Described as cinematographic and dramatic in a portfolio review in New York in 2010, Christèle’s imagery expresses her belief in our capability to change our reality.
Born in Avignon, the famous city of Popes in touristic Provence (France) in 1971, she spent her childhood in Valliguières, a village of 80 inhabitants in the countryside. Despite her love for nature, she mastered escaping from reality through the fabulous lands she reached and intense emotions she felt through books.
In the late 1990s, she moved to Montpellier to work as an executive assistant for a forestry consultancy and eventually discovered art. She remembers these years: “Art opened to me the doors of the unknown as books did and it fascinated me as much as the reading of consulting reports of overseas operations in tropical Africa in my daily job.”
Hearing the call to discover these new worlds by herself, she expatriated to the warm Mediterranean climate of Murcia (Spain) in 2000 when she was offered a sales position in fragrances to travel extensively throughout Africa. She then embarked in an exploring journey through sub-Saharan Africa first, and later Latin and Central America, Europe, Asia and Middle East. She describes this experience as life changing: “There was a before and after discovering all these realities and meeting all these incredible people. When you are out of your comfort zone, you eventually learn a lot about yourself.”
In the course of her activities, she gradually imagined tools to inspire her customers with ideas and stories to spark their imagination for product development. The original idea, successful with her customers, was then structured into a marketing department in 2005 when she was appointed Marketing Manager. She took the challenge to start from scratch a totally new service. She analyses: “Change is always seen as a threat. The resistance to the new department was very high inside the company. Despite the challenging situation, I realised that I really loved to put my creativity at the service of customers. However, I would not describe myself as a creative person at that time. This notion was too abstract for me.”
The stories she invented put her in daily contact with photography and she eventually started studying it in 2008 to quench her thirst for knowledge. She says: “Discovering my masters and learning the universal language of photography to share my vision of the world was really a thrilling experience”.
After negotiating her full-time marketing position to part-time, she ventured as a professional photographer in 2009. She remembers: “Working for yourself challenges you a lot about your capability to succeed. Hard work is not enough; you need to believe in yourself. Retrospectively I realise that my lack of confidence and preparation were the main reasons of my failure however I learned a lot on the way.”
In 2014, she was offered to reintegrate her full-time position. She says: “The decision of coming-back and to leave photography was not easy. However it eventually put an end to a certain sense of precariousness, it had an unexpected side effect, I did not touch the camera for a year. My world was upside down, but this sabbatical year made me realise photography was as important as breathing for me."
Today, a few years later, she has walked steadily towards the comprehension of her mission as a photographer and here she is in front of you to share her vision of the world.