While enrolled as a visual arts student at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels she slowly refined her passion for the imagery of the human body. Her years as a photography student saw her experimenting with different dancers & models, slowly developing her own unique photographic reality. She started shooting with unique characters that fascinated her, for music bands with a personality, photos for record sleeves and as a visual director for video clips. Aside from her shoots with brands like Ann Demeulemeester, Cartier, Delvaux, Samsung, multiple awards and nominations for her work as a video director, Marie Wynants most importantly became critically acclaimed with her iconic pictures for Oscar & The Wolf’ Max Colombie.
I’m not a very conceptual artist. I start from a very visual point. When I’m preparing a new shoot, I first think in colors or atmospheres. I get my fascination out of movies or people. Everything is about preparation for me. I spend a lot of time in castings, locations, finding the right stylist or make-up artist.
I kind of know beforehand how my picture will look like, but of course, you keep room for surprises. On set I’m very focused. It’s like, I make sure I have done my grocery shopping right, all the best ingredients are there, but when I start cooking I always play around a bit. You kind of want accidents or lucky shots to happen on set.
When we start shooting it’s a sort of challenging game between the model and me, I like to work with models I know so I can estimate how far I can drive them. I really take over their bodies. 90% of the time they are sore the next day because I bend them in every possible way.
I direct a lot on set. For me, it’s kind of logical, because I’m the only one who looks through the camera and I need to make that picture. I work in an intuitive way and try to create a sort of universe for the model and me.
You won’t see many pictures without models in my work. A building, landscape, interior… only becomes interesting for me once in combination with a human form. I try to link the bodies to the location and try to start a dialogue between them.
I also work a lot with movement. Many of my models are dancers. They know how their bodies look like, know how to move it and we can work quite quickly because we speak the same language, but it’s important to know that, although I work a lot with models, my pictures are not about the people in it. I don’t shoot their persona, I shoot their bodies.
What often happens is that I tend to make an abstraction of the model in front of me. You don’t see many faces in my pictures, I often hide them. Or I shift focus so the face becomes blurry. Faces show emotions, your eyes will directly be drowned towards the face, that’s how the human mind works.
We scan the face and we think we know what is happening because of the emotion of the face. And that’s also how photography works, we think we see a lot and we think it’s true, but it’s not, it’s an illusion. Maybe that’s why I hide a face. When you only see a body, it becomes more universal.
It’s more about humanity then.
The facial expression guides the interpretation of the viewer and I don’t like that. When you only see the body, it’s harder to feel what it expresses. And art is all about interpretation.
I love creating weird shapes and make a sort of sculpture of the body. Without the face, you get an abstraction of the body and it gets a new personality. Bending it in different directions so it becomes something strange or peculiar. That’s also why I love to work with female bodies. The female form is so elegant, erotic, and graceful. It inspires me more than anything in the world.
I quickly fell in love with FUJIFILM.
For me, photography is a very swift medium, therefore I needed a camera that is light and playful. I need to be able to work very efficiently and discretely. For this story, I wanted to create something raw and pure. Flesh versus nature. I added a good dose of grain to the images to get that hazy feel and look. Because of FUJIFILM’S variety in lenses and equipment, I was able to create the vibe I was aiming for. For this series, I shot with both prime and zoom lenses depending on what the picture needed.
My favorite lenses were the XF56mmF1.2 R and the XF10-24mmF4 R OIS. The XF56mmF1.2 R is one of the richest, most pleasing lenses I’ve worked with in my career. Even when you shoot wide open, it’s super sharp. And the bokeh is so creamy!
It took me some time to get used to this lens because when you shoot wide open, the slightest miss on your focus leads to images destined for the trash bin. You must be very careful with your technique, but once you master it the lens gives your pictures so much character. This lens, with his impressive optics, is a perfect solution for portraits and definitely one of the best prime, portrait lenses on the market.
I also love the tactile aspect of the FUJIFILM X-S10 camera and most importantly the look and feel of the Pro Neg Std film simulation. No need to extra edit my pictures. The outcome of the shoot was exactly what I was hoping for.
Thx to FUJIFILM.