Interview by Gabriela Piţurlea for SUB25
You said in an interview about how your character keeps going back to her childhood. When remembering your own childhood, what images and sensations come instantly to mind?
My grandmother’s garden, the road that led to her house through very old chestnut trees and her house – the way light traveled inside. Very cold, white winters, frozen pond, hungry sparrows at the bird feeder. My meadow in the spring, cherry trees in bloom.
Looking back, what do you think that had the biggest impact on the way you portray the world?
Spending a lot of time alone, observing, learning, imagining. I was a quiet child, always away with imagination. There are people who find inspiration in chaos and constant noise, I am not one of them.
Do you still take auto-portraits, and if so, how are they now, compared to how they used to be?
I do sometimes, though I much prefer working with other people. I am more conscious about my work now and my vision became clearer over the years, that’s probably the biggest difference.
How important is having a story before you start shooting, and which was the hardest to turn into photographs?
It’s quite important. It’s not always a story, it can be a feeling, one word that creates this space for me and my model to live in for the time of shooting. I can’t take photographs that are devoid of emotion, there must be something to connect to. Sometimes when people ask me to take photographs of certain type I suffer if I can’t find anything that touches me, anything I can relate to.
A lack of story, lack of feelings, no connection with your subject are the hardest to turn into photographs.
So many of your photos have that virgin-suicide feel. What draws you to portraying this border-innocence?
Two of my most recurrent motifs is the loss of innocence and the pains of growing up. My work is very introspective and those subjects are important to me. Instead of explaining why I invite the readers to look at my photographs and find the hidden stories themselves.
Do you have any visual fetishes, things that you insist on tremendously when you take photos?
Portraying melancholia, loneliness. Cutting long hair. Clothing that doesn’t indicate when the photographs were taken, vintage dresses, little girls clothes.
What do you tell models to help them get to where you want to go? Are you a talker while photographing?
I am awful at giving direction, I know what I want but verbalizing it is often impossible. I try to do my best. I often mimic what I’d want them to do.
How hard is it to find the appropriate clothes for your shootings?
It’s not hard at all, I find them in different places, often online. I don’t usually look for them, but somehow they find me (smiles).
We can’t record dreams, but – sometimes – they become memories to be told. Could you tell me about a recent dream (or daydream :) of yours?
Recently I often dream about being in love, it’s a shame I never write them down, I forget them right after waking. My dreams are vivid, lucid, often disturbing. Sometimes they leave me in a state of now knowing where I am and what is real, because of the realness of them, they are my alternate life.
1 thing that makes you sad, 2 that make you melancholic, and 3 that make you happy.
Winter, memories of childhood.
Reading, being in a warm bed in the morning and not having to get up, sunshine.
About those nonfiction books :) Would you recommend one or two, for the rainy days?
Diaries of Simone the Beauvoir, Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes, A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking.
So many people seem to be scared of being alone these days. How do you relate to loneliness?
I find that loneliness in itself is not scary, only the paroxysms of it. Those moments when it becomes overwhelming and suffocating. Moments that are the opposite of clear thinking, feeling that life has no purpose and questioning your own existence.
People are lonely even when they aren’t alone. My advice is not to put your faith in others, instead build your strength inside, never stop learning and growing.
Having said that, I love people and being around friends is one of the best feelings, even for such loner as myself.