Valérie Jardin, photographer, was born and raised in Normandy, France. She is currently residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota. When she is not working for clients, she looks to photograph the extraordinary in the ordinary. She has learned to “see” when she looks, to find a beautiful story everywhere. Her passion for humankind drives her to do more street photography. She thrives on searching and waiting for just the right moment when a story unfolds in a single frame. And although Valérie loves wandering the streets of large cities, the natural world never stops to amaze her. She feels privileged to see it all through her lens.
For work, Valérie photographs interiors and architecture where the details tell the story. She also photographs food and loves working with culinary artists on location. Portraiture gives her the opportunity to photograph people in their environment and capture their true personality. She has a true passion for photography.
Valérie is proud that her work has been exhibited in galleries in the United States and in Europe, but she feels pure joy when teaching this beautiful craft! Teaching is her opportunity to share her passion and skills with others. She writes articles for Australian-based dPS magazine. Valérie will be leading a week-long photography workshop in Paris in October 2012 and will add new workshop locations each year. Visit Valérie’s website, like Valérie on Facebook and follow Valérie on Twitter.
AWP: Name the books and movies, works of art and music, fashion or cuisine that have inspired you.
VJ: I am a visual person and art has always had a big part in my life. I like to explore the works of famous painters such as Van Gogh, as well as contemporary art by unknown artists. Photographers who have inspired me the most are Jim Brandenburg, Jay Maisel and Elliott Erwitt. I am also inspired every day by the work of my peers in the photography community at large.
I’ve always loved books about travel and adventure. My tastes in music are very diverse and I enjoy listening to works by Ravel and Bach as well as Bruce Springsteen’s latest titles.
AWP: What is the last book you read?
VJ: The Stieg Larsson Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / The Girl Who Played with Fire / The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest)
AWP: What childhood experience has served you many times?
VJ: As a child living in the French countryside, I spent days exploring the world around me with friends. Friendships became extremely important and I developed a sense of adventure and independence very early, as well as a love and respect for nature.
AWP: In your youth, what did you imagine your adult life would hold? What influenced this vision?
VJ: I started traveling internationally on my own or with friends as a young teenager. I always knew I wanted to see the world and discover other cultures. I just didn’t know at that time I would do it through my lens!
AWP: How did you get your foot in the door at the beginning of your career?
VJ: I am a very persistent person. I never gave up. Making it as a professional photographer is not an easy thing to do. I was always true to myself and believed I could to it, no matter how long it would take. With passion and a lot of hard work it happened gradually.
AWP: Was being stylish important to you growing up in your teens? Is it now?
VJ: I was raised in France so I would say yes. Now I believe that being stylish doesn’t revolve around fashion so much as it is part of who you are. I think that what you wear and feel comfortable in is a reflection of your personality and should not be dictated strictly by fashion. Fashion-wise I like chic, but simple.
AWP: How do you define style or fashion?
VJ: I think style has to do with personality and that it is a constant. Fashion is artificial and style doesn’t need fashion to shine.
AWP: Tell me about your cooking and eating habits and traditions.
VJ: Everyone expects me to be a great cook because I’m French. Sorry to disappoint, but I just don’t like to spend much time in the kitchen. I cook simple and healthy organic meals. If I want my family to eat something fancy I take them to a good local restaurant. And we are very lucky to have hundreds to choose from in the Twin Cities.
AWP: What was your most memorable meal to date?
VJ: For some reason the meal is not the important part, it has more to do with the company — so it was probably a good pizza and a glass of wine!
AWP: What is in your refrigerator right now?
VJ: Lots of fruit and yogurts, farm-raised chicken for the grill tonight, lettuce and tomatoes.
ART OF LIVING:
AWP: What natural gift would you most like to possess? What talent are you most thankful for?
VJ: A little more patience and the gift of musical talent. My ability to “see” and convey emotions with my camera.
AWP: What question are you tired of being asked?
VJ: What camera do you shoot with? It’s not about the gear!
You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris® post, Paris: Sketch and paint with Barbara Redmond. When in Paris, Barbara arrives with a theme in mind. Whether it’s a topic she has studied for months in advance or an impromptu search for pétale de rose ice cream, the city of light seems to give up its secrets to her in a new way. Including what she packs and where she buys her art supplies in Paris.
French Impressions: Michelle Schwartzbauer on art that becomes “too precious,” looses its freshness. Michelle shares the lighthearted, playful attitude she strives to achieve in her illustrations and from where she draws her inspiration.
The streets of Marrakech, by Jennifer Haug, world traveler and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Marrakech who writes about the French influence in Morocco and her teaching experience there.
French Impressions: Johan Amselem on the joy and optimism of dance. Johan worked for five years with dancer Laura Scozzi as her choreographic assistant on tour on “Platée”, an opera-ballet produced by Opéra de Paris – Palais Garnier. Johan works with Opéra de Paris on pedagogic programs for schools.
A Woman’s Paris — Elegance, Culture and Joie de Vivre
We are captivated by women and men, like you, who use their discipline, wit and resourcefulness to make their own way and who excel at what the French call joie de vivre or “the art of living.” We stand in awe of what you fill into your lives. Free spirits who inspire both admiration and confidence.
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. — Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971)
Text copyright ©2012 Valérie Jardin. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.