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Poppy De Villeneuve Snaps Indie Fans, But She’ll Take Ravel


Photographer Poppy de Villeneuve spends her share of time behind velvet ropes, but for a recent project, she embraced a wider scene—the more-the-merrier free-for-for-all that is Indio, California’s outdoor Coachella music festival. Photos from her series You Are Everywhere go on view today at Colette as part of the new Music Loves You exhibition, alongside photos by Lenny Kravitz, Beck, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner. (The next edition of the annual festival, meanwhile, begins later this month in California.) spoke to de Villeneuve about fandom, fashion, and (really!) fish.

How do you think this project relates to your other work?
I’ve always been interested in the ways that people interact with each other when they don’t know that they are being watched. My work has always related to small details. I find small, ordinary details wonderful and heartbreaking. So, that has been a constant theme.

What attracts you to focus on particular fans?
I am drawn to a person when they are most present, like when they are dancing on their own in a corner. Then I’ll be able to create a whole narrative for them. It may be completely wrong. But if I have a narrative for them, then I know I should focus on them. It’s instinctual.

People seem to really dress up for these festivals.
I really like the way the crowd usually mirrors their favorite artist. If they are watching the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, then they have more of a Karen O vibe. If they are watching Morrissey, then they go all fifties. I love that mirroring process. It can be tiny or very pronounced. But the sense of style in this particular festival is inspiring…this is an environment when many kids can try out their creativity and relish it and jump around in it.

Do you consider yourself something of an outsider at the festival because you’re there with a slightly different MO than the average fan?
I do, but I think I’ve always thought of myself as an outsider in most situations. My agenda is usually to immerse myself in something less tangible. I have a feeling we might all think of ourselves as outsiders. I sometimes forget I’m visible when shooting…that’s a funny feeling.

What is the fans’ energy like?
I think fans have a sense of community. It’s like women’s circles, or being at the golf club; there is a sense of camaraderie. It reminds me of when fish swim in schools. They never collide, they change direction, they are together—the fans are like that.

Have you befriended anyone at the shows?
I befriend people while I’m wandering around and we see each other over the days, but we all seem to disappear back to our own camps.

What music are you personally a fan of?
I’m rather fickle when it comes to music; I’m recently learning about classical music. A friend sent me a piece by Ravel that is driving me crazy, it’s got so many layers to it, so today I’m a huge fan of Ravel. I also love Beirut this week.

Photos: Poppy De Villeneuve