“Combining maternity and a career is at the heart of women’s preoccupations in our society.”

How did you become a photographer? Would you define yourself as a one?

My experience of the world is closely linked to perspective, to gaze, to ways of seeing. The way we see establishes to some extent our place in the surrounding world. I often use images as metaphors, and my work is born of this confrontation with reality. I also work a lot with video, often using video stills that let time pass: the result is very photographic. Exhibiting is a fundamental experience: it is important for me to confront images, to confront their content as well as the object itself. My videos are often constructed as installations in their own right. I see exhibiting as a total experience: I prefer an exhibition space to a book, and this distances me from a certain type of photographic work in which publishing is the favoured space.

What drives you as a photographer?

My work comes into being in a quite organic way. Questions arising within my personal circle or from my experience direct my gaze towards the world and society.  My work lies in the back and forth between these questions. I always find it difficult to adopt a firm position in subjects of debate, and my work arises from this doubt. In this sense, video is very important, as it can – via movement – express an idea and its opposite. Creation allows me to apprehend the world and alterity by developing complex thinking, refusing the type of simplification that leads to radical or extreme viewpoints.  I prefer nuance.

Do you think there is such a thing as a ‘woman’s gaze’ in photography? Is this something you can relate to?

I accept that a woman’s perspective – whether a photographer or not – of life, of its priorities and commitments, can be different from that of a man. The relation created between the private and the public spheres is in this sense fundamental. Here, it is possible to acknowledge a more feminine perspective, but this is obviously a generalistion which leaves a space for all kinds of exception. To recognize such a gaze is to reduce individual gazes to a gender category, which makes no sense. But I would rather see the words – female and male – as two opposites, creating a space between them that is not empty, but made of subtleties. It would be a guessing game to imagine the gender behind a work.

Has being a woman influenced your work as an artist in any way? 

First and foremost, my status as a woman did not give rise to any particular issues. It’s rather as a woman artist and mother that certain questions later emerged, such as what kind of commitment these two roles implied. However, ultimately, I’m not sure that the world of art is any different from any other areas of life. Combining maternity and a career is at the heart of women’s preoccupations in our society. How do we reconcile the two and not neglect one for the other? Do we have to choose? The need to make a choice is the real difference between the experience of women and men. On the other hand, maternity has given me experiences that have enriched my artistic work.

Do you live off your art?

There have been periods when indeed I was able to live exclusively from my art and my art was my only activity. But photography has given me a greater flexibility and freedom to alternate my work with orders. I also teach, which I find to be a complementary and enriching activity.

Which authors have inspired you? Are there any women photographers among them?

At first, I was mainly inspired by painters: Edward Hopper, then Gerhard Richter among others. My aunt, Anna Miquel, who is a painter and producer of animated films, also greatly influenced me at the start of my work. I later discovered the videos of Shirin Neshat and the sculptures and installations of Mona Hatoum: their creative style develops an ambivalence of meaning that renders their works very powerful. They question, they denounce, but their style is extremely poetic. And their engagement is all the more forceful. Their works became very important for me later on.

Anna Malagrida


Born in Barcelona in 1970, Anna Malagrida lives and works in Paris. After studying journalism in Barcelona and graduating from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Photographie d’Arles, she has developed a photographic and video work of great coherence. Her gaze is often set on in-between spaces, limits and borders. The artist tackles societal subjects and questions our perception. Laureate of the Projet des Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in 2005, she was awarded a grant from the Fundación Arte y Derecho in 2006, and was the winner of the Carte Blanche PMU / Centre Pompidou in 2016. Exhibited in France and internationally (Spain, France, South Africa, Germany, Denmark…), her work has been included in numerous public and private collections (Centre Pompidou, Wolfsburg KunstMuseum, MAGASIN 3, Stockholm Konsthall, National Fund for Plastic Arts, MACBA in Barcelona, the MAPFRE Foundation, …).

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