I was unaware of Valerie Jardin’s work until my tutor pointed me in the direction of her website:
Valerie is renowned for her street photography, which seems to have taken her all over the world. What I really admire about her work is that it comes across as so effortless. She shoots predominantly in black and white which instantly adds an air of old fashioned glamour. Her shots have great clarity, with no noise, making them appear silky and smooth.
I love that she seems to shoot everyday objects and events – there’s a specific shot of a man with a cigarette in his hand, writing in a cafe while there’s an out of focus coffee cup in the shot – depth is added by focussing beyond the cup, while the cup itself adds an aesthetic element:
There’s also a shot of a man reading his book on a bench. Nowadays people think they need to add some sort of action or interesting subject for a photograph to be interesting and current, but Valerie has proved that this isn’t so. Simplicity, done right, can be as impacting as a bustling crowded street scene. The photo uses the rule of thirds, and has strong lines. The contrast between the white pages of the book and the bench against his black garments really make it stand out.
One of my favourite shots is of a group of nun’s photographing a building on their mobile phones – what a gorgeous concept. It incorporates both old and new – old being the traditional attire and ancient history of their religious beliefs, and new being the up to date technology in which they capture and record their memories.
I had a similar experience when travelling around Asia. While in Thailand I saw a Buddhist Monk carrying a laptop – I was briefly baffled by the contrasting visuals; the traditional robes and barefoot appearance of the monk juxtaposed by the swanky apple laptop under his arm.