Scarlett Coten is an independent female photographer who dedicates herself essentially to personal, long-term projects. The Arab countries are at the heart of her photographic practice, which explores the themes of identity and intimacy.
After studying at L'ENSP in Arles, Coten traveled to Egypt to realize "Still alive", spending months through the Sinai desert with the Bedouins. This series was published by Actes sud in 2009. Coten was awarded the Humanity Photo Award in 2004 in Beijing, China, and nominated at the NYPH Festival in 2009 for her book.
In 2012 Coten decided to photograph men. She set off to further her travels into countries which had long since been close to her heart, Morocco, Egypt and beyond ; Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine, Jordan and Libanon. Her new series "Mectoub" question concepts of masculinity and virility in changing societies, revisiting the notion of gender of a young generation involved in the evolution of today's world.
Inviting men to pose for a woman and her camera amounts to a reversal of the habitual codes of representation via a switching of genders roles. This brings into question the sense of the principle of seduction and overturns deeply entrenched notions: posing is essentially a feminine or effeminate act and directing, a masculine one. "Mectoub" is a photographic act through which she affirms that her gaze has a gender. Her portraits are an expression of the profound, ephemeral link between photographer and subject. Each image brings up the dialectical interplay between character and his environment, the material is raw, untouched, different. An open photographic story, a romanticized biography in which the spectator is involved.
The artist positions herself like a woman who dares to look at men, affirms that the camera itself has a gender and by doing so raises issue regarding the conquest of the female gaze.
Coten's work is represented by East Wing Gallery (Dubai) and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (Seattle)
What does it mean to be an Arab man today? French photographer Scarlett Coten explores in a series of intimate, open portraits of young men.
French photographerhas spent a couple years living and photographing throughout Egypt. Her series of diptychs reverberate with intimate life and luscious color. A personal poetic essay (in French, with an English translation) provides interesting insight into her experiences with these timeless cultures.