Sunday, May 21, 2017

Interview with photographer Natalia Danner

From where are you?

I’m a Munich-based artist who was born in Moscow, Russia.

What is it that attracts you the most of what you have around you?

As a person who was born in such a huge metropolis like Moscow, I would tell that urban environment in general is my cup of tea. The mundane range of uncountable processes and scenes that is daily going on in the city, touches me emotionally. The city as a structure, with its architecture, intrigues, amuses and fascinates me.

Describe some of your projects

My recent photographic project is called Zwischenraum. It’s a german word that can be translated into english as a 'gap', 'interval', 'space'. Zwischenraum is a city in the moment of its change that never stops, but that is carefully documented. The photographs seek to embrace the notion when a city is both a spectacular place and our mundane, our here&now. This project is an encounter between material, subtle and fleeting within existing stillness of city structures.

Previous project was called Barriers: A study that is a series of instant photographs (I used Fujifilm Instax wide). I chose a barrier as a distinctive feature of urban environment. Beginning with the idea of just transporting personal fascination of barriers in the city streets I ended up with quite versatile collection of shots. My approach in this series varies from purely documentation of the street scenes to aestheticized attempts to show the extreme beauty of mundane.

Your main concept

My fascination with ordinary and trivial expresses itself in photography. For me it is a tool for creating a vast documentation of fleeting urban episodes that I face through my mundane. City or better to say cities are my habitat and an essential part of my life.  

So photography for me is a way to explore and reflect upon the world I live in, upon the city I'm based in. My artistic practice is triggered by mundane themes. With my focus on such things like shadows, temporary street constructions, everyday, boring and other so-called imperfections I want to shed light on importance of all kind of things. It is essential for me to broad the scope of what can be described as beautiful or being worth attention. The moments I document are present in the city but often left unnoticed. I try to discover different layers of urban environment in order to demonstrate its wonderful diversity, to give a voice to the elements that surround us the most and simultaneously are the most hidden. My approach can be described as a poetic notion on mundane.

what do you want to say by your art, why?

My message can be characterised as a gentle invitation to look, to notice, to experiment with ordinary. By discovering these fleeting and hidden layers of things around us we change our perception of the environment around us, we can understand it better and therefore improve it on personal and even social level through slightly altering norms of what is beautiful, for example.

Tell us about your experience as photographer, what did it give you?

Photography became one of those media that resonated with the subject of my interest since the very beginning of my studies. In my case, it is film and instant photography. I was and still flashed by the imperfections these types of photography can offer me. I take photographs since 2009 and my visual style changed a lot since than. I was always interested in the theme of urban environment and it took me long time to express my interest in a certain visual manner that is close to intentions and expectations I have in my head. I have my accounts on Flickr and Instagram, I appreciate nowadays opportunity to show works to a bigger audience on the Internet. I'm very glad that due to these sources I became a part of a bigger community of photographers from all over the world interested in similar topics. In terms of technical aspects I'm still quite philistine. My approach is more intuitive, I deliberately leave space for the unpredictable and failure because perfection is not my purpose. So I can say that my photographic approach teaches me to be open and tolerant. Possible mistakes are welcomed.

Three adjectives to describe yourself.

Sensitive, responsible, friendly

A film, a book and a song.

Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky, The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell, It by Christine And The Queens

What camera do you use?  lense?
Currently I use Cosina CT1 Super film camera and l used a lot before Smena 8m, both with their prime lenses. I also use Fujifilm Instax wide and Polaroid 600 series.

Tell about exhibition if you‘ve had any.

I took part in a number of group exhibitions and were published by a couple of independent photozines. Most of the exhibition I took part were done with the peer students during my studies or through collaborations. Performances in the urban environment is another aspect I develop. So these two directions go simultaneously in my practice. Nowadays one of the most essential activities for every artist is applying, applying and applying. I am not an exception. So I am always very glad when I get chosen or simply invited to be published or exhibited. It’s amazing when you get in contact with other photographers you have never actually met in real. You both communicate through the Internet and do small collaborations or simply exchange opinions and become colleagues. 

Do you sell prints? How do you make it and where can someone buy?

I was never selling prints before but I was always wanting to do that. So maybe this interview will initiate this aspect. Anyone who is interested in prints of my works could write me at I would be very glad!

What was your most big success? 

To love and to be loved. 

Favourite photographer.

Ludwig Danner, a very productive photographer whose works  touch the similar topic of urban environment but in a much more precise and sophisticated way then mine. He is an endless source of my inspiration. 

What is your occupation, job, interest besides photography. describe it.

I was trained as an artist, so I suppose this is my main occupation. I’ve graduated 1,5 year ago and now on the way to establish my art practise. My interests include mostly art sphere, especially contemporary dance, performance and theatre. Everyday I need to know what is going on in the museums, cinemas and theatres around me. I try to keep my finger on the pulse of contemporary culture. I am also a passionate fashion lover. 

Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?

I would dare to say that art in any of its forms is first of all about discipline and working hard and systematically. So my advice is to do, to evaluate the result, to keep doing and not to postpone. And always keep reflecting upon the things that are already done. Subject matter should always be in focus, first it can be pretty wide but later through the increasing work it will get more narrow and more precise. So one should maybe keep in mind that she or he has stepped into a journey to explore something that touches and triggers her or him and, again, just keep going by working every day.
Your plans.

To work more, to reflect more and to write it down, to read more. But especially to keep on learning German, i can confess that this is the hardest aim! 

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