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2022 PixelStreaks Photo Awards Winner: Ophelie Maurus

For our first-ever PixelStreaks Photo Awards we selected 6 winners, one for each category: CLIMATE, PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS, SERENDIPITY, COMMUNITY. Here is our interview with PLACES Winner Ophélie Maurus.

Ophelie is a French photographer and art director. She studied at the ESAG Penninghen for her Master’s degree in image and media. She spent 3 years as a graphic designer and photographer at Random Paris studio. While currently working freelance between architectural photography and art direction, Ophelie has been developing her own photography projects, exploring a wide variety of subjects from travel and experimentation to collaborating with other artists.

What is the story behind your winning image?

This picture was taken in the United States, during a road trip with close friends through the great natural parks. This one stands out because it was one of the first picture taken. And among other thousand of other photos taken through this trip, it’s still as a matter of fact one of my favorite photos: a simple graphic shape in the middle of a desertic landscape with subtle nuance of green turn into bright pink. With this color alteration, I wanted to capture in one image the countless colors and unique palette that the United States offers, and the memory that will remain of it.

What are your eyes being drawn to lately?

All those little details that I can visually chase in my daily life, bring surrealism and stands out of the ordinary, this little “out of time” moment when it’s created by a particular light, a shadow, a reflection or an encounter.

What do you most enjoy looking at through your viewfinder?

I have always had a great interest in the potential of our eyes (I even choose this subject for my Master’s degree). I like the idea that my camera becomes an extension of my eyes, that it gathers my vision and my ideas, and that it makes visible to me what I can’t see with the naked eye. Maybe that’s why I like to use a telephoto lens so much, to reach subjects unattainable to my eye. I also like to use old material, digital as well as film, damaged by time, which will bring unexpectedly desired accidents.

Who else’s images are exciting you these days?

Delaney Allen , for his phantasmagorical landscapes. Harley Weir, for her photo atmosphere which inspired many. Mark Mahaney, for his amazing work on “Polar Night”. Ryan McGinley, for his photos with few artifice but always with this touch of magic. Camille Vivier, for her amazing talent as much in still life as in portrait or landscape. And so many more!

What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you (and who gave it to you)?

I learned a lot not from a person but rather from one destination: Iceland.

There, its nature and its extreme conditions forced me to take advantage of every second, a new landscape, a new light offering itself, like a new universe in perpetual change. I’ve learned to be aware that everything can change in a fraction of a second, not only in my work method but also in my daily life. Everything can be given and taken back, but take it as a chance and opportunity to develop with it.

“It’s not the destination that matters it’s the change of scene.” – Brian Eno

Finish this sentence: “For me, photography is…”

“… to write like no one else with everyone’s words.”

I love the fact that this medium has as a first goal to show the reality such as it is, with elements that seem common to all eyes, but turns into a multitude of interpretation with one lens, arising from the experience we have lived or the story we want to share.

What’s one thing you’d like to accomplish in the next year or so?

In a society that advocates digital, I wish to finally take the time to transfer my work from the intangible digital world to the physical reality, by exhibitions, publications. I wish to do more experimentation, with subject, scales but also mediums, that I have not yet been able to explore.

What about one thing you’d like to accomplish in your lifetime?

To set up a long timeframe project perhaps, over several months or even years, to produce in quantity but above all to seek the “unique” in my subjects.

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