A Journey of Discoveries

Photographs by Erica Lou
Interview via emails, August 2015

Erica Lou is a photographer from Portugal. The works featured are from series called 20142013, and 2012, presented in that order. Alongside is an interview with Erica that touches on work, photographing bodies, Erica's approach towards subject matter and the process behind her sequences.

[from the series 2014]

What was happening in your life in 2014?

I was haunted by broken memories so I kinda took refuge in nature. I tried to be absorbed by its essence. I just wanted to focus on something natural and real, to abstract myself. It felt right at the time.

What is your process in editing down and sequencing your images?

Well, it's a one year process. I like to save each year in individual drawers. I don't do or make projects. I just photograph during the year, then I put together my material and originate a sequence that makes logic in my head and behind that logic has a personal story that sums up 365 days. It can't be random or simply loose photographs, I insist that my series have a script, a story, a sequence. I don't search for symbolism but the themes always reflect a lot about my mood, my way of being and ups and downs of that year. It's kinda of autobiographical. About my series: 2012 was a good year. I finally found my style in photography, I was very inspired and proud of my work. It was a pleasant year to explore and find more about myself. 2013 was a shitty year. I had a relationship that teared me apart so I decided to go breathe to a different town, to clear my head.

[from the series 2013]

When did you start shooting?

Probably in my days of high school. I had a friend who loved being a model so we started doing photoshoots in her attic.

All my inspiration came from the internet, I even had a folder in my pc with thousands of fashion photos. I was always with ideas, themes for shooting. I would tell her what to do in front of the camera, what to wear, how to pose.

Human bodies are a theme in your work, especially human bodies in very intimate moments. What draws you to this as subject matter?

In my relationships there's an obsessive attempt to freeze a certain kind of beauty because intimacy it's a journey of discoveries. I don't intend to beautify love and sex. I don't want to capture the surface but what is beneath of it, the flesh. This is my way to dissect a reality that is there. I want to focus on the raw and naked truth of two bodies, of two intimacies, without inhibitions and identities. Although the contradiction, I prefer to expose their bodies than their faces, keeping their privacy to the minimum.

[from the series 2012]

What draws you to black and white?

I don't get along with color. I think it's distractive and I don't take color seriously enough. I love to see in others but not in me.

It doesn't suit with my character. Bw is different, more symbolic, with stronger elements. I can play a lot with it especially when I'm developing my film. It's very attractive, it seduces me through its grain and contrast. My work being personal and intimate, color would become pointless.