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Interview: Renée Jacobs

This month we caught up with Renée Jacobs, if you don’t know her you should. A photographer who has featured in i.D magazine, Vanity Fair France, Elle Italia, Playboy Italia (to name but a few) as well as all over various exhibitions, she has had a sell out book Renée Jacobs’ PARIS, which has since been re-released with her new book POLAROIDS, which we have got our hands on before it sells out.

So, tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into photography?

I’m an American lesbian photographer living with my wife in the paradise that is the
mountains of southwest France. When I’m not photographing, we run photo workshops
and a b&b out of our place. I started photographing many years ago, but I was a
photojournalist. That eventually morphed into photographing female nudes. Tough job,
but someone’s got to do it.

For any of our readers that would like to get into your profession, what advice would you give to them?

Everyone’s a photographer. Do it for yourself, your passion, your story.

What is your coming out story? Sorry, but everyone loves a coming out story.. 

I was a brand new civil rights/Constitutional litigator in Portland, Oregon. A playwright friend called me to tell me her lover had been fired from a two-week residency teaching Renaissance music to school kids because the school had seen her name on the posters for my friend’s play about—wait for it—a lesbian softball team. Her lover had written the music. I went to southern Oregon to investigate for a possible lawsuit (which we eventually filed and won). Unbeknownst to me, the playwright had told the entire
softball team it was their mission to lesbianize me that weekend. Mission Accomplished.

cafe in france photo by renee jacobs

If you could use a magic telephone to call yourself at 15 years old what would you say?

Find your tribe. They’re out there. Find them. There are 7 billion people on the planet. At
least a few of them are yours.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“Use your words.” My wife’s mantra. Startlingly simple and important.

What do you think of the Lesbian Scene in London, where do you go out?

I haven’t been to London in years so I think it’s time for a return trip. Time to line up some book signings, exhibits and/or projections of my images at some fun lesbian dance parties. I did that awhile ago in New York City at a swanky lesbian pool party inside a hotel off of Times Square and it was a blast. London lesbians, bring me up there!

Who’s your celebrity crush and why?

Salma Hayak. I mean….do we need to ask why? That dance scene in “Frida”….. ouch.

Talk us through POLAROIDS and PARIS, how did that come about?

My latest books POLAROIDS and PARIS (2d edition) are some of my most playful and erotic work to date. As a reaction to some recent censorship, I’m thinking of making at least one of my upcoming books a compilation of nothing but my most erotic work. I’ve already got a book on Italy in the works as a follow-up to PARIS. And one other very secret erotic project but it’s a small slice of my work.

How did you and your wife meet?

I was having an exhibit in Long Beach, just south of where I lived in LA right around the time my PARIS
book was going into production. I teased on social media that I would have a preview of it at the exhibit. My wife wrote that she’d love to see it. I told her she’d need to bring ID to prove she was older than 18. Got a good laugh but we didn’t connect that night—she was on a date. I saw her though. After a few months of online back and forth, she finally joined me on a bike ride. Nine years later, we’re nestled in the mountains of France.

When can people see you next?

If folks want me to come to London, I’m all over it. I’ll probably head to Italy next winter
to continue shooting for my ITALY book.

If you want to learn more about Renee and her work check out her website, or take a class on photography in France or follow her on instagram @reneejacobsphoto.

If you liked this interview, we have loads more LGBTQ+ interviews. Why not have a read whilst you’re here?

Love Nonchalant xx

Nonchalant Magazine
Nonchalant Magazine

This article was written by one of our creative team writers here at Nonchalant Magazine.

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