By now, you already know we’re featuring photographers for our January installment of Reigning Women. Make sure to check out last week’s interview with Damola Akintunde if you haven’t already.
This week, we talked with Noémie Marguerite about her vision, photographically and in life. She shared thoughts about the legacy she hopes to leave behind, our second Black renaissance, and working with your community. While we haven’t yet had the chance to work with Noémie, she is absolutely on our list of photographers to not only book but
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you? What do you envision from your future? What inspires you from your past?
Noémie-Marguerite is my photography brand, but I personally go by Noémie. As saturated as the label has become, I’m a creative. Photography is what the majority of people associate me with (which is totally fine), but I also work in videography, design, branding. I don’t market myself with those crafts as much. I envision my future to encompass all that I love to do. I see myself working with my hella talented friends, making important work. Recognition is the least of my concerns but I have a feeling more people will know who I am over time. Not sure if it’s my inspiration per se, but what motivates me is my younger self. Noémie as a child, a teen. She kept going, so it’s impossible for me to stop now.
How did you get your start in photography? Who or what inspired you?
I started taking photos at 14 due to a mixture of factors. For one, I was inspired by films. I’d watch tons and tons of indie films and I think a part of me wanted to mimic the same vibe but with still shots. Another factor was I needed to understand/figure out who I was so photography was my “visual diary.” I did A LOT of self-portraiture in my work and it was my form of self-communication.
Take us through a typical shoot with you. Do you do anything specific to capture the image or vibe you’re after? What’s your editing process like?
I always ask what the client wants people to know/feel once they see the photos. My photography leans toward a candid, storytelling style. It’s essential for me to maintain a quality of authenticity. So once that information is received, I scope out the environment or have a conversation with the subject. Applying a sense of stillness is important as it helps me focus. I usually accomplish that with a quick pep talk with the Holy Spirit beforehand. My editing process is pretty quick. I already have a vision of how I want the photos to turn out, and I use a set of custom presets I’ve created in Adobe Bridge and use that as a starting point. From there, it’s a pretty smooth process.
Photography and photographers can and do play such an important role in defining and reclaiming narratives. What stereotypes or narratives are you aiming to confront in your work?
For the longest time (and still now) people, corporations, and brands have displayed Black people in their eyes, from their perspective which 9 times out of 10 was/is pretty inaccurate because 9 times out of 10, they aren’t Black. Simply sharing my day-to-day combats those stereotypes. I find the most mundane activities with friends exciting, so I make sure to document and share it because, as the whole world knows, we are pretty damn dope. I have no problem reminding folks.
What opportunities do you see for women and girls in photography or visual arts? What message or advice would you give millennial women trying to break into photography or better get their work out there? Any resources you can point them towards?
As far as opportunities, I don’t know about you, but it feels like we’re in the middle of a modern-day Black renaissance. The more we create and share, the better. Doors are opening and people are coming in and bringing their friends and their friends are bringing THEIR friends, so on and so forth. We just need to keep opening doors. I keep hearing the advice of working with peers and not necessarily focusing on working “up.” So rather than reaching out to Issa Rae or Barry Jenkins, I can reach out to my homegirl Jasmine Ellis or homie, Darien LaBeach, and go from there. So I strongly advise working with your community. Attend their shows, proofread their scripts, ask them to model in your shoots – not for personal gain, but remembering that “everybody eats, B.” My resources are people. I love meeting people. I attend a lot of events out of per curiosity. I moved to New York in 2017 so I’m still in my awe phase (I hope it never ends, to be honest). But yeah, I don’t mention I’m a photographer when I meet people since promoting myself is not my goal. I let them find out on their own. Essentially keeping relationships organic
What can we expect from you moving forward? How can we best be of support?
In the lovely words of Mr. Shawn Carter, I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man. You can expect me to be operating more intentionally. I’ll be doing studio sessions, workshops this year. It’ll be the same me, just more refined. The best support is spreading the word. Sharing is caring.
In the end, how do you want your story, your vision depicted? What legacy do you hope your images leave behind?
I haven’t thought much about that…yet. I want my being to leave a legacy more so than my photographs. My work is me, but I am not my work. So in regards to leaving a legacy as Noémie – I hope my story is understood that it’s not over until God says it’s over. Whether it’s your passion, your relationships, weaknesses, etc – if you’re alive, the world is ready to see you live.
Just for kicks:
- Favorite camera brand? Canon.
- DSLR, Mirrorless, or Film? DSLR for me. But film is always a win.
- Favorite photographer? Recently discovered Flo Ngala’s work. She is KILLING it, gah damn.
- Person, place, or entity you most want to shoot? Is it cool if I answer all three? Tracee Ellis Ross. Democratic Republic of Congo. Dapper Dan Lookbook. Could be all in one shoot or completely separate but yeah – that’d be amazing.
- Biggest pet peeve as a photographer? Past due invoices.
All images courtesy of Noémie.