The eye of Estelle Hanania

by Maike Moncayo,

The work of French photographer Estelle Hanania creates high impact. Beyond passive complacency,  her photos scratch on the surface in order to invite us to a universe ruled by unusual perspectives and mystery. Fascinated with the customs and rituals of different cultures and gifted with innate curiosity, Estelle sets her gaze upon the human body as a means of expression of the demonic, the ambiguous and social identity. Thereby, she articulates a language that points to the most primitive and, at the same time, sophisticated side of human condition.

After graduating in Fine Arts in Paris and winning the prestigious photography prize at the Hyères Festival in 2006, Estelle’s conceptual vision has been commissioned by some worldwide leading brands and publications. Among them, Maison Martin Margiela, Nike, Issey Miyake, Dazed Digital and NOWNESS, to name a few. Naturally,  we were very curious to see her choice of favourite photographs. Here is her spectacular selection.

PLH-estelle hanania

This photograph was shot in Bulgaria and depicts a winter tradition where men dress up as beasts in order to scare away the evil spirits. This man carelessly put his mask on the wet pavement, certainly waiting and smoking a cigarette. He was standing on parking lot and it was the very brutal vision of a bodiless head, which I liked. Usually, the men put on their masks last minute before the parade, it’s so heavy and they barely see anything in them. I counted 9 horns, 1 jaw, 4 bells and fur.

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I really like this group portrait for NIKE stadium I shot with stylist Sandra Berrebi. We wanted to create a fake Nike tribe and even though the image ended up not being selected by the brand it’s still one of my favorites.

novembre- estelle hanania

Another image from a fashion story I shot with stylist Anna Schiffel for Novembre Magazine. It was inspired by one of my personal series titled “Happy Purim” where you can see groups of sisters and brothers disguised during Purim (a jewish celebration). What I like about this image is using fashion as a pattern – showing fashion as a disturbing uniform. I also enjoyed having two real agency models and one of my friends, who is an artist and not a professional model.  I like this weird mix.

HP- Estelle hanania

This is one image from the “Happy Purim” series I mentioned above. This group was very impressive for me, since it combines everything I love: dolls, siblings, fake freckles, a lot of humor and ingenuousness. I like the striped tights, and above all I think it’s just perfect that one of the sisters is different from the others and breaks the almost too perfect group.   I think this group shows a great balance, posing in front of this very Londoner bricks wall there’s a fairy tale quality to this moment.