Elsa Leydier

Elsa Leydier (1988, France) lives and works between France and Brazil. In her artistic and activist practice, she explores the limits of society through photography, focusing on diverting the political charge of iconic images. Her work challenges conventional representations and proposes ways to reclaim the dominant narratives of visual culture. Borrowing methodologies of ecofeminism, Leydier works with the notions of ecosystems, economies, climate, bodies, and social relations.  

Elsa Leydier graduated from École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles in 2015 and moved to Brazil right after. Her work was showcased in Colombia, the US, the Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, France and Japan. Recent exhibitions include Jeu de Paume outside-the-walls (Le Cellier, France), Festival Encontros da Imagem (Portugal), Festival Photo Climat (France), Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie – Fondation Manuel Rivera Ortiz (France), Atelier Noua (Norway), Hosoo gallery (Japan), among others. Leydier has been recognized as a finalist for several awards, including FOAM Talents (2020 and 2019), Prix Fisheye (2023), Dahinden – Photo Climat Award (2021), French national Photographic commission Image 3.0 (2020), the Mentorat Des Filles de la Photo (2020-2021).

The Disobediences (2023) is a project that refers to acts of resistance against the status quo. It challenges conventional norms and practices that perpetuate the exploitation of nature and women, and reflects on stereotypical depictions of both. With ecofeminism at the core of this project, it emphasises the need for ecological balance and gender equality. The Disobediences consists of five distinct parts, all echoing ecofeminism — ‘Flora Brasiliensis 3.0’, ‘Les Marques’, ‘Infinita’, ‘Always Freedom’ and ‘LUTOA’ — that collectively weave a network of resistance and hope. Read more about The Disobediences here

Transatlántica (2016-2019) comprises ‘Plátanos con Platino’, ‘Braços Verdes e Olhos Cheios de Asas’, and ‘Brazil: System Error (#elenão)’. The project refers to the environmental, social, and political injustices hidden beneath romanticised representations of the Latin American continent. The ‘postcard aesthetics’ is Leydier’s starting point for de-constructing dominant discourses and making clear the gap between stereotyped images and reality. The project is a reminder of the degree to which Amazon is glamorised by popular culture. In ‘Plátanos con Platino’, Elsa Leydier pays tribute to the region of Chocó, Colombia, in a series of strikingly sensorial photographs. It is a region mainly known for poverty but rich in biodiversity and breathtaking natural beauty – a fact often neglected by mainstream media. ‘Brazil: System Error (#elenão)’ serves as a political statement against stereotyping. The artist created glitches in images by inserting invectives pronounced by Jair Bolsonaro during his presidential campaign in 2018. Read more about Transatlántica here

In Heatwave (2019), Leydier investigates climate change through the lens of the wine-making industry. She created her rayograms, cameraless images, by placing vines on photosensitized paper and employing tainted materials used to protect champagne from adverse light effects as a filter. A poetic project to underscore the urgency to combat climate change. Read more about Heatwave here

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