Body On Me: Artist Interview - Marion May

Body On Me: Artist Interview - Marion May

Marion May is a French fashion designer and photographer working in London. She created her lingerie label in 2013 and Josie magazine in 2014 with Manu Ridocci. She has always been fascinated by the women's charm. She builds her vision or their essence and power through different disciplines as photography and fashion design.

Can you tell us about your work and what you do?

I’m a fashion designer and photographer. I’m making lingerie mainly so I’m really inspired by women, their body, their power, what they represent and their sensuality, their sexuality. I’ve found it really inspiring for me creating lingerie or creating images. I mean, for me everything is related. I’m inspired by women and I just take pictures of what inspires me and what I’ve presented tonight is about bondage. I found it really erotic the fact that [you] give your trust to someone doing that to you. I found it really interesting to photograph. That person I photographed, she is a burlesque dancer and she was tying herself in front of me so she was alone making the bows and I was photographing it. And it was no relation, like, no sexual relation between us at all. The idea was [for] her to show me how to do [it].

What are the pieces you’ve exhibited here tonight?

I founded a magazine which is called Josie magazine and in this magazine I wanted to create a series of pictures about how to tie a bow for the wrists and I wanted that person to show it. So that was a series made for this magazine. That’s why I chose that person because I wanted someone that has this image of dominatrix showing me how to bow the wrists.


Your work is very intimate. How do you tackle the issue of vulnerability in front of the lens?

Whats funny is that for me when I take the picture its like I didnt think about it [laughs].  Basically it was like a game. It was funny. We had fun, we were like kids. It was really nothing about sexuality. We were really having fun. But nothing wasit wasnt intimacy between us, not a sexual intimacy. I was making the bows on her and sometimes I was pulling her hair. You know, this kind of intimacy that is more about, just like, between two people which was nothing related to sexuality but I wanted to show sexuality. Its not my relationship with the model, its gonna be the picture. At that moment I didnt want to show vulnerability. At that moment I wanted to show a woman who was confident about herself and yes, when we were together the relationship we had before taking the picture maybe she was more vulnerable, but then as soon as I wanted to have the picture I didnt want to show that. I wanted her to be confident, I wanted her to trust me so thats why I created a sort of intimacy which was not sexual, which was really like about trusting someone that is going to take a picture of you naked. And actually, if you put sexuality or if you put something that is a bit awkward your model is not going to trust you. That's what I mean by that. 

How do you choose the bodies you work with?

I mean, I don’t really look at the body. When I want to photograph someone I often look at the face of that person. It’s really…what I like about women is not always something that’s gonna be mainstream but I mean, sometimes yes. Sometimes I will really like a girl…depending on the picture I want to make. Sometimes my ideas are gonna be more like someone really tall, really skinny because that picture is gonna need that. Just because someone tall and skinny is gonna be easier to like fold and have a different shape than someone small and bigger. But sometimes someone small and a bit bigger is gonna have the perfect shape for what I’m gonna look for in that picture. So…I mean, in general it’s just depending on the project, it’s not depending on the idea of the body. The body is gonna serve the project at that time.  

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