Born in Brittany, France, Gwen Lafage received a masters from a French business school before enjoying a 10-year career with international communications and advertising agencies in London and Paris. Over the years she developed two passions: world travel and photography. In 2010, she dedicated herself to helping emerging photographers and made photography a central part of her life. She now lives in San Francisco and is realizing her dream through the Carte Blanche gallery and bookstore.
5 questions for Gwen Lafage
When did you get really interested in photography?
I've always liked photography. I worked in advertising for 10 years and I had many opportunities to work with photographers organizing photo shoots for my clients. Outside of work I enjoyed taking pictures and sharing with the community online - that's where I discovered fantastic work from relatively unknown but very talented photographers.My passion for photography really blossomed while I was traveling around the world a few years ago. When I returned from that life-changing trip, I decided to make a big change and pursue my passion for photography full-time.
What do you enjoy so much about photography?
I love photography because it can convey beauty, emotion, and a strong message at the same time. Although it’s considered a high art, it is also accessible to everyone. Whether you visit a gallery, flip through a photo book, or share your family pictures on Facebook, photography is a part of your life.
Why have you decided to open a gallery?
While exploring photography online I found a talented, energetic young generation of international photographers whose work was rarely represented in traditional galleries. I decided I wanted to create a space specially for them, that rethinks what it means to be a gallery in the same way they are rethinking what it means to be a photographer. Coming from outside the traditional fine-art community myself, I also wanted to give everyone the opportunity to own art; I wanted to help people bring photography into their everyday lives and to help photographers connect with their audience in real life.
Why San Francisco?
When I moved here end of 2010, I knew immediately that this was where I wanted to start my new project. The creative energy of the city, its enthusiasm for art, its growing community of photographers and photo lovers: Everything about it felt right.
So what is exactly Carte Blanche?
Carte Blanche is exactly what the name indicates: the strong desire to give carte blanche to talented photographers, to give them the opportunities to show beautiful photography projects, being a series or a book. Carte Blanche is about discovering the world through photography. It’s an online gallery open to the world.
Send an email to Gwen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finistere, Brittany, France. Land of my ancestors.
To San Francisco
I’m a traveler. Travel and Photography are my main inspirations.