Camille Picquot | Domestic flight

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Zoom in. The camera rests low on the back of a man who is holding a cigarette in his hand. What do we know about this scene? The man seems decently dressed, with his striped shirt neatly tucked into his marine trousers. His leather watch and golden wedding ring suggest a traditional domestic life. Let’s say he’s in his fifties. We have a notion about our protagonist, but what is happening here? His hand is holding a burning cigarette, probably a Winston, in a protective and shielding gesture. The bright sun is beaming, so he is definitely not sheltering his cigarette from the rain. Is he hiding it from sight, as if he doesn’t want to be caught smoking?  Or is it the sand-like substance on his hand that no one is supposed to see, as if this could give away the crime that preceded this scene?

In Domestic Flight, the viewer is not confronted with traces of what has been. Rather, each scene allows us a glimpse into the action of the story Camille Picquot is unfolding. Released of its burden of proof, photography can now fully be applied to its new purpose: to visually narrate and suggest a fictional story. In her artistic work, Picquot is equally at ease with photography as she is with film. Applying and mixing common practices of these media, she never places one above the other, but rather reinforces them both. In Domestic Flight, Picquot does not shy away from adding a playful cameo of herself in the series, possibly hinting at Hitchcock’s famous appearances.

The photographic language is apprehensible: it seduces through clear compositions, contrasting colors and vivid details. But there is always something amiss, an unusual viewpoint or a distressing detail, converting it into a disquieting scene. The images become enigmatic without falling into the trap of closing themselves off from the viewer. Instead, they invite a sharp reading and dissection. They give away as much as they conceal.

Text by Rein Deslé – Curator at FOMU Museum of Photography

The scenes in Domestic Flight are carefully constructed. We see well-thought-out actions that at first sight seem banal, but require further attention. What is it we are looking at, what stories are these characters hiding? We find ourselves in a world made up of codes we cannot read. The photographs invite our gaze to search attentively for clues as to what is unfolding in each image. And through the series, image by image, we draw closer to the closing scene of this fictional narrative and yet we never know the end.

Text by Wytske Visser at current solo exhibition at De Brakke Grond


Camille Picquot (born 1990 in France) is a young photographer and filmmaker. She lives and works in Brussels.

Camille Picquot plays with the viewer’s perception by toying with accepted norms and expectations. Her work is as attractive as it is uncomfortable. The playful interaction between images and storylines results in a varied but consistent authorship. Both her photographs and her films seem to ignore the borders between fiction and reality, to be able to explore the implicit of our present time.

Each photograph appears to contain an everyday scene or action, but look for longer and it becomes difficult to fathom the logic behind these acts.Her works possess strong tactile qualities, materials are touchable and people tangible. Hands and their gestures are a recurring motif, unfolding ideas around motor skills and movement.

She directed movies Hollow Hours (2016) and Cao Bang (2019). Her first film was awarded a Wild Card by VAF. Her book Domestic Flight has been published by Art Paper Editions in 2018 and her photographic work has been presented in solo exhibitions amon others at FoMu Museum for photography in Antwerp, Hopstreet Gallery in Brussels or De Brakke grond in Amsterdam.