Name: Coten. First name: Scarlett. Age: 60 years old Profession: photographer. Why she? Because the week of photography ends Monday, November 12, in Paris.
Nathalie Burrus: There was Paris Photo, the Salon de la photo, Fotofever. It was loaded for you Scarlett?
Yes, these are very important moments for photographers. We see gallerists, other photographers, of course, directors of festivals, or photo schools. It’s a bit of a whirlwind, and you have to try to get something out of it. And besides, this year, there was a very memorable moment in Paris Photo, at the Grand Palais.
Yes, for women.
We did a performance, from a manifesto. We went on stage, talked, chanted “Look at us, take your time, listen to us, it’s time”.
Why this movement?
But because women photographers are clearly invisible! We must know that we represent barely 20% in terms of exposure. While we are 60% of graduates of art schools.
[Behind her brown mane, Scarlett Coten gets upset, the tone goes up slightly.]
I did the photo school of Arles. And I had to wait until 2016, so my 58 years, to have a little recognition, you realize!
Her separation, a liberation in her work
[In 2016, she won the prestigious Leica Award. A consecration, for a magnificent and ambitious work, on masculinity, entitled “Mectoub”. For 4 years, she surveyed 7 countries, following the Arab Spring. This work she is now pursuing in the United States. But Scarlett Cohen’s life has not always been that way.]
For 15 years, I was with a painter. I took care of our child and his career. Another life. It was after the separation that I freed myself.
[And there, the other fight started. That of a woman, in the photograph.]
I hear so many festival directors say, “I do not choose according to the sex of the person, I choose according to the quality of the work”. So, does that mean, we’re all nuts, we women photographers?
[A word to define it? Warrior. The battle of Scarlett Coten right now is to find some money, to finish her powerful work on masculinity, in Trump’s country.]