• Clotilde Richalet Szuch

Women by a Woman - From South East Asia to South America

While wandering with my faithful camera through Southeast Asia during the past year, I quickly became fascinated by the very different cultures and appearances of the people.

As a woman especially, I am interested in how unique and different the women in each country appear, seem, act, move, dress, laugh, smile…

My curiosity is the very simple reason why I started this gallery of Women across Southeast Asia.

What a journey it is to travel around Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Philippines, Myanmar; and make the effort to meet other women and to exchange with them.

I gave them all she could in a smile, and they gave me back so much on camera.

I was a foreigner in their land, a stranger in their community, the one intruding in their daily life, but they all took the time to look back at me.

As a woman : I am interested in the relationship I build for a minute with those women whom are just like me: a daughter, a sister, a friend.

My adventures around Southeast Asia have led me to believe there can be a special bond created in a few second in between 2 human beings, especially 2 women. The time they take to talk to me for a few seconds or for half an hour, the tea they offer me, the smile on their face when they make me understand that I have to wait a little, and then they come back with their baby girl in their arms to be shot in the picture. It has been an feminine intergenerational journey!!

The universality but yet singularity of each of us women fascinates me.

As a photographer : I am interested in those women as an anthropologist.

I like to think I have been inspired by my favorite French ‘humaniste’ photographers and, like them, I have a thing for my contemperaries! I want to be a witness of my time.

In each country I visit there is such a strong cultural identity projected by the women. I hope my pictures will expose the twenty-first century women of Southeast Asia and also the context around them : cultural, architectural, ethnic, demographic and social.

As a solo traveller : This photography project started as I was travelling by myself, which helps and forces people to be open to others.

We are social animals ; we need contact, interaction, exchange. I wanted to capture that connection, the fullfilling moment where you exchange a look with that stranger in an street ; the rich and the unspoken communication.

As a foreigner : So many anecdotes! For exemple women wondering where was my husband or why I was by myself ? ! Or others asking for a picture of me to keep with them. So many differences, but I learned that tolerance and acceptance are the key to communication and understanding. This is how many doors opened to me, happily and with respect.

As a atheist : I am fascinated by the different religions there are! How they can be part of a women’s identity. Even the way they can be claimed as a status symbol. I have been fascinated too by the way people of diverse religious communities live in total intereaction and peace in a same city.

I am now very excited and curious as our travels are taking us on the other side of the world: The Americas.

This project will live on over there, with more and more people to met and women to photograph.



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