At the crossroads of fashion and documentary image, Jessica Antola photographs fabrics, but above all people. She builds a relationship of trust with them and, in return, her models offer her a small window open to their lives.

You first work in the photo industry of fashion. Your love for how people express themselves, through clothes especially, is very important in your work. How does your first step in this industry helped you create more personal project like “Africa” and “Mother” ?

I have always loved fashion and travel and the connection between these two worlds. I began my photo career in Paris where I shot backstage at the couture and pret a porter shows. I also loved buying fabrics in the Goutte d’Or and felt inspired by women on the Paris Metro wearing African Wax dresses. I knew I wanted to travel to West Africa and be surrounded by the beauty, color and pattern of these vibrant textiles.

What is your technique to portrait people in their true self  ?
I try to make the person I’m photographing feel as comfortable as possible in front of the camera and attempt to get a stronger sense of who they are before I photograph them. I don’t like portraits that feel too posed. I ask them to stand or sit, etc as if they had to wait in that position for hours. This helps to put them at ease as well as achieve a more natural pose.

Circadian Landscape is your first monograph book. Why did you decided to create one, how did you elaborate it and how does it feels to be a photographer and have this beautiful piece where everything is condensed ?

I love books and want to continue making books for the rest of my life. I had a large body of work from West Africa and Ethiopia and the timing was right to create Circadian Landscape. I felt so inundated by digital imagery and wanted to create something tactile and permanent to showcase my personal project.

What is the importance of experimentation in your daily life and how it influences the work you do for customers ?

I am an artist first and foremost and my personal work and experimentation are extremely important in my daily life. I come from a fine art background and love painting, drawing, collage and sculpture in addition to photography. My personal / fine art projects help me to get noticed by commercial clients.