Noémie Goudal is a French photographer living and working in London. She works at the intersection of photography and sculpture, reforming the landscape into a place between reality and imagination. Originally studying Graphic Design, she completed a Master’s at the Royal College of Art, London.
Noémie is inspired by the history of science, in particular geology and optics. Her research process is slow and thoughtful, culminating in interventions in the landscape. She uses planned sculptural elements such as wooden structures with prints, cables and mirrors to play with the space. The final large-scale images reveal elements of their making, challenging the viewer’s sense of reality. In these strange, ambiguous structures and places we are asked to question our relationship to space and our perceptions of the world.
In Station II (2015), an eerie globe seems to hover above rolling mountains, tethered by only the finest thread to a platform just visible at the bottom edge of the images. Within the globe, we can see the outline of the squares that create its shape. It seems at once to be solid and fragile.
In the Telluris series (2017), wooden squares are stacked precariously together in different formations. They recall mountains or buildings and cast harsh shadows in a flat, never-ending landscape. The images are the third installment of an ongoing four-part series which playfully raises up and deconstructs the idea of the mountain.
Noémie’s work plays with both our perception of space and of photography. Using delicate black and white imagery or a desaturated, almost monochrome, palette, we are lulled into thinking that the images present a continuation of the deadpan typologies of the 1980s and 90s. In a visual culture where perfection is easily achieved by digital retouching, here we can see the stands and cables. Our vision is not allowed to be complacent; these are images that challenge you each time you look anew.
Noémie’s approach renders her one of the most distinctive women in photography today. In her own words: “… for me, making an image means that I create a stage where several moments come together. It’s not like the ‘decisive moment’ of Henri Cartier-Bresson. I look at it differently: for me an image is a place that you can visit and revisit. It isn’t a place that you capture for a second, it’s a place you can live in.”