[O]ur favourite photographer on Instagram right now is Gab Bois. Her feed of macro close-ups of the human body, usually affixed with a series of piercings (including a Chanel grill), vibe with us all in the right ways. In the current photography zeitgeist that demands we look at everything all at once, it’s a relief, and sometimes a bit disturbing, to hone in on the beauty of details.
We asked her about how she takes her photos, the validity of Instagram as gallery space and Chloë Sevigny. Follow her @Gabbois.
Hi Gab, what do you like about shooting close ups?
I’d like to give a better answer than this, but it’s mainly due to the fact that shooting close ups is what my camera and small work space allow me to do best. I use a small point-and-shoot camera, the kind that you usually bring on vacation, which I bought at a discount store. It has a really good macro mode, but it doesn’t let me take quality photos at a larger angle. Other than that, I find that close ups have more of an impact because the attention of the viewer is concentrated on one precise thing, and this restricts any distracting elements from being present in the image.
What appeals to you about piercings?
I like that piercings often make people uncomfortable. I enjoy playing with this sort of uneasiness that causes them to say, “ouch” or “gross” when looking at these images. A few years ago, I had a phase where I would often pierce different parts of my face, and even though I don’t wear those piercings anymore, some of the holes never healed properly. This has allowed to me to try all sorts of things with my photography, without it ever physically hurting me.
Have you ever had an injury during a shoot?
I’ve never been seriously hurt during a shoot, but some photos were really physically uncomfortable to do. I have had a few accidents where I’ve broken wine glasses and some of my favourite jewelry though.
What’s your favourite slogan?
“Time invested into yourself is never time waste.” I find that a lot of my generation have the tendency to define themselves based on the people they surround themselves with, and use those people to fill a hole in themselves. I think that everyone would benefit from being able to be more comfortable with themselves while alone, and by investing themselves in personal projects.
What would you like to see more on on Instagram?
I would really like it if people learned how to credit their sources when posting art online, and that they understand the importance of doing so. More often than not, I come across accounts who have stolen my images, and it can be really exhausting to constantly keep up with trying to be credited properly. I would also like to see more original content, because I find that Instagram is a platform that adheres more to curators than it does to actual artists.
Do you think social media, especially Instagram, is a valid gallery space?
I think that Instagram is sort of like an art gallery, but perhaps with less impact. I don’t think that people give the same kind of attention to a picture that’s in front of them in real life as they do to one that’s on their screen along with 1000 others. However, I think that it’s a platform that allows you to connect with others easily, and it helps creative work gain recognition fairly quickly.
What’s your favourite movie?
It would be really hard to name just one. I really like movies from the Nouvelle Vague era of french filmmaking, and their aesthetics. I find it’s incredible to see how standards of beauty have evolved, and I really admire actresses like Anna Karina, Jeanne Moreau and Jean Seberg. I love how this time period in film both gets across heavy topics while still maintaining a certain naivety, while equally representing this vision of love that’s very similar to my own.
Do you have any phobias?
Not really, these sorts of things have never really bothered me.
Do you have a style icon?
Definitely Chloe Sevigny. I really admire her audacity when it comes to style, and the fact that she’s able to pull off an incredible variety of different styles in a very genuine way. She’s a woman who represents a type of success and independence that really resonates with me.