Elene Usdin’s "fair-etale" images were awarded Gold in Fashion: Chapter 3’s series category. She explains that the idea behind the series was injecting some magic in our real world which is so governed by new technology. “The idea was to play and create a funny and original series,” she says. “So, as I often do for my photos, I created objects by thinking about transforming reality and making it more crazy (as with the bathroom with a thousand plugs instead of the water, and the screen TV looking like a swimming pool).
“Even with a fashion series, I love to play with ideas. We shot the series in February 2009 for a new French magazine called “Amusement”. The shoot was done in one day at the Hotel Particulier de Montmartre in Paris. The stylist was great: he worked with both pret a porter and haute couture, playing with colour and fun accessories.”
After studying at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, Elene worked as an illustrator and painter, turning to photography in 2003. She won the PICTO fashion prize and started to work in fashion, seeing this as “a way to show beauty in a picture, but also keeping in mind the importance of telling stories, and playing.”
The commission which gave her the winning series remains one of her favourites. “It was very free and fun - working with Art Director Abdel Bounane and Alice Litscher made it a great experience.
“Another favourite was the series I shot for Madame Figaro and Burberry which took place in a forest - we put a lot of furniture along the woods, and it was very funny. I also really enjoyed the fashion series I shot for Milk magazine - all the models were children and they were great to work with. Recently I shot a commission for Sleek magazine. It took place in a beautiful house in the countyside of Paris, and some friends came with me - we all stayed together in the house and had a fantastic time!”
Nowadays, Elene does illustrations for magazines and photography for fashion and personal projects. This month sees her in New York, after which she’ll start working on a new series for Sleek magazine and preparing for a September exhibition with Henrike Stahl. An eclectic creative, she says she’d love to do a lot of different things, like knitting or creating objects for her pictures. “I love to create the set for my photos,” she explains. “I'm looking for galleries in London and New York to show the series "Extended Life" I shot which used pac-man and space invaders for the set. This was a personal project but with an application in fashion. I love working that way: creating fun and magic so that a fashion series shows more than just the clothes.”
Photography caption: far-etale / fashion series for amusement magazine / paris / 2009 / stylist clothes : sebastien goedfert / hair dresser and make up : celine exbrayat / model : calina c/o elite paris.