Stéphanie Chotia - The B&W Photographer Of The Year 2023

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Hello Stéphanie, you are the winner of the 2023 edition of the Black And White Photo Awards. For this, you win an Iphone 14 256 GB. What do you think about being selected as a winner among hundreds of other photographers?

Hello. It’s more than a huge honor…. Big competitions like the Black & White Photo Awards are always intimidating. You must know how to participate with confidence and lucidity; tell yourself that a small drop in the ocean of talent that will manifest itself, not being chosen does not mean that your work is mediocre, while keeping in mind to always enrich and improve it. In addition (laughing), the Iphone 14 will come at the right time to replace my aging and tired Iphone XR ^_^! In addition, its capabilities are much greater than my old copy of the brand. I will therefore have the opportunity to explore “phonephotography” more seriously.

To come back to this selection, it's barely believable when you open the email. I had to reread 4/5 times to be sure I wasn't dreaming. It’s a great reward for this intimate photographic work that I offered you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the jury.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became a photographer?

I've always had a camera in my hands, more or less, since I was little. From disposables, through my first film cameras: a Snappit Supersnaps 126 and a Kodak Graffiti, to my digital developments at Canon, I have, throughout my life, regularly used the photographic image as a means of expression .

But it was really in 2012 that I began to work with an authorial intention, constructing series of photos with a subject, a vision. I am 100% self-taught. I have not followed any course or attended any school to train myself in photography. My way of understanding technique is much less in search of “mastery” of my photo equipment (even if a base is essential), than a desire to succeed in telling a story using manufacturing tools. of images.

Little by little, as the photo series grew and the exhibitions took shape, I finally accepted being an author and photographer. Today I am pursuing this path alongside a career far from the artistic field.

What about the “Amoregrafia” series, how did you build this project and what do you plan to do in the future?

Amoregrafia is an intimate series, like ultimately each of the photographic works that I produce. Definitely self-portraitist, I use it as a subject and depict myself in abandoned spaces: damaged and forgotten. Through my body, my postures, my face sometimes, but also through the appearance of the places that I choose as “decors” for my compositions, I tell of my deep wounds, fears and doubts. I like the uncertainty that comes from only working in these spaces.

Will I be able to enter? Will the light be conducive to the image (I only work in natural light)? Will inspiration overwhelm me? Each photograph in the series exists because an alignment of elements, both technical and emotional, was able to exist at that moment. I like these particular conditions which give value and unique character to the smallest photograph. It was the offer from the gallery of the Musée de la Photographie Charles Nègre in Nice to exhibit me that galvanized me to begin this project that I was already thinking about while I was completing my previous work, Errances Hypnagogiques.

This chapter is now closed and to answer the second part of your question, I am working on a new project, still based on self-portraits but including a male model in the photos.

As the winner of our photo competition you will join the jury of our photo competition for the next edition, what advice can you give to photographers who want to apply for next year?

And I can't wait to participate! I have already had the opportunity to be a jury and it is an incredible experience! What I will say to those who are thinking of competing are 2 words: consistency and passion. I believe that if we are passionate about the subject we are tackling and we are able to give coherence to the abundance of images which can sometimes overwhelm us in the creative process, then the artistic work which will be proposed will necessarily be of quality. You should not hesitate to confront the works that have been received in previous years, not to put a form of “pressure” on yourself, but to evaluate the taste of the jury, the level generally retained in the competition, etc.

Stéphanie CHOTIA (aka Moko Mad'moiselle - @mokomadmoiselle) started with music, harp prize in the Riviera classes of Marie-Pierre Daboval and Elizabeth Fontan-Binoche, whom she accompanied in concerts in a quartet of harpists. The deterioration, then the sudden worsening of his visual health will gradually distance him from playing his instrument.
She returned to art a few years ago, turning to photography and writing, following a self-taught path.

Photography is the medium that allows her to illustrate with gentleness and distance the sometimes strong emotions that overwhelm her. She uses it to offer an alternative vision of what is, imbued with dreaminess and fragility, an extension of the dialogue between her eye and her soul. Deeply myopic, removing his visual correction during shots creates a sensation of slack in his perception of space, which is then reduced to the study of his photographic other. Each photograph then depicts a real illusion. Her website:

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