Léa Esmaili: A unique and inspiring artistic vision

Léa Esmaili : Une vision artistique unique et inspirante - HYTRAPE

From a very young age, Léa Esmaili was immersed in an artistic environment, thanks to the influence of her mother who considered culture as an inestimable wealth. This early immersion in art awakened in her a devouring passion for cinema, which shaped her professional future.

At 14, Léa discovered a new world through the films of Kubrick and Godard, a revelation which marked the beginning of her love for images and visual storytelling. This early passion for film was the catalyst for her career, guiding her into the role of photographer/director, where she was able to merge her love for art with a unique vision for visual creation.

In this exclusive interview, Léa Esmaili shares her journey, her inspirations and her thoughts on art and artistic direction. She offers us a glimpse into her world, where art is not just a profession, but a way of living and perceiving the world.

Hello Léa, can you tell us about your background and what led you to become a photographer & director

I have always been immersed in art, in artistic circles especially thanks to my mother
which for her, culture is one of the greatest riches. But it's my 14
years when we begin to forge our own culture we will say that I fall into
love with cinema. It's love at first sight, I spend the summer of my third year
watching old films, Kubrick, Godard etc. and since that day I have always
knew that I wanted to work in images in general.

What are your favorite tools and resources to carry out your projects?

One day I said to a friend “art is not a suite that you buy for 20 euros a day.
month ". He told me that it was a very good sentence to say often haha. I am
self-taught so I really use all the supports, for me we can make
very cool things just with a faulty printer, you can take and
touch up with an old phone.

Even if on a daily basis I often use Photoshop, Lightroom etc. I often
retouch photos on the iPhone, or make paper collages.

And it’s funny but at first I was a little ashamed because it didn’t sound “pro”.
But now I accept it and I'm even proud of it!

What photography equipment do you recommend and why?

Same here, the camera does EVERYTHING except the photographer haha. So to start a
small device, to understand how light works, how it
comes in, she comes out of a camera. I did lots of shoots with a little Fuji, as long as
If we control the light, the photo will be “good”.

Arrives at a time when you yourself will feel that you must take a more suitable device
high-end, but at first it's useless!

What is the photo you have taken that you are most proud of?

I think at the moment I really like the cover we did with Leo SVR
for his project. We shot this so quickly, it was so effective!
In 1 hour the cover was completed. He and his team are very very nice and professional, I
wish only good things for the future.

How would you describe your artistic style and your main influences?

I would say that I really like going beyond the ordinary. I am very influenced
through dance, staging, notably Pina Bausch, a choreographer
German. Cinema is obviously my source of inspiration: the cinema of

Kubrick, Dolan, the Coen brothers, Tarantino... This burlesque side with a very aesthetic
marked. Music is part of my daily life, I spend 90% of my days
listening to music ahaha.

The story of my family, who fled Iran, inspires me enormously,
unconsciously also allowed a great open-mindedness.

How do you stay inspired and creative in your daily work?

For me, discipline is very important as a creative. And this happens above all
through the discipline that we must give ourselves to constantly nourish and cultivate ourselves.
This is what gives me the chance to constantly have ideas in mind.

Also I would say to keep your child's soul. To rave about nothing, for
trivial things, which allows us to see the little inspiring things in life.
From that, everything really inspires me, I take photos and videos of everything, where I note
words, sentences. And in 90% of the time all these ideas, although futile in
appearance are found in my work.

Can you tell us about a particularly difficult project and how you handled it?

I had a tough time in September to deal with, and I was filming a
little short film. I wasn't proud of it at all, I started everything from scratch, I
I say take your time even if it comes out two months later it's a project
staff you have all the time!

and today it's one of my favorite projects, I totally put it in
competition in 3 festivals, one has already selected it! It's crazy.

How do you see the evolution of the profession of artistic director with new technologies and trends?

I think we must not fall into the trap of trends, because otherwise we lose
the timelessness of our work. Trends, network formats etc. It is not necessary
not that the creative process of a work revolves around that!

Otherwise, as for new technologies, I find it great. When it is used
thoughtful and intelligent way in any case we see it immediately that when
it's used for the wrong reasons.

If we are a creative spirit we should not be afraid of intelligences
artificial but rather lean into them to master them, for even more
push our art.

Post production stabilization for example is also AI in itself, and no one
say bad things ahaha.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a similar career?

Work. There is no secret ! Discipline also as I said above,
constantly cultivate yourself.
Be yourself humanly, be a good human who does this for good
reasons because it is a very human profession in the end.

Do you think art should always have a message or meaning, or can it simply exist for the sake of aesthetics?

Art for me is an escape from everyday life. So a work can have a
multitude of meaning like none for the author but creates one for the
spectator. That's what's beautiful :)

It's true that today with all the advances, we see a lot of work
purely aesthetic. Especially in cinema, there has recently been an emphasis
away from screenwriting for shots worthy of clips. Is this
necessarily bad? It's subjective hahaha.

Can art change perceptions or even society in your opinion?

Totally. And it's been seen so many times in history already. Today it's
thanks to brave young women and men photographer-journalists who
brave their lives in Gaza that we in the West can witness the genocide
which is in progress. Without them, we won't see this point of view of history. These are

If we want to go more into “art” and less into documentation, I am thinking of this
music by IAM “I could have believed” which in 4 minutes depicts all the conflicts of
Middle East brilliantly. Today a young person, if he listens to this song, can
understand many things very quickly.

His Instagram: @heyimleaaa

Interview by: @teocomyn