[Originally posted on February 2009]
Ami Sioux is a photographer originally from California. She established her work in New York circa 1995 and now lives and works in Paris. She is currently working on her next book project, entitled PARIS 48°50N 2°23E, which is slated to be released in Fall 2009. She’s a regular contributor to i-D Magazine, Self Service, Nylon, Dazed & Confused and she has worked for Nike, Cerruti, April 77, Le Coq Sportif and many other well known brands.
Was it always your dream to pursue a career as a photographer?
Yes, I built my first darkroom in my parents house when I was 15 over the washer and dryer. I studied photography for my entire high school years, and then on into college at the San Francisco Art Institute. I suppose my dream of becoming a photographer was the driving force behind most of my adolescence and what made me so determined to get to New York to make it happen.
You’re from California and you have lived for several years in NYC before moving to Paris: what are the main differences between these cities?
In my experience, California is about creating and living the dream. New York is about business and Paris is entirely based on social introductions.
What are your favorite places in Paris that you’d recommend to visit?
Jardin des Plantes in the spring, Le Grande Mosquee on a rainy day, the park in Buttes Chaumont when it’s hot outside, Maison European de la Photographie and Jeu de Paume for books and then to Cafe Marly on a sunny day to sit in the sun and watch tourists.
What is the most interesting place you’ve ever travelled to? Why?
The entire coast of California along highway 1, from San Francisco to Oregon, and also from San Francisco south to Big Sur. Why? Because of so much of my personal history that was made there.
Who is your role model? Or the most interesting woman you met?
Ines Van Lamsweerde, for her passion, her beauty, and her intensity as a woman and a photographer. For the most interesting woman I have met, It was my grandmother, Hank Turk.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From the life I have led so far, from the women I look up to, from Yves Saint Laurent and his vision of women, from my partner Etienne, from my past stories, from older photographers from light itself and how it changes everything.
What kind of camera do you usually use? Do have any prejudice towards the digital fashion photography?
Yashica 35mm cameras and a Fujifilm 120 camera… I shoot digitally now for all my commercial work. I don’t have a predjudice, but I feel very strongly that what’s important about photography is the access to the medium which is the question with digital. Photography has always been a very expensive career/job. You spend all of your money on film and developing. There are some of us – myself included – who have dialed in a certain way of working that allows us to shoot editorially and be able to afford it financially. This is about having a very special relationship to your banker and the owner of the lab you work with. I feel that there is tremendous potential in digital, but that is wherein, for me, the importance lies within the retouching process, the “printing” process of the digital “negative”. Unfortunately, excellent retouching, is something that is out of reach for a lot of beginning photographers, which for me is problematic. Thats why point and shoot cameras in the hands of children will always interest me most, for the naivité, and how the accidents of light and film create images you could have never “created” and the digital “negative” that has been retouched to perfection distances me. That said, there are many photographers I look up to, who have made the switch to digital in their editorial work, and have a team of incredible retouchers, and you cannot see the difference anymore between film and digital. This is fascinating, but way beyond the reach of most photographers unless they themself have mastered the retouching/pre-press process, as retouching is astonishingly expensive.
Is there a medium / technique that you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to experiment in the future?
I think in the future I will try to make short films.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured/ interviewed here?
Inez van Lamsweerde.
Is there anything in particular you would like us to mention?
Each day has something to dream for.