Nanténé Traoré

Paris / France

Nanténé Traoré is a photographer and author. He presents himself as an intimacy and tenderness documentarist. He often speaks about love, or loves, for the sake of accuracy. He writes about them, linking and unlinking them in a ceaseless game. He talks about intimacy, visibilization, representation, tenderness and intra-community transmission. His archives are especially focused on trans* circles, and his numerous film series vibrate between the documentary traces of the groups he interacts with.

There are quiet loves and there are more devouring ones. Images obsess him. He tells me that he thinks about them day and night, that sometimes he wakes up at night because he’s thinking about them, because an image comes to him or a picture has to be taken. Right now. Right now. One day, around a cup of tea, I’ll talk to him about the importance of sleep. This obsession with images also shapes his relationship with others. He tells me that he looks at people like pieces of a photo. It’s in the layering that he sees us. Not a cold look, but like printed sheets piling up on a bed. Overlay of intimacies, faces, genders, sexualities. Generations, loves and tenderness layered on top of each other. For him, photography is not something static, but always in motion. A bit like a love affair.

After a formation at the Beaux-Arts de Nantes Métropole, he moved to Paris, where he now lives and works. We may live in the same city, but our almost daily connection is mainly virtual. His energy and enthusiasm take him from shootings to readings and other projects on a constant basis. But it’s in the direct encounter with faces and bodies that his sensitivity expresses itself. It’s the same sweetness that comes into play when he shares a moment with his models or shows us his photos. When he writes about his images, he’s talking about his model, but he’s also talking about himself. He situates, he tells us who he is at the time of the shoot, he also tells us about film, material, light. He tells us everything with generous precision. When he writes about his sessions, it’s as if we were there with him.

But his writing also crosses over into other worlds. He also publishes non-fiction articles, poems and commissioned essays in specialist journals and magazines. In 2021, he was published by Hachette in the collective work Nos Amours Radicales. In early 2022, his poetry collection La Nuit T’arrache à moi is published by Gorge Bleue. He is currently working on a number of projects, including two collaborative plays, an autofiction manuscript and a new collaborative work.

Whether it is through photography or writing, Nanténé gently disseminates his tenderness in our lives. Little fires for our numb hearts, offering our restricted emotional imaginations new possibilities to explore.

Text by Julien Ribeiro

Works by Nanténé Traoré

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