Cenitz Studio
Capsule N°01

Cécile Bortoletti

Cécile Bortoletti studied cinema and photography at Paris-VIII. In 1997, she presented her work at the International Festival of Fashion Arts in Hyères. Her work is regularly published in Encens, Elle, Dazed & Confused, Self-service, Purple, Jalouse... For three years, she created promotional campaigns for Issey Miyake, as well as short films.

What is the vision (the common thread, founding concept, or main objective) that you pursue through your work?

I am a photographer; I stage, I create images. Sometimes - just - I have them right in front of me, it's almost instantaneous, and I don't need to do much. Sometimes it's more laborious; we create a setting, add light... I often work in a team, and each person plays their part... Sometimes we end up with things too complicated - it's easy to get lost on a photo set. It is then necessary to go back the other way - removing things one by one... the lights, the objects, the details. Removing everything that can be removed, keeping only the essential. The common thread is an emotion that needs to be abstracted, that needs to be captured again. In my memory, that of childhood, I try to find this emotion. When discovering an image for the first time. Fashion works with images.

Encens Magazine issue 50

Reebok X Hed Mayner Campaign 2023

What cultural or historical roots, or what other disciplines or areas of society do you think have most influenced your profession?

I was born and raised in Paris. I think the city is part of my DNA, perhaps Paris even influenced me the most. How to define Paris? A romantic and revolutionary city at the same time? A city of the past, no doubt. A city full of people in the streets, poor people, rich people, artists. From childhood, it seems to me that surrealism (as an artistic movement) produced antagonisms that questioned me, I felt the city in its image. Poetry, literature, freedom, architecture. All the people who came to Paris to achieve something.

What are the main changes you have observed in your profession over time, and the challenges that could arise in the coming decades? How do they reflect societal and technological transformations?

Digital, and by extension artificial intelligence. To be honest, I am not very interested in it, but I feel that the relationship with images has become impoverished. Images do not weigh much when they have little to do with a cerebral raw material. An artificial image is nonsense; only reality interests me.

Collection issue 2

Is there a book, movie, or piece of art that you think perfectly captures the essence of your profession ?

Regarding photography, I remember very well M. A. Antonioni's 1966 film BLOW UP, which I must have seen quite young, a very striking film. It's the story of a fashion photographer in London in the Swinging Sixties, a very disillusioned, arrogant photographer, in constant abuse of power, as one could say today... who realizes, afterwards, by constantly enlarging a part of the image he made in a park at dawn - that he witnessed a murder. But nothing is given to see from the start. The photo is there, and in a process of zooming, enlarging, revealing (he develops it himself in his lab), he realizes the double reality. A reality more complex, much more difficult to detect because one world hides another. This film is constructed like a metaphysical quest.

Imagine you could create a capsule that would travel through the universe and time, what would you like to put in it?

If I were traveling in a capsule through time, I would take a camera and a polaroid, and I would take the opportunity to go to the now-defunct Kodak counter, rue Poncelet, in the 17th arrondissement, to buy film rolls and polaroids. I would take pictures of another era, for sure!


Encens Magazine issue 50