Single by Fabrice Poussin

Interview with Fabrice Poussin

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University, Rome, Georgia. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and more than a dozen other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River magazine and more than sixty other publications.

Erin Ollila: What’s the story behind Single?

Fabrice Poussin: I was in New Mexico for seven weeks, and of course, heard of White Sands National Monument. I was working evenings, and decided to take every morning to discover the sites. In the end I spent some 30 hours (on different days) walking the sands, and looking for images I had seen before in books. I wanted to capture the beauty of solitude, and that is what I found with many of the plants there. This is one of these examples.

Erin Ollila: One of our contributors said, “There’s a lot of motion in the foreground that I find compelling, particularly because of the tension between that motion and the looming stillness of the sky/that cloud.” Were you planning on the juxtaposition of stillness and tension when you took this picture? 

Fabrice Poussin: I don’t know that we ever plan anything. That said, I was looking for the motion of the sand waves, as the sands in fact do move. I shot with a maxim f-stop so I could catch that depth. Most of all that is what I wanted to capture, the depth, mystery and power of the stillness of the scene. 

Erin Ollila: What made you submit this in black-and-white?

Fabrice Poussin: Shots are also very dramatic in color at White Sands, whether they are of the blue skies, and white sands, or of the white clouds and white sands. I believe the scenes can be much more dramatic in black and white, and I believe this specific shot most likely due to the feeble appearance of the plant, show that feeling of estranged solitude even better.

Erin Ollila: What about photography speaks to you? Do you work in any other creative mediums?

Fabrice Poussin: I always look for the detail. That could be a rusty nail on an old door, or the fallen petal of a flower. I aim to show simple scenes to share the feeling that moved me in the first place, be it colors, simple geometric shapes, abandoned objects. I would like for the viewer to ask themselves what the image may have meant to someone else (not me), who may have lived there, left something behind, perhaps felt a certain sadness. The intention is to provide a sense of catharsis to the viewer.  I also write and publish poetry, have written and publishes novels, and even tried my hands at oil painting at one point.

Erin Ollila: What is your workspace like?

Fabrice Poussin: My workplace takes on different shapes: indoors, in the studio, and it is sometimes neat sometime avery messy. There is also the office, where I do most of my computer and printing work. And last but not least in the world, as much of it as I can get to.

Erin Ollila: What inspires an idea? How do you take an idea from inception to creation?

Fabrice Poussin: At times the idea is inspired by works I have found in books, often I simply try things until something looks appealing. In the studio I may decide to work with flowers, vegetables or books. Then I met see an object I did not plan on using, and once I have tried it I realize it adds to the image, and then I include it. One could say that I let myself be guided through the process by the environment.

Erin Ollila: How has your artwork evolved over time? What have been the most challenging obstacles to overcome in your work as an artist?

Fabrice Poussin: I would say that my work has become a lot more cleaner, a lot more focused, although it keeps on evolving. The greatest challenge is to realize that it seems there is always someone who sees something I have not seen, and wish I had.

Erin Ollila: Are you working on any projects currently that you’d like to share with our readers?

Fabrice Poussin: Indeed I have been working on a project with frozen things. I have in fact taken objects which I have placed in water, and photographed. I have also worked on a found object series, using an old window I discovered by chance in an abandoned barn.

Erin Ollila: If you could turn the world onto one artist, who would it be?

Fabrice Poussin: That may be a cliche, but at the moment I would have to say Ansel Adams.

Erin Ollila: What’s the name of your favorite book, author, or poet, and why is this book (or person) so close to your heart?

Fabrice Poussin: That is the easiest question: “The Flowers of Evil,” by Charles Baudelaire. His poetry is unbelievably precise. I also wrote my dissertation on the poems.  He has a sad, but very accurate view of our modern days.  

Erin Ollila (née Corriveau) is an emotional archaeologist who graduated from Fairfield University’s MFA program with a concentration in creative nonfiction. Her writing has been published in Lunch Ticket, Revolution House, Paper Tape, (em): A Review of Text and Image, RedFez, and other awesome literary journals. Her blog, Reinventing Erin, is her outlet for ruminating on the minutiae of everyday life.