This article was published in the Paris section of weekly news magazine The Nouvel Observateur today. The interview actually took place in early September, if I remember correctly, and the photographer popped round to see me at home a few weeks later.
A bit of a character, he started by telling me that he thought all the pictures which had been used by the English press – with the exception of the one used by the Guardian – had been hideous and aged me approximately ten years.
I was inclined to agree, most had been taken under sweltering sun, in the middle of the day, when the light conditions were at their most unforgiving and I could do little more than squint at the camera with a furrowed brow. I also suspect that the editors specifically picked photos where I looked mildly annoyed (with the photographer, because I hated every minute of leaning in unnatural poses against pillars, trees and balcony railings) because they matched the story (annoyed with my former employer).
Mr Obs Photographer said his “Fait Divers” page tended to be a little artier, and that he was looking for something which summed up my personality, and my blog, and liked to keep snapping away until he got precisely what he wanted. I posed, awkwardly, in the room which serves as my living room/bedroom/study for approximately two hours, until I finally begged him to leave, at the end of my patience. The pictures taken seated in front of my computer, I could understand. Those photos which showed my bookcase in the background, ditto. But the ones taken against a backdrop of scarlet sheets, I admit to having some reservations about.
It was only when the photographer was on the verge of leaving that I finally understood what the “scarlet woman” sequence had been about.
“The thing that really struck me when I looked at your blog,” he said, in French, “was the fact that you said you have been living dans le péché.”
I giggled. The penny (or centime) had finally dropped.
“Living in sin is an English phrase which just means that I wasn’t married,” I clarified.
“Oh!” he said, clearly crestfallen.
I don’t know if I dare imagine what he thought “vivre dans le péché” might mean, but the result of his misunderstanding makes quite a nice picture, I think.