Our ninety sixth interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer Sidonie Petit from Normandy France. You may know her from her popular Instagram account, @sidonie.petit – Fragments of My Mind. With her gorgeous and patiently realised mobile imagery, Petit searches for a spiritual dimension within the calm of nature. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Wahlberg, Andrea Bigiarini, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani(@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine HalsørPaul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş, MaryJane Rosenfeld, Paul Suciu, Susan Latty (@pause.and.breathe),John Nieto, Phyllis Shenny, Joy Barry, Max Lies Derdonk, Rita Tipunina, Violet Martins, Nizzar Ben Chekroune, Lynette Sheppard, Paul-Andre Hamel, Rejane Rubino, Susan Detroy, Rosalie Heller, Wayman Stairs, Cintia Malhotra, Anita Elle, Juta Jazz, Cheryl Tarrant, Hanni König Kaoru Shintaku David Gilbert Jana Curcio, Mary Lorincz Amado Ergana, Francesco Sambati, Philip Parsons, Kathryn Garkut Massimo Bortolini Camilla Crescini Francesca Malagoli and myself, go here.
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
To be free :). Take less care of others. I was kind earlier on. To stay within my family cocoon, so reassuring and play 🙂 I could play whole hours alone, invent games with everything I found in the garden.
When I was in CM2, by working hard, I was placed in group A: the best of the class 🙂 I did not like school, even when I had opportunities but I did not exploit them. I was “in the moon” all the time 🙂 But this time, I set myself a challenge – (I was not very far from it I was in group B but I never managed to go higher) – for me and to make my father proud.
I was a gymnastics teacher. I practiced this sport from a very young age. It was a real passion.
Private or State school?
University or Work?
Work 🙂 I hated studying and as soon as I had the opportunity to leave it, I did.
Who was or is still your mentor?
My father. We were very close and we didn’t need to talk to one another to understand each other all of the time. He was a very cultivated person and able to answer all the questions I asked myself on every subjects. He was also passionate about audio-visual. A passion that he transmitted to me. I miss him. He died in 2015.
How physically fit are you?
I did gymnastics from 6 to 20 years old. I retained a certain flexibility but I damaged my back a lot.
For almost 3 years, I have been going Nordic walking three times a week. Or about 20 km per week. A little bodybuilding and Yoga. These are sports that don’t hurt your back too much. This is for the physical exercise 🙂
For the mind, it is very complicated because I suffer from social phobia and anxiety at a very high level. I don’t sleep much at home.
Ambition or talent: What matters more to success?
Hmph .. all depends on what is meant by “success”. I think talent helps but you can’t use it without work. So, I would say, talent, work and a good network to disseminate what we do. It is more and more difficult and long to get known because there are many artists and very good artists today. If you want to be recognized and therefore be successful, you have to find a way to have good visibility.
How politically committed are you ?
I try to be interested in what all the different parties are saying, to see a little. But I can’t trust them. They serve all of their own interests before ours. I would like a fairer policy for everyone but as Doctor House says: “Everyone lies, all the time” 🙂
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
A little more money? 🙂 It would make my daily life a little more comfortable but I’m already very lucky. I have a family who loves me, I have an adorable son, we are in good health. Many don’t have that.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Living like a 5 year old girl now that I am 50 🙂 Walk barefoot as often as possible. To be constantly out of touch with society.
In what places are you happiest?
In my garden, when the weather is nice, watching the clouds lying on the grass. In the forest near my house, to smell the smells and hear the sounds of nature. but also wherever my son is <3
There is also this small cemetery in a small village in Normandy, where my grandparents and my father rest. There is not a place in the world where I feel most at peace.
What ambitions do you still have?
To learn Photoshop even more to make the images I have in mind but that I cannot at the moment, because I do not know all the techniques and it is frustrating.
To be more serene, to be still and always a better person.
What drives you on?
My son is my reason for living since he was born. He gave meaning to my life. This is what has made me wake up every morning for the past 26 years.
Create. Create to share what I feel and no one sees. Making visual things helps.
What is the greatest achievement in your life so far?
It will not be very original but the education of my son 🙂 I raised him alone since he was 7 years old. We had very complicated periods and others less s0, but I managed not to transmit my phobias to him and instead to instil values in him. He is a beautiful person, intelligent, empathetic and intuitive. He is also an excellent guitar artist 🙂
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Their superficiality, their hypocrisy, their egocentrism and the lack of curiosity.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would she think?
That I have not faired too badly so far despite the trials and my phobia.
And above all, she would be surprised to see that I love living alone now when it was one of my big fears at 20 years old.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you’d still had?
It is not an object that I really lost but that I gave at school, to a friend. It was a ring that my parents gave me during our stay in Belgium. I was three years old, the ring was too big but it was for later. I regret having given it, I would very much like to have it today for what it represented and I could have worn it.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
To succeed in living together without destroying the planet. but it looks bad 🙁
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes! I myself have experienced many unexplained things. Had messages from the deceased, felt things etc … There are things that cannot be explained by science at the moment but which are very real.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score ?
Difficult question and it depends on the days 🙂 but I think I would write down 7. My life did not go as I thought but I am at peace with that. Just a little more serenity and it will be perfect.
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