Monday 6 June 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

Born in 1961 in Stockholm, Sweden, Blaise Reutersward is a renowned fashion photographer who worked for publications such as Vogue (8 different editions of the magazine), Interview, Glamour (France), BIG, Bon, Condé Nast Traveller UK, Condé Nast Sport or Wallpaper. He also made many advertisement works for Cacharel, Chaumet, FCUK, Harrods, Lancôme, Hermes, Sonia Rykiel, Nina Ricci, Saab, Toshiba or Yves Rocher and also directed a few commercials.

Besides his work as a fashion photographer, he also takes fine arts pictures and has exposed his work in numerous exhibitions: since 1996 he showed his photography in 9 solo exhibitions (8 in Sweden and one in United States) and participated to no less than 15 group exhibitions that traveled from Sweden to Japan, through France, Switzerland, Germany and USA. The official press release of his first exhibition in America in 2006 as well as his professional CV state that his fine art photography is inspired by the quieting moments he experiences in the many flights and hours in transit he spends as a fashion photographer travelling the world. His exhibition Atmospheres, in 2006, thus presented a lot of beautiful and peaceful sky lanscapes, for instance. His photographs (including fashion photographs) have an organic, natural quality and have somewhat of a peaceful, intimate and mysterious atmosphere at the same time, as you can see from his portfolios on his official website (http://www.blaisereutersward.net/) About his work and the different grounds he explores, he says: « I’m not convinced that there’s a pattern to follow [in pursuit of success]. For me, it’s all about dedication and the extent to which you are willing to set your mind free, and nurse your intuition. This is what I’ve done. Be true to your art. Share with partners and friends. Shared happiness is double happiness. »

He was introduced to Tori by her hair stylist Cim Mahoney, who’s one of his dear friend and close collaborator (Blaise and him worked on almost every shoot he made since the early 2000) at the time when she was looking for her photographer for her new album, American Doll Posse. When Blaise flew to Cornwall to shoot the pictures, the recording of the album was not yet complete and before they work on the dolls and their personification, Tori had him sit in her recording studio and played every song of the record for him on the piano and keyboards. « It was just the two of us and of course one of my strongest musical experiences ever. This session is deeply planted inside my head. All through the shoot and forever. » he said to the fanzine Little Blue World in their summer issue of 2007. The rest of his work consisted not only in taking the pictures but also working closely with Tori and her team on the look and make-up of the girls. « I am always very involved in all aspects regarding lay out, hair, make up, backgrounds styling and so on. That’s a lot of fun, especially when there are highly professional people involved, as on this shoot. » The background we see on the pictures is a wall in a farm near Tori’s home in Cornwall. « I was covered with bites, and my clothes smelled like happy pigs; it was probably the most organic location I’ve ever shot in. » remembers the photographer. Reutersward is also the one who had the idea to take the picture of Tori holding a Bible in her hand, blood dripping from below her dress along her leg in front of a different background and suggested to take it in front of a house just up the street of the singer’s home studio. It is also interesting to know that, like for To Venus and Back, Tori kept her label, Epic Records, out of the project and hired Reutersward on her own terms. When she turned them the album, the whole work (songs and imagery) had already been completed without them interfering. It is thus, as she pointed out in interviews, a « home album » and her last work under Epic Records, that she left in May 2008.

Blaise Reutersward currently lives and works in Paris.

Note: Blaise quotes in this article are from the Little Blue World summer issue of 2007, in which they interviewed him. All other informations concerning Blaise come mainly from his official website where you can view more of his work: http://www.blaisereutersward.net/