Lise Sarfati (1958-) lives and works between Paris and the United States. As a child she lived in Nice in the south of France and began taking photographs at the age of 13 of old ladies in their apartments and on the Promenade des Anglais. To begin with she taught herself photography learning from books published by Robert Delpire. She went on to study Russian at the Sorbonne in Paris and following her Masters Degree she decided to spend ten years documenting the history of the Soviet Union, Russia and its subsequent collapse.
Since 2003 Lise Sarfati has worked in the US. A road trip across the States in 2003 became The New Life (published by Twin Palms in 2005) in which she photographed young people in their own environments in a variety of small towns throughout America. She also conceived and produced a fashion magazine, Austin Texas, in 2008 in which she used ordinary girls in Austin as models or “characters” and photographed them in their usual surroundings.
Sarfati is currently focused on presenting SHE to a wider audience. Created between 2005 and 2009, it focuses on two pairs of sisters of the same family, but of different generations, living in Oakland, California. The banality of the settings Sarfati chooses, ordinary living rooms, shops and streets, gives each image a vivid psychological intensity. The composition is kept simple, constructed without effects, though each image is suffused with rich colour and atmospheric light. But the defining characteristic of this work is in the choice of the women she has photographed: they speak of a second America, of the underground and of antiheroes.
SHE will be at Brancolini Grimaldi from 3rd February until 17th March 2012.
What's the greatest picture you didn’t take?
The series by Michael Schmidt of Berlin-Kreuzberg Stadtbilder 1984, specially the first one which is untitled.
Which photographer would you most like to (a) work with and (b) talent spot?
I work alone. It is difficult to share a vision as there should be only one vision for one work.
What keeps you awake at night?
Working on my upcoming book just days before going to press.
If you hadn't have become a photographer what would you have like to have been?
Do you have a life philosophy?
Having a vision.
How do you germinate ideas for your work?
Projecting myself in the outside world.
You in three words
Poetry. Passion. Beauty.
What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?
Keep your freedom.
SHE, a monograph published by Twin Palms with a text by Quentin Bajac, will be released in Spring 2012
Photo and text from The Telegraph