Q&A: Estelle Hanania — It’s Alive


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? I’d rather meditate than philosophize but I do none of them. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? I have a 7-year-old son who hates phones and computers, he’s giving me rules for the usage of my phone. Basically I think we’ve gone so far with this addiction and egocentricity that we might disgust future generations, that’s my hope. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Yes! I watched myself in the mirror this morning and I was pretty sure it wasn’t me. What is it that interests you about photography? Immediacy. What is the worst thing about city life? Being late. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Ah these days I tend to calm myself with travelling ideas, it seems irrelevant to want to travel the world non-stop while the planet is collapsing. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? I have this A4 sheet of paper at home on which is poorly printed a black and white pattern. When I face this pattern and stare at him long enough it becomes 3D, and I can read the word « Strasbourg », can you believe it! to me, that’s the most supernatural thing I’ve seen and it’s just an orthoptist exercise I’ve been given for my headaches. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? I’ve always been out of any kind of group and far away from leaders especially. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Vulcanologist. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I can’t tell specifically but this happens a lot in my dreams (nightmares). Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Naive painter. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. I can’t tell what Important means really when it comes to a photograph. Any testimony of unbelievable things maybe. How often do you take other people’s advice? Depends on what matter…but I’m very open to peoples advice when I trust the person’s vision, honesty, and kindness. Describe a personal hell. It’s 4 pm and I‘m suddenly asked to send a mood board for a shoot, send a huge/urgent we transfer with my poor connection, scroll through a package of 25 models, answer 10 urgent emails, have a conference call in 5 minutes and pick up my son at school in half an hour. There is something weird I have noticed, people are quite calm work-wise until it gets to 4 pm, and then it’s non stop urgent requests until 8 pm…. Which living person do you most admire? My son for admiring me so much. On what occasion do you lie? As little as I can, or by omission, that’s my philosophy. What was the last crime you witnessed? My son stepping on a mushroom to see the brown powder coming out of it. What is the best way to educate yourself? listen to a radio show called « les pieds sur terre » so I know better my fellow humans. What is the next book you want to read? It is a Maya Angelou book, « I know why the caged bird sings » my fourth book by an author I love. Ultimate camera? Medium format camera that weighs nothing, is invisible, silent, and captures what my eyes want to capture. Most used camera? Mamiya RZ and Mamiya 645. What object do you want? A huge samovar. What object do you need? Sunglasses. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950s? It’s going to fill up your brain but also destroy it slowly. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Nope. Describe a cheap thrill. Any new brief coming in for a shoot. Pick a historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. I wish I could have photographed the set of a Terry Gilliam movie in the ’80s. Are impulses more important than consequences? Impulses are good and we should trust them sometimes, as they say something about you, but be careful that they don’t destroy you. Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to be a virtuoso piano player. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? I’ll start a new photo project tomorrow, I’m excited and scared as usual!

IT’S ALIVE! à travers l’oeuvre de Gisèle Vienne, the new book from French photographer Estelle Hanania and published by Shelter Press, gathers over ten years of collaboration and archives revolving around the artistic universe of Gisèle Vienne. A subjective monography on the choreographer’s work, the present book makes for one of Estelle Hanania’s densest cluster of images to date, arraying a collection of photographs that spans from 2008 to 2019.

To see more of Estelle Hanania’s work visit — Website / Instagram.

IT’S ALIVE! is available now through Shelter Press — shelter-press.org