While pursuing her graduate degree at the School of Fine Arts in Paris, Estelle Hanania spent her free time in the photo lab, experimenting with the large-scale color prints for which she has become renowned. She decided to pursue a career behind the lens and the payoff was immediate : a month after receiving her degree, Hanania won the photo prize at the 2006 Hyères Festival.
Since then, her photographs have appeared in Vice, The Wire, Exit, Sang Bleu and Capricious, among others, and she has been commissioned by fashion brands including Maison Martin Margiela, Opening Ceremony, Damir Doma, Issey Miyake and Zucca.
Her pictures brings us in a parallel and fantasy world, the same world you’re going when you’re listening to Tchaikovsky’s Swan lake.
Full of grace, her creatures seem to be there for ages, and we’re witness of an incredible scene through Hanania’s eyes. Documentaries is an artistic form that inspires her a lot, it reality has a stronger impact on her and when it is directed by an inspired person that can be amazingly strong.
The sharp realness of her photographs makes a startling contrast to the ethereality of their subjects : burning hands, glittery crystals, spookily-real human scarecrows, and men dressed as eery, totem-like birds.
It seems that she is searching for a form language to reconnect with the ancestors, trying to get back to the origins. A primary language which is hidden inside everyone of us, but which we have forgotten, finding the magic in the common things, with a certain naivety of a childish glance.
She likes to be in an unknown environment and loose her mark for a while to get that innocent and fresh look. Fortunately this position seems to suit her, she’s still entertained and has an huge inquiring mind, so she’s not giving up this naive look and will surprised us a lot more.