Meet 'The Collective': Emilie Delugeau on Creative Collaboration Through Fashion Photography

By Ellen Clipson - 7 min read

Emilie Delueau's built her portfolio of fashion and portrait photography on a foundation of creative collaboration. As part of The Collective, Emilie represents EyeEm's most outstanding photographers. Here is her perspective on connecting diverse elements together through visuals.

Emilie Delueau uses unexpected styling and a range of shooting locations to tell visual stories of intimacy and elegance. Often shooting with performers or artists, her portraits capture unique personalities and moments of reflection. In this ‘Meet The Collective’ feature, Emilie shares the importance of meaningful encounters and the collaboration of ideas.

Emilie Delugeau’s Emotive Portraits Challenge Industry Norms

Creativity doesn’t mean something specific to me. Instead, it’s a tool to stay alert and allow me to look at things in a different way. It’s always a balance between your personal life and your work. I often see the two mix, and so sometimes I need to take a step back. I always want to be analyzing my work.

My approach to color is something I consider but it ́s hard to put into words. Color for me is as much a subject as anything else in the picture. Usually, it all comes together during post-production.

My editing is like a retreat. It’s a moment for contemplation. I love that time just looking at a picture and spending time with it. I often work with a friend who really knows my work and together we look at the photo, talk about them and then I will go home and look at them again. After that I will then I go back to the same friend again and discuss the image further.

It’s a long process, but that is what I enjoy about it. For me, it’s like time in a dream. It’s about going out of the daily routine where you’re always in a hurry. I think it’s important just to take the time to spend with your images.

“It’s like bringing friends together and enjoy the chemistry between them.”

The starting point for my creative direction is always an encounter with either a place or a person. Sometimes a place makes me think of somebody I know, and sometimes it ́s a person that reminds me of a place. After that it’s merely a question of finding the time to bring those things together. The biggest lesson I have learned during my time in photography is to trust your intuitions.

The relationship between the locations and the models I shoot is like a dialogue. You never really know what ́s going to happen until you try. It’s like bringing friends together and enjoying the chemistry between them.

My favorite location to shoot is the forest because of the silence you can find there. I want to see movement in my work and to give both my models and my viewer space to see what they want to see. I never look at the people I ́m photography in terms of classifications, instead I just like photographing them for who they are.

My work is always a process of collaboration, however, that partnership can look very different with each image. I often work closely with friends who are performers, designers, and stylists. But I also love to shoot with strangers.

In many ways, photographing someone you don’t know is easier, It’s like the very beginning of a relationship – it’s just easier. The immediacy of meeting someone, without a background or emotion involved which represents the simplest pleasure of a single encounter.

“I want to have an experience with my model”

The most important thing to me when I’m collaborating is respect. It’s about upholding the model’s integrity and portraying the intention of the designer. To achieve this requires a level of tenderness. When I shoot my friends we take the whole day and then I will finish by cooking them something at my home. I just don’t want just to do a picture. I want to have an experience with my model.

“Trying new photography techniques is like learning a new language”

I shoot medium format more than digital. Shooting with film, simply allows you to spend more time on the creation process. This being said, I am always open to trying new things. I ́m currently re-discovering strobe lighting and it’s range of possibilities to blend a person into the landscape.

Trying new photography techniques is like learning a new language, and it’s very important for me to be out of my comfort zone. There is definitely excitement that comes with the desire to do something new.

When I reflect on the process of creative collaboration I don’t see it as bringing people into a project. Rather, I think about what I want to do and then I happen to meet people who have another idea in mind, and then together we decide to do something.

Get to know Emilie’s work more closely on her online portfolio or her Instagram Profile. Want to know more about the Collective? Take a look here to see more of EyeEm’s top photographers!

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