people and old people rub shoulders, all letting their bodies go, shamelessly, under the Italian sun.
My name is Léna Mezlef, I am 22 years old and I am based in Paris, France. I learned and I still learn photography by working as a set assistant in a Parisian fashion photo studio (Studio Zéro), then by being a light assistant for freelance fashion photographers. These are great schools! I recommend. I have been published in different magazines for editorials: Sicky Magazine 2022, MetalHead Magazine 2021, A Part Publications Magazine 2021, Pap Magazine 2020, Keyi Magazine 2020, Gmaro Magazine 2020. In 2020 I had the pleasure of making the cover album cover of STAV from the Excuse My French label. I received honorable mention in the Monochrome Photography Awards 2021 competition.
I started photography no doubt thanks to people sensitive to photography who gravitated around me from childhood: I think of my mother who always took pictures of us with my brothers and sisters (I remember recovering the films in the laboratory with her) and taught me some basics of framing, my aunt Armelle, friends of my father photographers... It's very cliché, the photographer who nostalgically evokes her first camera obtained as a child, but I remember very clearly when I received this little blue compact at Christmas from my father's work trustee; I believe that this moment was decisive. Then I took photos throughout my childhood and adolescence, making all my friends muses for a day. Looking back on it, it was very beautiful and intimate moments: they allowed me to see deep within themselves, me evolving in my practice. Then, being deeply bored during my business studies, I really felt this force that pushed me to make photography my life. To tell you the truth, a very positive card draw gave me the strength to abandon my life of that time and go to Paris with my backpack ready to lead the life of an artist like a mountebank. I met an art buyer there who told me about photo studios and photographic assistantship. I opened this door and today I have the chance to assist fashion photographers that I admire, to learn alongside them (I am thinking of Gilad Sasporta and Virgile Guinard for example). My view of photography has taken a giant leap since then. Life has led me to be an unqualified person with a job that fulfills me every day. Recently, a curator told me that, in her opinion, I was in an embryonic phase in my photographic work. I really liked this metaphor: that despite all the work already accomplished and the path traveled, I am only at the beginning, that I still have everything to see, do and live.
In a contemporary style, my images represent our time, the new generation, while mixing a strong obsession with the past. The relationship to the body, youth, old age and love are recurring subjects in my work. I want to crown everyday life, the energy of life, seeing beauty everywhere, all the time, even at the bottom of an ashtray.
Every moment has its magic and we often forget it. Freezing these moments for eternity reassures me a lot. I master a little more the past, the present and the future. I believe this practice helps me survive the anxiety of today's world. Art is therapy: it's boats,
I didn't invent it, but I realized how true it was!
I made this photo series very spontaneously during my trip to Italy. I had not planned to take photos on a particular theme. I appreciated the fact of only taking pictures of life on the coast of Naples, not looking for a subject in advance. Just click at the right time. Capturing the intimacy of the beaches, between these foreign and naked bodies that cross each other without necessarily looking at each other, simply letting their bodies go without shame under the Italian sun. This is my first “street photo” series, and it gives me a lot of heat when I look at it.
L’argent, le sexe et le pouvoir.
Money, sex and power.
Je suis active sur Instagram : @lena.mezlef
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