The female body in the spotlight in “Rosa Canina”

The Vaud photographer Mathilda Olmi exhibits portraits of female nudes at the Galerie Strates in Lausanne, listed in the book “Rosa canina” published by Editions FP&CF.

Photos of naked and free female bodies, in the shadows or in the light, in natural or reflected poses, but without the issue of seduction: this is the subject of the work of photographer Mathilda Olmi in “Rosa Canina”. Feminist and committed, the Vaudoise thus offers a new approach to the female body, in complete intimacy and kindness.

This series of female nudes of all ages and sizes are put into perspective by landscapes where vegetation takes up residence with strength and finesse.

In the eponymous book, the photographs are accompanied by texts by Julia Widmann and Myriam Olmi, the photographer’s friend and mother respectively. The points of view of these two women, contrasting, tell the body and the injunctions it undergoes in our society still tinged with patriarchy; they also raise the question of the place of the feminine.

From rosebush to feminism

In this title “Rosa Canina” also hides a scent of witchcraft which is not without echoing the essayist Mona Cholllet, from whom the photographer is inspired. Mathilda Olmi explains that she chose this title because the rosa canina (also called dog rose Where hedge rose) is “Rosa Canina” (2022), Mathilda Olmi. FP&CF Editions. [Mathilda Olmi – DR]a wild, thorny plant that grows everywhere. “It is a plant that cannot be domesticated and which evokes witchcraft, she recalls. This choice was also a way of making the link with ecofeminist thoughts, which draw a parallel between the domination of women by men, and the domination of nature by men.”

Feminist commitments that are important for the two women in their early thirties. “I grew up with very patriarchal issues, very centered on the body, appearance and success, laments Julia. It is only today that I am trying to emancipate myself from them.”

Change our view of our body

In “Rosa Canina”, the woman’s body is thus placed back in the heart of nature and the world, without it being an object of desire: the body can now be used by the woman as she sees fit.

“I wanted to bring back some sweetness in the way we look at ourselves, explains Mathilda Olmi. I started photographing my friends and I realized how much we are all super complexed. J I wanted to show them that they were beautiful, to break this violence in the way we look at ourselves.”

The photography sessions went like a chat, recalls Julia Widmann, with no sense of intrusion despite the nudity of the models.

Interview by Florence Grivel

Web adaptation: Charlotte Frossard

The “Rosa Canina” exhibition is on view at the Strates Gallery in Lausanne until June 2, 2022, and to be discovered in the eponymous book published by FP&CF Editions.

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The female body in the spotlight in “Rosa Canina”

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