Chochana Rosso

Chochana Rosso has been a photographer at the JERGON office in Berlin since 2022. Chochana Rosso graduated in graphic design from the Higher Institute of Applied Arts in 2014, with a specialization in publishing, and is 29 years old.

Her graduation project, an experimental photo book about the incarceration of women and their bodies in Parisian brothels, before its official closure in 1946, bears witness to her obsession with the body, nudity and research into femininity from the beginning.

My mother gave me my first camera for my 14th birthday. I built myself a photographic diary when I wasn’t writing one: family, vacations, objects, exhibitions, animals… and my first self-portrait. In 2020 I found this first photo of myself.

We are on holiday at my great uncle’s house on the Ile-de-Ré. Upstairs, probably in a bedroom, there are two large windows in the middle with a chest of drawers, decorative items on it and a mirror hanging on the wall. The photo was not taken completely in front of the mirror, which appears to be tilted. But it is centered and surrounded by windows with almost symmetrical curtains. You see almost nothing of me in the reflection of the mirror. The flash from my automatic camera completely hides my face and only my shoulders are visible.

I didn’t take pictures for about four years, then I worked as a graphic designer in a Parisian boutique. The only photos I take are rare and have the effect of memories. Although I no longer build anything with photography, it remains in my life.

Especially when my maternal grandfather passed away in 2018. When I go to see him for the last time in the hospital, I have a small camera in my bag. But I can’t figure it out. Sometimes I think back to that photo that doesn’t exist: his blotchy, stocky hand with strong, muscular fingers in mine, pale and smooth.

The shock of the loss of this man who had been very present in my life and my discomfort at work led me to my first passion for photography and the desire, even the necessity, to create.

Since then she has explored the understanding of sexuality and the appropriation of the body through a series of self-portraits, dance videos and paintings.

In addition to this strong line, she is developing a project in which she examines the intimacy of the creative process of emerging artists she portrays. Out of a fascination for the works of Hervé Guibert and Jean Cocteau who shared their lives with the artists of their time and immortalized them in photos, drawings and/or writings, she wanted to recreate this exchange. For example, Natacha Paschal and Camille Vignaud open the doors of their studios to him, and present their work and their stories to him. It is the same with the couple photographer and filmmaker Félix Cornu and Justine Abitbol, ​​who express in their work how they work together and influence each other.

The workspace of artists says a lot about their way of creating, seeing the world, their references. It’s their intimacy and, in my opinion, it represents the inside of their mind. All the small objects that make up their studios fascinate me. Being able to exchange from artist to artist is something I find essential in a society where we often feel in competition with each other. And I think it’s important to share his artistic approach outside the frame of an exhibition. The artist’s work is constant and part of him, it matures and evolves with him. I find that fascinating.

/fɹəˈdaɪti/aphrodite)

From my beginnings in photography I had a fascination for working on the body. Trained by a mother dance teacher, my approach to the naked body in particular is naturally free and pure. I see it as a means of expression and an external representation of our emotions. It is a medium in itself.

Revealing my body is an important step and confirmation for me. The nude allows me to materialize my emotions and convey my artistic vision. I use my body to symbolize my wounds to better understand, accept and little by little take ownership of my body. Photography is my path to healing and her journal.

Like a journal, each photo represents a thought, a pain… a part of me. I build this intimate and autobiographical visual collection around my disappointments in love, my sexual relationships, the absence of my partners, my hopes and I am researching the understanding of my sexuality and the appropriation of my body through my self-portraits . The discretion, or even the absence, of representation from my partners is essential to tell these remote relationships, especially digitally experienced. The lack of daily life among these short-lived lovers caused, among other things, visual frustration. I missed the opportunity to take private pictures of each other. It created holes in my journal that I could only fill with the selfies they sent me.

My different and varied researches and experiments (photographs, fanzines, videos, paintings) will lead me to a more general reflection on the way women are seen in society, through the eyes of men. Then I run into dictations and prejudices when I share my photos on social networks. Just as a naked female body is almost automatically sexualized, nudity appeals to men’s gaze or even because I do nude photography, I am considered a “man-eating” woman.

Through my fascination and my study of Greek mythology, I found a certain duality in the story of Aphrodite. It was a life force and its influence on sexuality was both positive (fertility) and negative (lust and desires). This duality remained entrenched in Aphrodite’s attributes for a long time, especially because of the circumstances of her birth. Indeed, the Greeks tell it this way: In the dark night, before the birth of the world, the mother goddess, Gaia, tired of copulating with Ouranos, persuades her son Kronos to perform for her. He cut off Ouranos’ genitals and threw them into the sea. From there, Aphrodite was born near the island of Cyprus. The goddess will retain several attributes, most notably her proximity to the sea and nature. Later, with the evolution of civilizations and the wars of conquest, the place of women in society will be marginalized. Moreover, the creation in literature and art of a male-dominated society will lead to a sexualization of the goddess. His interest will now be on his body, which will be fantasized and made available to men, and no longer on his power. I see in Aphrodite’s story all the differences women face in modern society with their bodies and their sexuality. Female sexual freedom is a source of pejorative judgments. So many contradictions and commandments that form my central reflection and that I apply to my own self-portraits.

I identified with the goddess and her manifestations: her connection to nature, her duality, her sexual freedom and her body. As well as his cursed loves and disappointments that motivate some of his actions. I am faced with the comments generated by my photos that make me question my sexual and intimate behavior with men and question my relationships. Through introspection, I try to face my shortcomings and identify my emotional flaws. Leaning on Aphrodite helps me understand the world around me, tame my sensitivities and obsessions, and learn how to heal from my disappointments.

I build my journal as an artist learning who she is and what it means to be a woman.

S*x Diary (2021-2022)

“It’s something very personal that I’ve never talked about seriously: my obsessions, my fascination with sex and its representation. Not a word in therapy, or against the people around me.

I have this obsession with bodies that are intertwined. The mix, the fusion of everything, the fun. And stay tuned to remember intimate moments. Pleasure of the flesh.

The texture of the skin, the smell, the warmth of the breath, fingers in the hair, the sounds of bodies touching, slapping and caressing each other, the softness of the lips, the warm taste of the saliva mixing, etc. .. flashes are made of details I remember: a tattoo, the sound of a breath in my ear, a whispered word, an eye contact I’m not used to…

This series is about memory flashes that I recreate from their memories through mine and the camera lens.”

This project in progress is about intimacy. More precisely, creating my intimacy through my memory. I imagine what men saw of me during sex and create my own version of their memories. I transcribe their looks through the camera, which becomes the man, and I want to create a new masculine view of my body through my own prism.

In the form of a diary I mix photos of my body, the traces of my/their memory, with photos of flowers and personal objects that represent me and evoke eroticism. This project is a sequel to the series /æfɹəˈdaɪti/ (Aphrodite) and focuses on discovering and experimenting around my sexuality.

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