Delphine Warin – 'Photography allows me to live more in the moment'
About Delphine Warin
She studied in France and the US, and much of her work focusses on Morocco.
She is the niece of the photographer Sarah Moon, for whom she worked for several years as an assistant. Her photos have been exhibited at Fnac, le Musée de Sceaux and the Theâtre de Beauvais.
1. You trained in theatre and also studied Russian, but became a professional photographer. Could you tell us how that journey began?
I always felt that I needed another language to express myself.
I have Russian origins on my mother’s side, and in order to explore this part of my family story I studied Russian and went to Moscow to find the house of my ancestors.
One of the things we inherited were some old family photo albums, which I dipped in and out of my whole childhood. They were filled with black-and-white or hand-coloured images like those of Jacques-Henri Lartigue. These photos touched me and I was amazed by what they said. My Russian family, the Wissotzkys, lived among artists (painters, writers, poets...) like the famous painter Yakovlev.
Then I studied theatre; stage-craft particularly interested me. And eventually I came back to photography: I studied first at the American Center in Paris, then continued at the International Center of Photography (New York).
On my father’s side, I was lucky to have my aunt, Sarah Moon, who always encouraged me and accompanied me on my artistic journey. After two years in New York, she offered me a job as her assistant. It was a wonderful experience, and I am very grateful to her.
2. Some of your work, for example the series 'Les infants masqués' is in black-and-white. Other shots are in colour, as is the case with your portraits. How do you make that choice?
For me, black-and-white is more poetic, less real, more timeless, sometimes more dramatic.
That said, when I start a job, I never decide in advance: only by making the images does the decision between colour and black-and-white become clear.
3. Morocco appears large in your work. How does the country inspire you?
I had the opportunity to visit the country for the first time when I was a teenager.
Later, I met my partner in Paris and he suggested that we live for a time in Morocco. So I went back to a country where everything touched me: the people, their humanity, their generosity, the slowness of time, the light, the colours…
And I did my first reportage assignments there: the Feast of the Rose, then Female Brides (which appeared in many Marie Claire International editions), the Barbers etc.
Today I’m working on two new topics: the Sufis in the region of Souss; and the Charcoal Burners.
4. What has photography given you?
Photography allows me to live more in the moment and to grasp what really exists. As Henri Cartier-Bresson said: ‘To photograph is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.’