No rules

The young photographer documenting the freaky side of Paris club culture
By Tempe Nakiska | Fashion | 21 February 2017

Existing in the city of lights has its obvious perks – just look at it – but for Maria Ferroni, the real drawcard is the city’s youth. The nineteen-year-old photographer and fashion student has lived in Paris for two years, using her Leica and the skillset she inherited from her grandfather to capture the attitudes and vibrant energy of the city’s youth culture by night.

Most recently, Ferroni’s travels took her to Rick Owens‘ Butt Muscle Party. Held during men’s fashion week, the event took over an abandoned squat that was the former home of club night Le Péripate, and brought together a cacophony of characters and headlined by a performance by Christeene. The night took its name from the American performance artist, rapper and fierce sexual pioneer’s music video Butt Muscle, directed by photographer Matt Lambert, in which Rick Owens is at the receiving end of a golden shower – amongst other extremely NSFW things. A totally visceral and unapologetic championing of queer sexuality.

Here, Ferroni reflects on her work, in the process sharing a candid insight into Paris club culture now.


Tempe Nakiska: So how did you get into photography in the first place?
Maria Ferroni: My grandfather Ferruccio Ferroni was a photographer actually. I used to hang around him a lot when I was a kid while he was taking pictures and developing them in his studio so I always wanted to be able to do the same one day.

Tempe: Do you shoot on film or digital?
Maria: Film. My grandfather had a Leica M6 that was accumulating dust in one of his cupboards so I’m lucky to be using it now, although I sometimes use disposable cameras too.

Tempe: What do you like about shooting young people, especially at nighttime?
Maria: It’s everything combined, especially during fashion week. There are lots of eccentric people and a lot of characters that are not afraid to be looked at. It’s easier for me to have someone interact and pose for the camera with confidence so I can capture what I like about them.

Photography Maria Ferroni

Tempe: Can you tell us about the Rick Owens Butt Muscle Party?
Maria: It was crazy. Everyone there seemed like they were there for a reason, although no one looked like they had a thing in common with one another. It was like putting all the eccentric, freaky, cool kids, queens and voguers in a rave altogether.

I was mesmerised looking at Zita Garnier, a french artist, move to the beat. He looked like he was possessed, like he was one with the music (he’s the guy with the huge elephant pants in the picture). I also caught a glimpse of Rick Owens shaking his hair before he disappeared in the crowd.

“It was like putting all the eccentric, freaky, cool kids, queens, voguers in a rave altogether.”

Photography Maria Ferroni

Tempe: How would you describe this particular subset of youth culture that exists in Paris?
Maria: It’s very inspiring. A lot of these young people are creating their own opportunities and taking initiatives to be able to do what they love. It’s important today in an elitist society like Paris where you have to make a name of your own for people to take you seriously.

Tempe: What’s special about Paris youth? 
Maria: I’ve only been living in Paris for two years having been travelling the world, although what hit me the most is the crossing of cultures that’s happening here now, and the diversity there is. You meet a lot of different people that come from different places and have different backgrounds, although you find out you actually have a lot more in common with them then what you think.

“A lot of these young people are creating their own opportunities and taking initiatives to be able to do what they love.”

Tempe: What’s the mood in Paris when it comes to nightlife? 
Maria: Nightlife in Paris can still be quite cliquey – we are still missing this sense of inclusive underground nightlife since the closure of Le Péripate, and it was interesting that Rick Owens chose to host his party at the closed squat. More freedom of thought and an authentic non-elitist spirit could be very beneficial here. We don’t all have to be cool rich kids.

Tempe: What would you like to do with your photography ultimately? 
Maria: I want to share my vision with the world, I would want more people to be able to see my work and collaborate with various emerging artists. My end goal would be to direct movies, to be the new Quentin Tarantino.

See more of Maria’s work at her Instagram

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