About - Marie-Lou Chatel
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About

My story begins in June,1963 in a maternity hospital somewhere in Belgium. »It’s a girl », they said. My parents were happy. I suppose, me too, since it seems that I was very awake from the first minutes of my life…(Smile) I studied Art History. I lived a few years in France and Switzerland.
I’m not sure how to introduce myself. Let’s say that my work is halfway between that of the photographer, the historian and the restorer of old paintings.
My fascination of famous photographers goes back to my adolescence. In addition to books, I collected a lot of images, it had become a kind of visual private journal. When I found a new picture. My first reflex was to try to imagine what colours these great masters of black and white saw through their lenses. One day, I discovered an American archive site whose particularity is to allow visitors to download old photos in black and white, in high resolution, for the most part without known restriction. Through play and curiosity, I began to restore and colorize one and then two photographs of Dorothea Lange. The result was a revelation. What I imagined when I was a teenager was on my screen. I liked this technique so much that I decided to learn it by specializing in the restoration and colorization of old photos.
Colorization has some advantages, first, from an aesthetic point of view it makes the image more « alive », it allows to better distinguish the details. The colorized version offers also the perspective to discover the world as it was in the past. However, no colorized image can replace the original in black and white, because these masterpieces possess, to resist time, their autonomy and their value.
My message is no doubt to share emotions. It can be a sad look from a woman sitting alone in a bar, the charm of a beach in the 10’s, the beauty of a liberated naked woman, at ease with her body in Roaring Twenties. All these mysterious things that it is difficult to define… If I manage to transmit an emotion to the spectators, I am even happier.
I live in Namur, Belgium.
Get in touch, and let’s get a conversation started.
–A biography written by Denys-Louis Colaux (french/2017): read