As a night owl, Louis Dazy’s photographs are drenched in tenebrosity, often reflective of the raw emotion with which they are heavily laden. Often through the medium of multiple-exposure, they resonate with nostalgia, and a kind of unrequited and exposed vulnerability to the world. The contrast between the intimacy of apartment settings, and the blurry anonymity of cityscapes appears frequently, elucidating the feeling of alienation and incongruence that Louis wishes to evoke. Beholding these cinematic images, one finds oneself unexpectedly unsettled as one recognises slivers of one’s own melancholy in a windowpane, doorway, or glimmer of light. I had the opportunity to correspond with Louis to gain a better insight into his creative process, intention, and relationship to his work.
Through the medium of double-exposed film, the people in your work often appear as silhouettes, or ghosts, either hidden or turned submissively away, but always captured intimately. To the viewer, they all feel like fragments of yourself. Do you feel that in some way, these are self-portraits?
When you look at these silhouettes, these ghosts, they’re truly just a part of what I feel like in the moment: it’s always been about me, not them. Most are close friends, lovers, family, but what I see through them is my own reflection, how they see me, what they make me feel, this is what I try to show in my photos. In some way all of my photos are self-portraits, you’re right, even still life photos.
A lot of your images are characterised by dark tones, through which there is a sense of absence or disconnectedness, or perhaps a desire for anonymity and a lonely yearning for something. Is this a reflection of your inner world? If so, do you feel that your photography provides you with a medium through which to communicate thoughts that might not otherwise be understood by society, or the people around you?
I shoot at night because it is the only time of the day that makes me feel creative, like I can actually do something and express what I feel. The dark tones, the disconnectedness, it all comes naturally so I guess it shows what my inner world looks like. Photography provides me with a medium through which I can show feelings and emotions mostly. Thoughts on the other hand are harder to express through photography for me; my mind is a giant mess to be honest, I don’t think much, I just happen to travel through life without really questioning anything. I feel, I’ve got intuition but I don’t think that much, it’s all just flowing, and I don’t have the capacity to analyse and think.
Do you feel that film, once developed, should be edited digitally?
It is really up to the person shooting it. If you’re not satisfied with the result but can edit it then go for it. What’s important is that you’re satisfied with what you do. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as it feels right to you.
Tell me about something in your life — other than art — that influences the images you create.
My childhood has a lot to do with what I create right now, the nostalgia I feel in me, it’s what makes me feel like ‘I should shoot’, it’s an urge to create new things with old feelings. It’s a bit hard to explain but let’s put it this way: it’s like listening to a song you love for the 500th time — you’re getting bored of it, it doesn’t come out as powerfully as it used to anymore. I used to be really really afraid of the dark when I was much younger. My mom bought night lights so I could feel safe at night — the ones you can change colors on — and I used to play a lot with these, putting them at different places in the room, setting up moods and scenes with my toys. I spent lots of time doing this and I guess it helped me find my way into a specific style of lighting, like the ones you can see in my photos!
Do you find that most of the work that you’re proud of comes spontaneously, or is it mostly planned? Are you happy with your photography?
Spontaneously. I’m not much of a planner, I carry my camera with me most of the time and if something looks good or feels right I’ll shoot it. I would say I’m happy with 20% of the photos I post. Most have a meaning to me; some don’t, but they look nice.
Some of your multiple exposures feature people with their eyes covered by words, and in some instances this may be interpreted as a political message. Do you think the importance of your photography lies more in aesthetics, or in the ability to convey a message?
The importance of photography lies in the ability to convey a message. Unfortunately, I’m not really good at conveying messages through my photos, and if I do, I don’t mean to. My [photographs] are mostly aesthetics, they’re just memories, parts of what I feel, what I see. I see them as a photo diary.
What film do you prefer to use? Do you ever shoot digital?
My go-to film at the moment is Lomo 400, I love the tones on this one, especially for night photography. I do [shoot digital] from time to time, usually for commissioned work. I own a Fujifilm X100T.
If you were to summarise your photography, and your relationship to it, in 5 words, what would you say?
Memories, Loss, Dreams, Loneliness & Nostalgia.
See more of Louis Dazy's work here.