Inspired by nature, mythological creatures and music, Ysambre Fauntography provides an escape into a different world. I repeatedly find myself going back to the enthralling images of fantastical creatures and forests with heavy mantles of mist, dramatic mountain ranges and humans intertwined with the earth itself.
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you based and what inspires your photography?
My name’s Ysambre. I’m a photographer and live in the French Alps. At first, my work is inspired by my wanderings around in Nature. Music and my deep imagination are also a source of inspiration.
Since… a long time, I guess, if we consider the fact my father was a professional photographer. I remember his dark-room, settled… in the bathroom. Sometimes, I assisted him to develop his photos.
I truly began to take pictures with my parent’s digital camera. I had my own at fifteen, and enjoyed to experiment with various ideas or take pictures of Nature during my rambles. Then, I never stopped.
Many of your images depict humans connected – often literally – to nature, for example with your image ‘Oakendaughter.’ Can you talk about what inspired you to create these shots?
I’m inspired by legends and myths or fairytales – trolls, dryads, strange creatures emerging from the mist. But I’m not fond of classical portraits. Those creatures are a part of background… the background becomes the subject.
From then, it’s easy to imagine how trees and humans can be similar – blood, roots, skin… The merging of humans and trees appears so natural and logical to me. It illustrates the feeling of “connection” we can experiment in the forest, surrounded by those strange forms of life that fascinate me : trees.
Do you plan your shoots, or are they more of a spontaneous event?
A few of them are planned; it’s a bit long and fastidious, because I have to choose days with specific weather, carry all my material alone… Most of classical landscapes or nature shots are spontaneous, they show what I see and how I see it when I’m hiking.
There’s a strong Nordic feeling with many of your images. Would you say you’re deeply inspired by Scandinavia and Nordic culture?
As a photographer, I do not qualify myself as “fond of Norse culture.” The fact my favourite places look very similar to some Scandinavians landscapes is a coincidence! But I’m interested in John Bauer’s illustrations… or Runes, how they can speak to me, what they make me think about.
I’m also involved in a Viking re-enactment troop, but despite the fact I photographed them once, there is no strong link between this hobby and photography.
In what ways does black metal influence your work, and is it a predominant feature in your everyday life?
When I’m going to ramble somewhere, or when I’m working on my pictures on some digital tool, it’s like a ritual. I choose something that would disconnect me from reality : Alcest, Les Discrets, Agalloch, Enslaved, Primordial, The Flight Of Sleipnir… or even Sigur Ros.
But in everyday life, I listen to a larger choice of bands, mostly Metal of course, including black metal.
What is your personal relationship with nature? Do you feel it necessary to engage with the natural world on a regular basis?
It’s a relationship mixing Latin names, rational functionality of ecosystems and beauty and aesthetical aspects of Nature, plant’s properties and mystical aspects of forest… I don’t think it’s necessary to have this approach to appreciate my pictures.
But, clearly, I think most part of people who share my work have a emotive contact with nature and appreciate it in aesthetical or mystical aspects.
What would you say is your favourite time of day to shoot, and what are the reasons for your choice?
I would prefer the early morning’s light. After an attempt in the dark, grey and quiet morning, the first sun’s light appears like hope and brings an intense feeling of serenity, especially during autumn & winter…
Can you please name a photographer who currently inspires you?
The first name which comes to my mind is Niiv Photography. She’s a friend of mine and every time we meet we’re in a very creative mood and we plan so many projects.
Where do we need to go to find you and your work?
You can visit my forest here : http://ysambre-fauntography.blogspot.com
You can chase my name on Facebook and try to catch some news…