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The photographer Lara Micheli welcomed us to her home and immersed us in her oasis of peaceful haven

Let Artsper immerse you in the enchanting world of French photographer Lara Micheli. She welcomed us into her home in Guéthary, surrounded by books, paintings and photographs. Alongside her shots are those of Yamamoto Masao and paintings by François Foucras among others. This young mother appreciates the beauty of Basque country and the tranquility of the surrounding nature. From San Sebastian to Biarritz, this area no longer holds any secrets for her or her polaroids… This is where she spoke to us about her passion for art and her practice of photography.

As a former History of Art student, what is it about the artistic world that interests you? What made you choose to study it?

In general, what really fascinates me about the art world is the creative process specific to each discipline and even to each artist. What is it that drives the creative act, where does their inspiration come from, and what is their technical process? When the artist is a contemporary of mine, it is extraordinary to be able to ask them for explanations and have answers; if they are no longer alive and didn't leave any written accounts, then begins for the art lover an investigation or even just an assumption, that can be just as exciting and revealing.

I would say that it's not always a place that inspires me but an emotion, a sensation, almost an impulse. A form of discipline too.

I like observing a canvas very, very closely, looking at each brushstroke, whether there are any paint brush bristles left in the paint... Likewise for photos; I like to look for details, for things that you don't necessarily see at first glance. For example, I have spent hours on the internet zooming in on archives of Vivian Maier, especially her self-portraits. I think I'm a little monomaniacal.

As far as my studies are concerned, it wasn't an obvious choice; I loved History of Art but I don't think I was ready to take the plunge. I wanted to be “useful", to save the world! I started a degree in International Relations first, which I soon abandoned. I then moved to Paris and started studying History of Art, and I have no regrets. I loved each subject and each period, even those for which I had less affinity a priori, such as medieval art.

Which artists particularly inspire you?

In no particular order, and including all disciplines: David Hockney, Edward Hopper, Sally Mann, Walker Evans, William Eggleston, Alfred Stieglitz, Gertrude Käsebier, Ferdinand Hodler, Jill Beth Hannes, John Messinger, Pawel Pawlikowski, Colette, Françoise Sagan, Yamamoto Masao et Carsten Höller…

Where do you think is the most inspiring place to take a photo?

Wherever you find yourself! I really like the Sally Mann quote: “It is easier for me to take ten good photos in aeroplane bathrooms than in the gardens of Versailles."

I can tell you where I am not inspired: in big cities. But inspiration doesn't necessarily drive me to creation. Sometimes I take my camera with me; I don't know where I am going or what I am going to photograph, I just have to do it; it is an immediate and necessary urge. So I would say that it's not always a place that inspires me but an emotion, a sensation, almost an impulse. A form of discipline too; of the need to take my Polaroid and to see a picture come out of it.

Well, if I had to choose one place on earth where I could capture every photo for the rest of my life, it would be San Sebastian, in the Spanish Basque Country, my favourite town. I have already spent a lot of time there but I dream of living there. All my senses need to be satisfied for me to feel inspired, and that is the case there.

Is there an artist who you would like to spend the day with?

Yes, Jean-Baptiste Huynh so that I could (re)visit his Infinis d'Asie exhibition, held at the Guimet Museum, which is sadly over.

I met my husband in an art gallery in Geneva; we were surrounded by works by the New York artist Gary Simmons. My best artistic-romantic memory!

What is your most beautiful artistic memory?

I met my husband in an art gallery in Geneva; we were surrounded by works by the New York artist Gary Simmons. My best artistic-romantic memory!

Have you an artistic project of which you are particularly proud?

A book soon, and maybe an exhibition; some of my polaroids have also just been selected for an international festival in Bologna. However, I'm not really proud of my artistic projects; of course, they bring me satisfaction, but my children are the only thing I am truly proud of.


Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Jean Cocteau, Sphinx, Drawing

Jean Cocteau

Sphinx, 1960
16.5 x 11.4 inch
Drawing

$9,025

Jean-Philippe Pernot, L'Or, Photography

Jean-Philippe Pernot

L'Or, 2017
9.4 x 7.1 inch
Photography

$677

Yining Zhao, Sainte Thérèse II, Painting

Yining Zhao

Sainte Thérèse II, 2017
39.4 x 45.3 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$3,272

Katia Slessareff, Aticca, Painting

Katia Slessareff

Aticca, 2018
39.4 x 31.9 x 0.2 inch
Painting

$3,836

Our recommendations Chuli Herrera, Zelf Portret (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), Painting

Chuli Herrera

Zelf Portret (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), 2018
35.4 x 23.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$8,123