“My photography is more subtraction than addition. I always try to take off things. We all have a sort of mask of expression. You say goodbye, you smile, you are scared. I try to take all these masks away and little by little subtract until you have something pure left. A kind of abandon, a kind of absence. It looks like an absence, but in fact when there is this emptiness I think the interior beauty comes out. This is my technique.” – Paolo Roversi
The photos from this shoot taken at the beginning of 1999 (initially for the promotion of the Innamoramento album) have not been validated by Mylène. Some were, however, published by the “Instant Mag” fanzine in 2004.
Let’s travel back in time to the year 1999. It is the end of the Millennium and for Mylene its a year where she is getting ready for a huge event in her life: Mylenium Tour in support of newly released album Innamoramento .
By 1999, Mylene Farmer had barely appeared in the media since her 1996 concerts at Paris-Bercy. The singer spent most of this time traveling many countries (such as China, Ireland, Italy and the United States), where she drew her inspiration for her next album, giving it a greater ethnic orientation. She was also inspired by the books Falling In Love by Francesco Alberoni, If This Is a Man by Primo Levi, and books on Buddhism.
While some media announced that the album would be called Immortelles, Mes Moires (according to the magazine Voici), Mémoires and Ensemble, rumor had it that the next album would have more techno sound (and the first single would be named “The Small World”, according to the Belgian newspaper 7 Extra).
Now we know the truth. It was recorded at studios Ocean Way Recording and Record One in Los Angeles and kept recording in confidentiality, it was later mixed at Guillaume Tell studio in Paris.
Finally, the album was released on April 7, almost a month after the lead single “L’Âme-stram-gram“. Needless to say how important it was to create right visual promotions for the album. As you remember the album was a difficult creation for Mylene. To fill on for the intermediate availability of Laurent Boutonnat (who was working with Nathalie Cardone) she ended up composing 5 tracks in the album herself: Et si vieillir m’était conté…, Méfie-toi, Optimistique-moi, Pas le temps de vivre, Serais-tu là?
The album is slower and deeper in comparison to Farmer’s previous studio album, the rock-inspired Anamorphosée (1995). The sound is more intimate, lyrical and sensitive with a touch of familiar melancholia.
Needless to say how important the promotion of the album was. Mylene chose acclaimed photographer PAOLO ROVERSI with hopes to create something special and memorable for the album cover and the booklet. She was however not impressed by the result and have not used any of the photos taken in the album promotion. In fact, the photos stayed unpublished until 5 years later and even then only a few were publicized.
Mylene then decided to work with a photographer Marino Parisotto Vay and they have produced the photos we now associate with Innamoramento. The cost of the successful photoshoot was a bit over 100,000 euros.
The cover and booklet photos by Marino Parisotto Vay were taken over two days in December 1998 on a Miami beach and then early 1999 in Paris.
” The door is open, so I can always go in again. That’s the question I have. You can see what you want in it, but it’s true that upon reading it, you see a cage, we see a silhouette above, we can think of the bird. Now, I don’t really care if it’s a bird or not. It’s more the idea that we can actually see this half-open door and that this cage itself is surrounded by water, so who can be threatening, who can be peaceful, we don’t really know…” (Mylene Farmer – Top Music – 04/30/1999 )
The photo of Marino Parisotto Vay for the album cover is directly inspired by another shot of the photographer that Mylène liked.
In France, the album was released at a time when Francis Cabrel also made his comeback with his album Hors Saison, which topped the French Albums Chart. As a result, Innamoramento failed to reach #1 on the chart, but went straight in at #2 on 10 April 1999, remaining there for two weeks. Despite not hitting the top spot, the album remained in the chart for 94 weeks, including 18 weeks in the top ten and became one of Farmer’s highest selling albums. It re-entered the chart during Farmer’s Mylenium Tour and also when Universal organized further promotion of the album. It is Certified Diamond disc by the SNEP
Paolo Roversi is a contemporary Italian fashion and commercial photographer. Characterized by soft, monochromatic photographs of women, his work often features figures shrouded in shadow and photographed with special care to accentuate striking facial features.
Born in 1947 in Ravenna, Italy, Roversi’s photography began in his teenage years and continued when he was employed by the Associated Press in 1970, and briefly hired as the assistant to Laurence Sackman in 1974.
His career has bloomed to include celebrity and fashion photography at publications such as Elle, Vogue, and Marie Claire. Continuing to be a major force in contemporary fashion, he is notable for his use of 8×10 Polaroid film, which is no longer produced. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions worldwide, including at Pace MacGill Gallery in New York, James Gallery in Moscow, and Comme des Garçons in Tokyo, among others. He lives and works in Paris, France.
One of the recent famous photo sessions by the maestro Paolo Roversi this year became 40th birthday portraits of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s. The photos became her favorites. And no wonder. The ageless royal beauty was captured perfectly in Roviersi typical style – it is beyond fast passing modern fashion but could belong to any recent centuries. The photos rather looks like paintings, don’t you think?
Speaking with the Italian newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, Paolo shared that he encouraged the duchess to dance an “accelerated waltz with a pinch of rock ‘n roll” when she was wearing the organza Alexander McQueen dress.
The skilled photographer who has captured the likes of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell also shared that though Kate was “apprehensive” at first, once they began, she became comfortable and embraced the experience.
“But at first the duchess was apprehensive. Every day she is machine-gunned by photographers but not used to posing; knowing my photos with the models she was a bit fearful in facing a real session, which then required about four hours of work,” he told the publication. “But once she started it would be very easy, I reassured her.”
As much as I admire high quality, original vision and mastery of Paolo Roversi, I do see why Mylene didn’t choose his work for the album promotion. It is different Mylene. It is what photographer sees and wants to project. Mylene loves exploring different visions and has worked with many different photographers through the years. I have already wrote about her collaboration with ELLEN VON UNWERTH, HERVÉ LEWIS and Herb Ritts
But I am sure as for many of us, it is an ultimate challenge to find someone who can capture the essence of of how we feel and see ourselves.
Who is in your opinion reflects Mylene’s inner world through the photos the best? Pleae comment!
thank you all! 💙💛