One of my colleagues sent me a link to Francoise V’s work – it was immediately clear that her work was inspired by Africa. I knew that I had to find out more about this young, talented fine art photographer.
In this interview, she opens up about what fine art photography means to her, what inspires her and shares with us her hidden talent.
Her love of nature and photography stems from her childhood. Having grown up in Botswana, it is no wonder that she has a passion for Africa’s wilderness, its natural splendour and various cultures.
“We are so blessed to be able to experience such beautiful creatures and natural landscapes, which one day may not be here anymore. How nature and wildlife all live so harmoniously and communicate through other means – we live in an incredible world. The simple designs created by nature. I hope that my work makes some impact on people to help preserve wildlife and nature. Being in nature is where I feel most at peace. The beauty and sounds of nature are so captivating and calming. It calms my soul yet excites my spirit and makes me feel alive. I feel clearer and am completely inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds me.”
Francoise defines what photography means to her
Francoise is a true artist at heart, appreciating all forms of photography and art. She defines photography as anything that reflects a photographer’s vision: whether it is beautiful or disturbing, it’s a part of the artist, which they are able to create into a tangible, shareable form. Asking Francoise who inspires her proves a difficult task, as there are so many artists, both locally and internationally, who do so. One artist she does feel deserves special mention is Martin Osner; he has been her mentor and taught her so many valuable life lessons for which she will forever be grateful.
Francoise’s creative process
Francoise takes us through her complete creative process. She often visualises the end result before taking the shot – sometimes even months before (although some shots happen by chance and are born into something on their own.)
Regardless, vision is the most important:
- Get the shot (this requires a lot of patience). “I like simplicity and focusing only on the subject, and therefore like the backgrounds to disappear through overexposure.”
- She does very little post-processing. However, she enjoys subtle colours and play with them to affect different outcomes.
- Some of her work, specifically portraits, are multimedia work, which are made up of a few hand-collaged and hand-painted photographs.
- Prepare the artwork for print, which is a complicated process made up of many test prints and tweaking for getting the colour and quality spot on. She uses archival paper to print on as each paper gives a different finish due to slight tone and texture variations.
Each process is important and plays a crucial part in the final product: from vision and capturing (which settings to use to get the result you looking for), to post-processing, paper and printing all the way through to framing. But, through each process, you need creative vision. Without that, you have nothing.
“India has been calling my name…”
Francoise says that she will never grow tired of Africa; it’s where her heart is.
However, if she had to choose another destination it would have to be India, stating that “India has been calling [her] for a very long time”. She finds their culture fascinating and would love to travel to India’s smaller villages, documenting the faces and lives of its people.
Besides working on building a successful gallery, namely the Francoise V Fine Art Gallery (situated at Imhoff Farm, near Kommetjie on the way to Cape Point), she hopes to finish her book soon, which she’s been dreaming of for the past five years.
Francoise is a true free spirit who lost her heart (and a piece of her soul) to the ocean when she first started surfing years ago. “The miracle of how salt water calms the soul and heals all wounds… it’s heaven”. Then, she also plays guitar and enjoys skating with her beautiful daughter and devoted staffie.
This old soul with a love of any and all forms of creating hopes to encourage people to make different choices and to inspire others to share their own beauty that makes a difference in this world no matter how big or small.