Today on the blog, we meet with an incredible photographer who uses photography to explore her inner feelings, fears, and thoughts to gain a better understanding of herself and her relationship with her environment: Nadja Ellinger.
Nadja is a young photographer currently based in Munich, discover here work in this interview with photos all powered by Prodibi!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
I'm a 25-year-old photographer, based in Munich until August. I started with short films but discovered very soon that it was easier for me to tell stories within photos, not in a film. I began studying photography and design and finished this year with my bachelor, a photographic fairy tale book for grown-ups.
I used to do a lot of fashion and beauty photography because there was a lot of creative freedom there and I was able to tell stories. I increasingly had the feeling that what attracted me was not the fashion looks but more the personal stories and persons I was shooting. So, as a consequence, I decided to change my direction towards more conceptual fine art photography.
In September this year, I will start my master course in fine art photography at the Royal College of Arts in London.
How do you describe your style as a photographer? What is your process to create such colorful and stylish photos?
I use photography to visualize my inner feelings, fears, and thoughts to gain a better understanding of myself and my relationship with my environment.
The last three years, I've been engaged with the topic of fairy tales. They offer a wide spectrum to communicate about inner processes. Based on the dream interpretation of Freud and the modern findings of Bettelheim and Kast, I created fantasy worlds that appeal to the viewer in a personal and direct way.
Through the overdetermination of the symbolism, it is possible to reach the viewer in different ways and thus make the story personally experienceable. The outbreak of the immediate political and social context enables a space free of prejudice, in which one can fantasize and experience without constraints.
Based on this I'm currently exploring the human psyche through my lens, trying to understand what defines us or how we define our self.
What interests me the most about identity is their downsides: what are our weaknesses, how do we handle them, how bad is this weakness part of us? My main intention is to show that weakness does not have to be something negative, but something that may make us insecure, but also open and human.
For you, what describes a successful picture and why?
I think this depends a lot on which area you are working: Success means something utterly different in fashion, fine art or documentary photography. For me and my work, it would mean that people are interested in the topic, gain new insights or ideas about this specific theme and, in the best case, start to reflect and answer this question for themselves.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers, directors or painters?
Sure, I think we are always influenced by our surrounding, our culture, our history and so on. For me, the fairy tales that my mother told me when I was a child were very important as well as the poems “Galgenlieder” by Christian Morgenstern. For photography, I take a lot of inspiration in the works of Tim Walker, Nick Knight, Laura Makabresku, Francesca Woodman, and Elena Helfrecht.
*Read on: Hidden paintings behind the glass, a modern photographic reinterpretation of botanical illustrations by Samuel Zeller and Innocence and temptation to provoke your imagination, self-portraits with Iness Rychlik
Is there someone in the world you dream to photograph or a particular goal you wish to reach?
I would like to create a photo that brings my thoughts on a specific topic exactly to the point. It doesn’t have to be understandable for everyone, not even for a few, but I would love to see my thoughts perfectly captured in a single photograph or series.
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
Tools are secondary to my work. It is much more important for me to deal with a specific topic, to read a lot, to talk to many different people, not just from the field of art. This communication helps me to think more clearly about my subject, to concretise my thoughts and gain new insights.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
I recently created in collaboration with an author a photographic fairy tale book, dealing with themes such as coming of age and anxiety disorder. There will be a Kickstarter campaign (coming soon here), starting on the 19th of July for selling the book, so I’d be happy if there are people interested in it.
To see more from Nadja:
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