15 Questions with… Louis De Belle

How are you at the moment?

So far so good! Being in good shape during a pandemic feels like a blessing.

What is your morning ritual? How does your day begin?

I wish I had a healthy ritual, like doing yoga at 6AM… but I simply wake up around 8:30AM, eat a fruit with some coffee, take a shower and walk to the studio.

What, right now, can you see?

The screen of an iMac and a wall with large test prints from Cartographies, my latest book.

What artist, project, book would you recommend we see/follow?

Always hard to narrow it down to a single name. Recently, I’ve been appreciating the work of Carl Ander and his book Constructs, published by Heavy Books.

Tell us about your process when starting a new project

It usually starts with becoming intrigued by a specific topic or subject. I then make some research about it, in order to figure out what’s already out there, both in theoretical and factual terms. Then I try to understand what really hits me about it. And eventually try to translate that into photographs, eventually into an exhibition or a book. I tend to think in ‘series’. If I think of an image, I already try to imagine the next one…

What has been your favourite collaboration?

I really enjoy working with graphic designers. I like working with someone who further translates your work, whether it’s images or text. For my latest book Cartographies, I’ve been working closely with Claire Huss. It’s nice to see how initial ideas can change over time and eventually become something real. That said, I’ve also enjoyed working with fellow photographers, even if our practice is kind of a solipsistic one.

What is your greatest achievement?

Hard to tell. Probably is yet to come? In general, I’d say being able to follow your own interests and eventually being recognized. This happened to me a few times and it gave me a strong confidence to proceed with my work.

What is your greatest regret?

There’s no time to regret! Yet thinking about the past, sometimes I feel like I could’ve been more reckless and overthink less.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

See above : )

What is your latest project about?

It’s a photographic book called Cartographies, published by Humboldt books. A series of photographs depicting everyday drapery on clothes of passers-by in the streets of Manhattan, New York.

What are you researching at the moment?

Like everyone, I’m researching on different subjects for a possible new work. Current topics range from ‘impossible objects’ to the topic of ‘death’.

What can you not work without?

I’m afraid I’d be in a hard time without a computer. Though it would be a great exercise trying to avoid it.

What challenges have you faced working in your industry?

Many, from people turning down proposals to people trying to pay you as little as possible. Yet that’s stuff that happens to anyone, so through time I managed to find my path and in the end, there’s always someone who will believe in your work or simply recognize it adequately.

What are you hoping for in 2021?

I guess we all have the same hope.

Share a song with us, what are you listening to at the moment?

Flyby Vfr by Slee Mask.

Louis De Belle (b. 1988 in Milano) studied at the Politecnico di Milano and Bauhaus–Universität Weimar. His photographic projects have been published by The Washington Post, The Independent and Libération, among others. He published Cartographies (Humboldt books), Disappearing Objects (bruno), Besides Faith and Failed Dioramas (LUCIA Verlag). His series Cartographies has been included by Joel Meyerowitz in the latest edition of Bystander: A History of Street Photography (Lawrence King Press). Exhibitions in galleries, festivals and museums include: Triennale di Milano, KINDL Center for Contemporary Art Berlin, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Offprint at Paris Photo, Tieranatomisches Theater der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Milano Design Week, Malmö Fotobiennal, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Eindhoven Design Week, The New York Photo Festival, SVA Flatiron Gallery New York, D&AD Awards and The Royal Albert Hall in London. He lives between Berlin and Milano.