Obsessions

Paul’s Book by Collier Schorr

“Asking me why it’s intimate is like asking a bird about the wind. That’s all I know.” Collier Schorr met Paul Hameline, a young French artist and model, in New York in 2015. Paul’s Book is an intimate and tender conversation between photographer and muse. Collaged pages of poetry, screen grabs and skpe calls, photographs of polaroids and a text written by Paul’s peer James Crewe. The book is a bricolage of beauty.

Photography COLLIER SCHORR Words JOHN WILLIAM

BP: Do you remember how you two met at first?
CS: Yes, Paul wrote me and said he was coming to New York. And I said, to come to my house; let’s do a go-see. People had told us that we should meet each other. He came over, and some of the pictures in the book are from that first day. It was immediate chemistry. It was so easy to shoot him and talk to him. He was so interested in photography.

BP: How did you decide to put your pictures of Paul together into a book?
CS: Well I guess what happened is that first it wasn’t anything but just making pictures. Then it was a magazine story, and we were supposed to have a cover. Then we lost the cover – and that’s like an industry secret – but I promised Paul that one day I’d give him that cover, and that it would be a book. The more I looked at that story, I thought about how it captured that time in Paris, and what happened in the fashion world, and I really wanted to build a humanity around it.

BP: There was a real shift. Why do you think the shift that happened was so dramatic and so impactful?
CS: I think it was because it was Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia coming into such an established place like Paris at a time when I think people forgot what it was to rebel, and so the people that gathered around it came together from different places. I think it was just that time when the whole of Paris was open to something outside of Paris.

BP: Paris was burning.
CS: Paris was burning a bit.

BP: Even when you work on big fashion productions there’s always an intimacy in your pictures. How do you retain this tenderness?
CS: I guess it’s because I look for it. That’s my way of comfort. To be connected is easier. For some people it’s hard to open up but for me it’s hard to engage if I’m not open. And Paul is just super friendly. Asking me why it’s intimate is like asking a bird about the wind. That’s all I know.

BP: What do you think is the last beautiful thing you saw?
CS: I just photographed a girl named Florian from Berlin who’s seventeen and meeting her was so inspiring because she is young and just learning who she is, her identity. And I felt like I saw myself in her in such a special, sweet way. She’s kind of my new Paul in a way.

BP: Do you think you’ve remained the same, or do you think the way you photograph has changed?
CS: I think sometimes I want to expand but whenever I expand it’s still the same kind of attitude. It’s just that I try harder to find a picture that I haven’t found, where to push myself.

"There is a common assumption about youth which is: Youth is about youth. But that isn’t really true. Youth is really about the past. Youth is not the pool that young men gaze adoringly into; it is the pool that old men gaze in, in order to measure the distance their bodies have traveled." - Collier Schorr

 

 

 

 


Paul’s Book by Collier Schorr is published by MACK and available to buy at Dover Street Market.