Mise en abyme [miz ɑ̃n‿abim]1
1. The double-mirroring effect created by placing an image within an image and so on, repeating infinitely (infinite regression): for example, the album cover of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma (1969). This is also known as Droste effect.
2. A reflexive strategy where the content of a medium is the medium itself: for example, Shakespeare’s Hamlet features a play within a play and Fellini’s 8½ (1963) is a film within a film.
3. A formal technique in Western art of placing a small copy of an image inside a larger one.
When the swimwear brand Vilebrequin contacted me for a commercial shoot back in 2014 I accepted the challenge to take a photograph that would be printed on the fabric of their trunks. We came up with the idea of mise en abyme, to make everything more fun: looking carefully at the image one can see some of the people wearing those very trunks, which we added in post-production.
I had never done a collaboration like this before. When I started some friends and other photographers told me I should not do it, but I think it’s a nice idea that takes a lot of seriousness away from the work.