Emma Barthère


Emma Barthère was born in 1982 in Oloron St. Marie, France.

After an atypical itinerary of study including living art as well as plastic arts, at the age of twenty she enters L’École des Gobelins, the prestigious school specialized in Applied Arts, Print and Digital Media, and graduates successfully in 2005.

 She then starts to assist various great photographers and approaches the world of fashion and luxury as well as the press.

In 2008, during a meeting organized by the “Maison Européenne de la Photographie, she met the editor Eric Higgins who encourages her to continue her personal research. In the same year she becomes an independent photographer and holds her first gallery exhibition.


She develops an attraction for bare spaces, often industrial, where she poetically stages her models.


“ L’École des Gobelins has definitely allowed me to master indispensable technical concepts but what most influences my work today are my theatre studies.

I view each image as the testimony of a staging that the photographic moment comes to grasp at the very instant when the setting and the model is in harmony and give out the essence of the story. What has happened previous to that moment, what will occur next, what has happened offstage and what is not shown – all that can be built by the viewer’s imagination.”


As a photographer, she is fascinated by abandoned places, old factories, warehouses and all that marks our industrial heritage as well as urban archaeology.

Her interest is also in portraits and human beings remain at the chore of her work.


Emma lives and works between Paris and Normandy, doing creative and professional photography.


“ Mate toujours, tu ne m’atteints pas.” L’oeil photographique de Emma Barthère densifie la femme, il en fait la meilleure alliée d’elle-même, un être dont on peut certes disposer visuellement mais non, dans le même temps, pour le soumettre. Une paradoxale mise en valeur de l’insoumission, en dépit des apparences, toujours trompeuses, comme l’on sait.  (Paul Ardenne – April 2011)




We go through idle factories and dilapidated warehouses. Dust is everywhere and light makes it dance. Here is a mass of metal, there a breach in the wall – these are as many marks of nobility in the kingdom-like settings. A naked young woman is standing by a tank, as signifying her intimate sharing with the place. Fully present and yet rebellious, just like those places that deny their condition, she offers herself but never lets herself being possessed. I like contrast, blurring the tracks and bearings. I am not interested in the too obvious. Life, things, people are complex, partly light and partly shadow. In “Pieds Nus/ Barefoot”, there is some profane and some sacred, some chaos and some serenity, some living and some dead, some defilement and some purity… and a certain harmony somehow from this inopportune encounter.

I like the idea that two universes could be complementary and create a sort of check and balance, each one preserving the other from its own “drawbacks”. The naked body brings a human dimension to this kind of space while the austerity of the place allows the nudity to reach sacredness.

One reveals the other.

Two logics are intertwined.





Here are the first images from my new series entitled “The Beast”, an exploration through myth and reality…

The mermaid is fascinating. Whether a friend or a temptress, she draws aversion, desire or appetence. She leaves no one indifferent, undoubtedly. To me, the mermaid is the most accomplished allegory of a woman, in all her complexity – both beasty and beautiful, she epitomizes perfect coexistence by uniting these multiple sides. As part of my search on the woman, I view this project as a sequence to the different series I have previously made, allowing me to go even deeper into the exploration of the feminine figure. To seek these double beings is to expand the limits of the “known world”, to venture beyond the shores between earth and the sea, myth and reality, nature and culture. To explore this myth is to be on the edge of the worlds.