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Interview with Photographic Artist Romy Alizée

The following content contains imagery of a sexual nature
Can you introduce yourself and what you do in one small paragraph?

I’m Romy Alizée, I live in Paris where I work mostly as a photographer but I’m also doing performance, writing, directing and I am also a former sex worker (right now I only do porn from time to time, last one was with director Erika Lust). In my free time, I like to hike and read!

Can you name three artists who have inspired you? 

Many feminist performance artists have been an inspiration to me like Carolee Schneemann, but also Annie Sprinkle or the photographer Nan Goldin. In contemporary art, I like the work of French artist Smith. John Waters and Chantal Akerman are also directors I love. 

How would you define your work?

It’s hard to define it, I don’t feel like I’m the right person to do it, what I can say is that it’s a life-long project, meaning, it’s deeply connected to my life and experiences. I am an autodidact so I began creating out of necessity to express my feelings on topics such as sexuality, representations of desire, pornography, emancipation…

Why do you think lesbian/dyke/trans visibility is often lacking in mainstream representations?

Probably because it takes time and needs the support of people who have access to “mainstream” spaces… Only then will more authentic representations have their own place in the art world. But it’s always just a few privileged people who can get access to that. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we are moving in a good direction. 

Is self-portraiture something you’ve explored in your work?

It’s the essence of my work. I used to be an erotic model for male photographers, so the moment I realized I had the power to create my own images, I had to turn the lens on myself. Since then, my body and my image have been powerful tools. It’s important to think about how we judge women who use their bodies in their work and art. Personally, it allows me a great deal of freedom and autonomy. Of course, I also enjoy it. I study acting, I like to play roles and push my own limits of “what I can show of myself” on camera. I like the idea of being outrageous, to question the idea of being a “respectable” artist. 

Can you tell us about the project you are the most proud of?

My three last series have come together to form one project, with the first “Furie”, directly connected to the last one “Things I imagined”, and through the years I also world on portraying my friends, colleagues, activists in “Just us”. I see my work as a whole project, which tells a story about my evolution as an artist. From comical and provocative pictures of “furniture man”, I went to pictures depicting lesbians scenes, or more symbolic photos. Recently I also did a series during an art residency about love and absence, through objects I brought from my daily life with my girlfriend. The ending piece is me, introducing a photo of her and me, in my vagina. It was a great opportunity to explore my insecurities and my fetishism around love relics.

What are your hopes for your work moving forward?

I am working on a new project about mountains, which means a very challenging way of photographing. The idea of depicting an erotic mountain, connected to my body is what I have in mind. I love being in the mountains, I love hiking and how it affects my body, to sweat and walk so long without a purpose, apart from reaching a summit. I feel it’s a very sensual activity, and it challenges my lifelong vertigo. The more I am attracted to emptiness, the more alive I feel. I’ll see where this project takes me!

To see more of Romy’s work, click on the links below: