01-01-2019

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Tuesday, January 1st 2019

Here we are again. My favourite day of the year. The most inspiring of all. The one day where I get to start a multitude of yearly projects. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with dates. I guess it goes hand in hand with memories. And that’s exactly what Im doing, here and as an artist — I create memories. Memories of our time. Of my time. When I see how quickly I tend to forget things, I decided to write them down. For very selfish reasons. I think forgetting my own life is one of my biggest fears. My grand-mother who doesn’t remember that her dear husband died 20 years ago and still expects him to visit her soon doesn’t help in any way. What if I was next? This is the main reason why I want to keep track of my own history. Just to make sure it’s never forgotten. Not even by me.

 
 
 
 
 
 

I’m sat at the dining table (my grand-parents one, in fact) listening to Future Holograms. With You, on repeat. Still the only song which makes me feel both happy and nostalgic at the same time. I was listening to it just as much this time last year as I’ve been in the past weeks. I was actually watching some footage from the Miu Miu SS18 campaign the other day, when the song was on — my only music request during the four days of production. That video puts a huge smile on my face every single time I watch it. It’s basically my highlight of 2018 soundtracked by my favourite tune.

 
© Ophelie Rondeau — still from the footage (2018)

© Ophelie Rondeau — still from the footage (2018)

© Ophelie Rondeau — still from the footage (2018)

© Ophelie Rondeau — still from the footage (2018)

 

Today is a special day also because it’s been 10 years since I moved to London. I remember coming here for what I thought would be a long NYE weekend — turns out I never left. I never took my train back to Paris. Instead, I quit my job over the phone, and moved from my apartment/flatshare that way too. I lost all my belongings in the process (and only had a couple of things in my suitcase at the time as I intended to buy a lot of “English clothes”). I deeply fell in love with London and could never leave. It took me 8 months to visit Paris again.

10 years later and I’m still here. I did move to Berlin in 2016/2017. I had been saying ever since I was 14 that, when I’ll be older, I’d live in Paris, followed by Berlin, then London, and finally New-York. I’m now 31 and have lived in three of these cities. (self-congratulating myself interiorly right now) (also crying at how fast time goes by). Berlin was ok. My apartment was only a 7€ ride away from the Helmut Newton Foundation, or five stops on the U9. That place has been a great source of inspiration and most certainly what I miss the most about the city (and the fotoautomats). But Berlin is definitely not as good and resourceful as London. Which is why I moved back, after two years.

Shit, I think I’m wrong. I can’t have moved to London 10 years ago already. I met Nathan on May 18th, 2009 at Le Baron in Paris, and since I moved to London partly ‘for’ him (ok, exclusively for him), it can only have been 9 years. This time next year, I’ll be celebrating properly.

 
 
 
© Ophelie Rondeau — #ophelieandthegirls for Nylon Japan (2017)

© Ophelie Rondeau — #ophelieandthegirls for Nylon Japan (2017)

© Ophelie Rondeau — the only photo I was ever allowed to take inside the Museum Für Fotografie (2016)

© Ophelie Rondeau — the only photo I was ever allowed to take inside the Museum Für Fotografie (2016)

 

Talking about Nathan, I wonder how he is. It’s quite crazy that after all these years I still care. It’s not like he has been the most respectful of all, but he’s the only who has ever truly apologised for his behaviour. I’ve always felt so connected to him and I’m very fond of him. I think that’s because he’s the reason why I came to London the very first time, November 28th 2009, and I would never be where I am today if I hadn’t met him. Who knows if I would even be a photographer. He has also highly contributed to the person I am today. He has introduced me to so much music, starting with Chromatics and Pylon, and of course Philip Glass. How many times have we listened to Glassworks together, laying around in his hotel rooms. Nathan was my first foreign love and actually the only American guy I ever dated. He made me want to learn English and become bilingual. He gave me a taste of a life I wanted to have and unconsciously brought me a step closer to my career goals. I’m not too sure what our last exchange was, or even when it was. I think it may have been more than two years ago before I moved to Berlin. He had just bought himself an instant camera and was sending me self-portraits. Actually now I recall sending him photos from my photoshoot at the Squash Centre, so it’s been three years. What I do remember clearly is that he never replied to my last messages — the first time he ever did that. I just hope he is ok. Can’t quite believe he’s gonna turn 40 this year. August 5th, 2019. I’ll definitely send him a card then. In fact, I should wish him a happy new year. I don’t usually do that, but what wouldn’t I do for Nathan.

Ok, sent.
Every time I contact him after a while, I wonder whether he changed his number or if it will still go trough. Luckily, it’s marked as delivered. Could still be someone else though. So far Nathan has had the same number since we first met — I probably had six. Fingers crossed he hasn’t changed since. Makes me want to listen to Glassworks again. Music always has the power to bring me back right where I was at particular times. I get to be the person I was at the time and I like that. I love nostalgia.

 
 
 
 

He responded — seeing his name popping up on the screen still makes my heart rate rapid. I’ll have to think about what to say. Right now I need to focus on starting this year properly.

In other news, yesterday I reactivated my instagram account. I felt like I should post a selection of my favourite photographs from 2018. To stay in the loop. I didn’t create much work this year (well, last year) and explained why via story. I just didn't mention the anxiety part — I don’t quite feel comfortable admitting that I have been hugely affected by it since my first panic attack in April. I feel like clients won’t want to hire me anymore. So I chose to keep that quiet.

 
 
 
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Moreover, what should matter is my work. Not my health. Artists should be recognised for their work, not their personality or personal problems. That’s often my issue with social media. I know my job requires that I should be on instagram, and indeed when I am playing the social media game properly, client requests start to flow in. And they’d flow in even more if I posted selfies. While when I’m offline, I get nothing. No interest. It’s like I don’t exist anymore. And it’s a huge problem for me because I’m not good at entertaining people on a daily basis. I’m not good at documenting my every moves — when I do something, I’m usually so into it that I forget to take a photo or make a video to let the world know that I’m doing it. When I do remember to do that, I end up wasting so much time trying to do it right, being the perfectionist that I am. I often feel like an instagram loser because I don’t use it to the best of its ability. The algorithm is driving me mad also, and definitely pushing me away. But the worst of all is how it affects people’s mentality. Perhaps one day I’ll talk about the subject in depth but right now I really can’t be bothered. There is too much to say and I want to say it right. Meanwhile I’m gonna keep my account online for a little while. Eventually I’ll get someone to curate it for me — I’ve been contemplating this idea for weeks and think it might be a smart move. I’ll be on instagram, yet I won’t be. Sounds like a dream.

 
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It’s 11:30pm and I’ve done nothing today apart from writing here and doing some research for my new project between two episodes of Call My Agent. I have a lot to say considering I haven’t wrote anything in months. It’s also always like this at the beginning of a journal. I write long paragraphs, hoping that’s what I’ll be doing every single day of the year. But then there’s always a time where I don’t have time, or I forget. And again, being perfectionist as fuck, I hate missing a day. Always the reason number one why I stop my journals. I used to fill in the missing days, sometimes a week later, pretending I was writing on the actual day. But I couldn’t always remember every detail. That’s why writing daily is super important. And I intend to do that this year, starting today. I can imagine the old version of me, in 30-40 years time, being thankful to the young/current version of me for having taken the time to write down my thoughts, stories and experiences, regardless of how relevant or interesting they are. Knowing myself, I will be as delighted as I will be amused to read all of the stupidities I am saying today.

Today is my last day off — tomorrow, I’ll be back to work properly.

 
 

Ophelie RondeauComment