Laurence Philomene is a photographer and curator from Montreal, Canada – using their work to explore the power balances and intersections between the feminine and masculine. After studying professional photography at Dawson college in Montreal, Laurence decided to go back and study history and anthropology which ignited their passion to explore gendered codes and the ideologies of identity. Read our interview with Laurence below…
Wildabout: Thanks for joining us Laurence! Your work is so discursive, but what would you say your personal mission is?
Laurence Philomene: As a photographer, my mission is to follow my intuition in expressing myself. In life and as a curator, my mission is to push the femme agenda in queer spaces, and to promote the work of women & non-binary artists, to bring people together.
WA: There is so much discussion at the moment surrounding feminism and the words defining terms. How would you describe feminism?
LP: Right now I think feminism is about making space for different voices, it’s about inclusivity.
WA: We agree, feminism should be about intersectionality and inclusivity. How would you describe gender and its relation to your work?
LP: I would not describe gender. I think a lot of people come to me thinking I’m trying to define boy, girl, feminine, masculine – but all those things are social constructs and all I can do is show my own perspective as a queer woman. But I always try to stay away from defining manhood and womanhood as universal experiences.
WA: What do you hope your art will provide people? What does it provide you with, how do you use your medium personally?
LP: I make work for myself and my friends, and for anyone who needs a bit of colour in their life. All I hope is to create images that are visually soothing. I make art when I’m overwhelmed and need a release. But art is also my job so I’m always working on projects no matter what, I spend most of my days either at the computer or taking photos.
WA: sounds like a great way to spend your time! So how do you seek inspiration for your vision?
LP: Looking at what work my friends are creating…these days mostly I just look at how colours interact with one another. textures. Most of my inspiration for specific series comes from thinking about what matters to me in that moment in time, and how I can represent that visually.
WA: Finally, if you could change one thing about the world, what would you change and why?
LP: This is formulated like a pageant question and I love it. Probably capitalism, but I don’t think I have the power to ever change that by myself. If I can make someone feel peaceful and calm for a minute that’s all I can ask for.
THANK YOU LAURENCE