hai Albertine Hadj

Having followed the captivating work of Paris-based photographer & film maker, Albertine Hadj, for some time, we were thrilled when she agreed to take part in an artistic collaboration, using some of our pieces as a starting point for a set of poetic self-portraits. With a strong focus on capturing and crafting her own image, Albertine's imagery combines neo-classical and romantic references for outcomes that tread the line between theatrical joy and touching authenticity, acting as a celebration of the feminine form.

Read on for our wonderful chat with Albertine, ruminating on subjects such as the definition of home and how to take an honest self-portrait, along with her magical images in the Hai x Reqins ballerina pumps and our silky scrunchie...

Hi... or should we say Hai!

Hai!

What do you do?

I'm a photographer and filmmaker, but I'm also graduating my second year of philosophy of sciences' masters.

Where do you call home?

I like the distinction between a "home" and a "house" in English. The word "home" doesn't exist in french, but I understand it because I've always felt the need to create my own space. I think I have different homes. My apartment is one of them, because I have the chance to live alone and to fill the space with my own imagination. But I deeply feel at home in nature, especially in a damp forest, or by the sea. In any case, I feel home when I'm alone.

What/where/who inspires you?

For me, inspiration comes from contemplation. Since I started photography when I was fifteen I've tried and maintained the meditative process of being an observer and to appreciate every single event happening around me. It can be a child bending his arm out of a car, a bird trying to eat a cracker on the ground... This state of mind clears my mind and connects me with my ongoing projects as a photographer and filmmaker. My experience of inspiration is a very childish wonder towards reality.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a child I wanted to be a police officer and a clown. Then I wanted to teach philosophy at the university.

If you were an ice cream flavour what would you be?

Definitely caramel

Open your phone and tell us what the last picture you took was. 

The last photo I took is a bee dying in the grass! I accidentally broke its wing while I was sitting in the grass. I brought some flowers with pollen to feed it. I should have killed it to shorten the suffering but didn't dare to.

What's your fancy dress costume of choice?

Honestly the dream fancy dress for me is the dress I'm wearing on the self portraits from Hai. I was invited to a wedding a few months ago and I exactly wanted this kind of dress but couldn't find one! I like timeless, childish, comfortable dresses like that. I can dance, be elegant, and eat a lot (bloat) in it! Haha

Any tips for taking a cool self-portrait / selfie?

Confidence is very important, the most important is to be comfortable and choose a pose, an angle that you find flattering. I have spent so much time trying to please others when the only thing that truly makes me happy is to please myself! I think a self portrait should be a time for yourself, a moment to appreciate your appearance, a time to (paradoxically) forget about others and the way they see you. Your image only belongs to you.

Favourite restaurant in the world?

I had the chance to eat at La Marine, a gastronomic restaurant created by Alexandre Couillon on the island of Noirmoutier. It was a birthday gift to my boyfriend and one of the most intense moments for my mouth. Associations were always surprising, but very simple at the same time. He is very inspired by the sea, and delivers a poetic vision of it. Then, when I was walking by the sea, I saw it differently.

Who's your favourite artist at the moment?

Lately, I had an obsession with the singer Lingua Ignota, who has a very powerful spirituality and is musically inspired by so many different things. She has an amazing lyrical voice and a very dark and sad universe.

What’s your most treasured possession?

Honestly I think it's my camera. I have worked so hard during a whole summer, took no vacation, to buy it on my own. It means a lot to me. I had almost no consideration as a photographer at the time, I knew it was time to be more confident and invest in a camera. It symbolises the moment I started to believe in myself.

What's the best thing you can cook?

I think I'm really good at baking, I did a very beautiful fraisier for my birthday. But I'm also good at spring rolls. I cook a lot!

Favourite vintage/second hand store in the world?

The charity Emmaüs in France has dressed me over the years! The prices are very cheap (for students!), and help a charity at the same time.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2022?

In 2022, I hope that Europe will find peace, but also that people will realise how damaging war is and start to consider the ones happening aboard like in Palestine. I really hope that our fear will help us to be more empathetic and grateful.

Where are you going to wear your Hai pieces next?

I hope to wear it in summer, in the evening, with sunglasses and a glass of wine with my lover in South of France!

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Hi... or should we say Hai!

Hai!

What do you do?

I'm a photographer and filmmaker, but I'm also graduating my second year of philosophy of sciences' masters.

Where do you call home?

I like the distinction between a "home" and a "house" in English. The word "home" doesn't exist in french, but I understand it because I've always felt the need to create my own space. I think I have different homes. My apartment is one of them, because I have the chance to live alone and to fill the space with my own imagination. But I deeply feel at home in nature, especially in a damp forest, or by the sea. In any case, I feel home when I'm alone.

What/where/who inspires you?

For me, inspiration comes from contemplation. Since I started photography when I was fifteen I've tried and maintained the meditative process of being an observer and to appreciate every single event happening around me. It can be a child bending his arm out of a car, a bird trying to eat a cracker on the ground... This state of mind clears my mind and connects me with my ongoing projects as a photographer and filmmaker. My experience of inspiration is a very childish wonder towards reality.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a child I wanted to be a police officer and a clown. Then I wanted to teach philosophy at the university.

If you were an ice cream flavour what would you be?

Definitely caramel

Open your phone and tell us what the last picture you took was. 

The last photo I took is a bee dying in the grass! I accidentally broke its wing while I was sitting in the grass. I brought some flowers with pollen to feed it. I should have killed it to shorten the suffering but didn't dare to.

What's your fancy dress costume of choice?

Honestly the dream fancy dress for me is the dress I'm wearing on the self portraits from Hai. I was invited to a wedding a few months ago and I exactly wanted this kind of dress but couldn't find one! I like timeless, childish, comfortable dresses like that. I can dance, be elegant, and eat a lot (bloat) in it! Haha

Any tips for taking a cool self-portrait / selfie?

Confidence is very important, the most important is to be comfortable and choose a pose, an angle that you find flattering. I have spent so much time trying to please others when the only thing that truly makes me happy is to please myself! I think a self portrait should be a time for yourself, a moment to appreciate your appearance, a time to (paradoxically) forget about others and the way they see you. Your image only belongs to you.

Favourite restaurant in the world?

I had the chance to eat at La Marine, a gastronomic restaurant created by Alexandre Couillon on the island of Noirmoutier. It was a birthday gift to my boyfriend and one of the most intense moments for my mouth. Associations were always surprising, but very simple at the same time. He is very inspired by the sea, and delivers a poetic vision of it. Then, when I was walking by the sea, I saw it differently.

Who's your favourite artist at the moment?

Lately, I had an obsession with the singer Lingua Ignota, who has a very powerful spirituality and is musically inspired by so many different things. She has an amazing lyrical voice and a very dark and sad universe.

What’s your most treasured possession?

Honestly I think it's my camera. I have worked so hard during a whole summer, took no vacation, to buy it on my own. It means a lot to me. I had almost no consideration as a photographer at the time, I knew it was time to be more confident and invest in a camera. It symbolises the moment I started to believe in myself.

What's the best thing you can cook?

I think I'm really good at baking, I did a very beautiful fraisier for my birthday. But I'm also good at spring rolls. I cook a lot!

Favourite vintage/second hand store in the world?

The charity Emmaüs in France has dressed me over the years! The prices are very cheap (for students!), and help a charity at the same time.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2022?

In 2022, I hope that Europe will find peace, but also that people will realise how damaging war is and start to consider the ones happening aboard like in Palestine. I really hope that our fear will help us to be more empathetic and grateful.

Where are you going to wear your Hai pieces next?

I hope to wear it in summer, in the evening, with sunglasses and a glass of wine with my lover in South of France!

@albertine.disparue