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We have discovered Claire Guarry through Instagram, touched by her photos, snapshots of childhood, captured with a mix of joy, sweet melancholy and freedom. A window, too, on the Californian spaces and always with a 80's touch. We didn’t need more to ask Claire to shoot our last campaign. And take the opportunity to interview her. Portrait.
Hello Claire, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
Hello! My name is Claire Guarry, I am a photographer, French - from a small village in the South West of France - and I live in San Francisco with my partner (who is Argentinian and grew up in Chile) and with our three children Lou, Elión and Anton.
As a photographer, you work a lot with the children’s world, what do you like about this universe?
I started this type of photography almost by accident; by simply documenting the childhood of my children, before making it my job. I love the raw and authentic side of childhood, its contradictions, its roughness and the timelessness of its beauty. Capturing childhood is also a way of stopping time, everything is in movement during this period of time, it's intense and sweet at the same time.
You have a very recognizable universe (which we love), with a 80's touch, can you tell us about your inspirations?
Thank you so much! I was myself a child in the 80s (I was born in 1981) and my father who used to restore antique furniture and used to take a polaroid picture of each piece when it was finished ...
And in between two photos of furniture, he took pictures of me: spontaneous, no-frills shots of everyday life - we lived in the countryside - on which I often appeared disheveled, not perfect at all - although still styled by my mom who has an undeniable taste in fashion.
I think in a way those photos, those moments were an influence.
And then I think we always feel a bit of the melancholy of our own childhood, without idealizing it, and I'm very nostalgic in a way.
I love things and images that tell a story, which beyond the beauty of their imperfections, make us “feel something”.
You, your husband and your 3 children live in San Francisco, and you have also lived in Barcelona and Buenos Aires, what impact does this mix of cultures have on your daily life and on your children?
This is a tricky question, as it is our way of living.
For the record, each of our children was born in a different country: Lou in the United States, Elión in France and Anton in Argentina!
At home we speak French and Spanish, we struggle a little (a lot) to avoid the children speaking English when we are at home. They are never quite sure what to say when you just ask them where they are from ...
But even it is a bit of a cliché, it is undeniably a wealth, a source of openness, which does not go without sacrifices since we live far from our families in particular, not to mention this feeling of being from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Could you tell us what your daily life looks like?
My everyday life, like all of us, has been completely transformed since last year.
Our children have not been to school since March 2020 so they are an integral part of my daily life, almost full time. We live by the ocean, which has been and continues to be almost essential ...
We were rather nomads, we used to travel very often, whether it was locally in our van for short road trips or by plane to the other side of the world; we have become much more sedentary.
I spend a lot of time at home!
I work when everyone is asleep and plan photoshoots mostly during weekends, which I also like to spend discovering or rediscovering unique places here or spotting shooting locations.
You are also renovating an old cottage by the ocean, can you tell us more about this project?
We moved into this old cottage built on the dunes in 1905… in March 2020!
It was, and still is, brand new and a little bit crazy for us who have always been renters and without ties.
The children have lived in a very large number of houses!
We stumbled upon this place by chance and despite the amount of work to be done, we went for it. It is a project of which I honestly do not see the end but it is a unique adventure : to be able to develop a home which looks like us, to imagine ourselves in a place for years, to restore its beauty while shaping it to our taste.
Mom, of two boys and a girl, what values do you want to hand over to them?
I believe that young children have inner values that deserve our respect ...
They know what they want, what they like, what is right, they know how to make themselves heard (unless they have been taught to keep quiet early on), to share and take care of others and nature. They are not ashamed, they are honest and don’t try to fit into a mold.
They have an unlimited capacity for wonder.
Above all, I try to make sure that I protect and cultivate these inner values, while showing them as much as I can how much I trust them.
I sincerely believe in a child’s natural knowledge, in their instinctive desire to learn, to “grow”.
And then lately, the time we live in makes me encourage them to participate in the house, to learn how to cook, to make a fire in the wood stove, etc.
I would have done my job if they trust in themselves and in humanity, if they continue to marvel and rise up.
How do they get along with each other?
They are extremely connected; it is a deep love strewn with storms… Lou (9 years old) and Elión (almost 8 years old) are almost inseparable; as for Anton (3 years old), he is the youngest as they used to be.
What relationship do you have with them? What are your favorite activities with them?
We have a strong relationship, sweet too, which is also strewn with storms.
Being a mother is not so smooth!
With them, I like to walk and discuss, to cook, to listen to their stories and to tell them mine, to put on the music a little too loud and to dance (or not), to go on an adventure, to watch the sun setting on the ocean, reading, making crazy plans, getting off the beaten track, sharing an endless 4pm break.
Your favorite places near your home?
Oh there are many! Ocean Beach, San Francisco Beach.
The whole city! Particularly Haight Ashbury, the hippie district with incredible Victorian houses, where the summer of love was born, or even Mission and its colorful streets, its strong history, its restaurants.
The Golden Gate park, San Francisco's immense lung with giant trees, which ends at the edge of the ocean.
West Marin, on the other side of the famous Golden Gate Bridge: its breathtaking landscapes and small towns by the waves.
Highway 1, an iconic road that starts in San Francisco and runs along the entire California coast.
There would be so many more!
Your favorite time of day?
Every day is different! In the current context I would say when I have a moment alone with my partner, enjoying a coffee or a moment of calm and silence ... I also manage to grant myself a bath about once a week and it is undeniably a moment that I cherish.
Your favorite Minois product?
I particularly like the Dry oil and Light water.
Thank you Claire <3
All pictures are shot by @claireguarry - pictures 3,4,5,6,7 from our FW20/21 campaign