Known predominantly for her brooding fashion photography, Virginie Khateeb has several other strings to her artistic bow; the French image-maker, based in Paris, is a particular tour de force when it comes to portraiture, both of humans and of the natural landscape we inhabit.
Khateeb can make a photograph of a woman’s back tell a whole lifetime of stories, encourage a flock of disappearing birds to move the viewer to profound emotion, and turn a tangled web of telecom cables into a map of the human mind.
Her clean, minimal, black and white images dwell on an idea of beauty that is pure, raw and unspoiled; a welcome slice of calm among the deafening chaos. She is inspired by a face of freckles; a set of unpainted eyelashes; a polished shoe on an extended, suited leg; the soft nape of a neck; a solitary bird in a winter tree; a dying flower; a gap of light between a garden of trees; shoots peeping through the snow; the moon against a black backdrop of the night sky.
In 2015 she visited the vast marble quarries of Carrara in northern Italy, where she shot the faintly surrealist Deconstruction series for Yet Magazine. Snow-white smooth marble surfaces rise like giant’s steps towards the snowy white caps of the mountains above. But look closer and you’ll see cables, tiny trucks, minute ladders and impossibly small fences. The enormity of what you’re seeing becomes clear: we are but infinitely small specks in this world of huge, enormous, unimaginable wonder.