Stefanie Renoma is an anti-conformist and unusual artist, playing with the masculine body, having fun in modelling it to give it a troubled ambiguity, a dual identity, reinforced by staging and ornament. The style is assertive, the opposition between man and woman is annihilated and the paradox is exacerbated. Its typical model: the androgynous person, the double, the manly woman and the womanly man. That is what it is all about with Renoma; androgyny rules, sexuality becomes obscure. But despite an apparent nudity, an erotic tension, a significant and spreading desire the body is desexualised, asexual, the being is naked by evidence and by authenticity, as if it had been back to a natural state.
Combining rock'n'roll and dislocated chic, in the example of his brand, Stefani defies clichés. The references to fashion and to her own design are numerous. The staging is luxurious, opulent, tinted with glamour. Femininity is assertive and claimed where all masculinity becomes altered or definitely prohibited. And it becomes fascinating, like a third sex, a Renoma sex.
Stefani grew up in her father's artistic aura, Maurice Renoma, a famous photographer and a designer, founder of the eponym brand, to which all the creative geniuses like Dali, Andy Warhol, Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Bardot, will be faithful, or even become ambassadors. An environment which will progressively develop her critical sense towards traditionalism and will guide her naturally to an offset style.
As you say, there are elements that come back, there is a Renoma style, how was he born?
It's a genetic fingerprint. In the world where I was raised, the codes were extremely jostled, there was a rock environment, film-mode, completely different from that of today. This modern merchandising side did not exist, there were real characters and a real culture around them. Fashion came from musical movements, with a real correlation, and all that created characters. Around me were people with whom my father could work, Helmut Newton, Issermann, renowned photographers, Guy Bourdin, David Bailey ... It was a very androgynous universe, it was DNA, smoking ... Serge Gainsbourg has played the Renoma brand for more than 20 years! It was a very feminine character despite everything, precious, maniac, not at all the character that we imagine, he had this double side. It is a world in which I grew up, and an image that I shaped myself. And I have always liked the personalities a little double, a little trouble and I find that in androgyny there is something more. This creates not only a physical but a psychological disorder.
Why develop this androgynous side, in fashion and in photography?
Everything is a matter of taste. I like that, it's a question of style, I like that the mixed wardrobe can be exchanged between men and women. The tuxedo, one of the key pieces on which we work has a lot of look when it is well worked, it is a print, a DNA. As a photographer, I am a little provocative, there are sulphurous scenes of my environment, but always at the limit. The idea is to arouse the interest of the viewer, who according to his analysis, his experience, his desire, will develop several interpretations. It is not a question of imprisoning the viewer in an image but of opening a perspective. An image is something fixed, you either get in, or not, like it, or not. I work on the symbol!. I work the symbol! I do not claim to be a photographer, I do not have the control of someone who has been taking pictures for 20 years! I like to tell images, I like to build elements, that's why they are recurring elements, because we forge links. There either is an alchemy or there isn't one when I meet a person, without it, I do not photograph someone.
What interests me is the before, the pendant, the after. These are people I see again after. It's not just about "thank you goodbye" photos. Why do I like playing with doubles? Girls, boys, girls in boys, it is that suddenly I will meet people and I find that it is working well together and that something is happening or not. The two boys for the shooting we did for Normal did not know each other the day before and it was a magical moment. It was almost their first picture and the fact that they find themselves naked in front of a team, was not easy. They found themselves in a body they did not know, (one had lost 50 pounds, the other 30). There was, however, a letting go, both trying to help each other, with a kind of modesty. All this has created this atmosphere. And you can not get that result with two dummies playing the comedy. What I like today is going in stories, emotions. With Raphaël Say, we do a lot of pictures, we shut ourselves away, we need to be only the two of us together as something is occurring then. It is intense and it's working, we make a whole, we will move the same, we will look at each other without the need to speak, he is going to give me something different and I will apply myself in a different way with a certain vision. There is a need to get some experience, to have things that are not perfect, each picture has its own story.
- Meet Stefanie Renoma in Normal Magazine n°7 & n°9 -