„In my mind polaroid photography is a sort of ritual. I think that our society celebrates the moment less and less.“ The ritual of making photography a well-thought and slower process again, in a world where we always feel we have to live life in the speed of light, is something that fascinates Katja Sonnewend about polaroid photography. We have the pleasure of showing some of her work and we also got some really interesting thoughts about photogprahy and life from her…
Katja, what does photography mean to you?
In the physic lessons at school I was condemned to failure. I answered each attempt to explain with resigned disbelief even though I was really interested in it. In particular I was fascinated by the theory of relativity. With my awkwardness to understand phyiscal law I found a way for myself to realize „the fusion of space and time to spacetime“ with photography. I overcome the speed of light, gravity and black holes, whereas the cosmology of my subjects create a new universe. So I find my own explanation of the theory of relativity over and over again.
Tell us a bit about your development, how did you get into photography? Do you live from it or have you got another job besides that?
Well, I was virtually born into the art academy, because both of my parents where in the middle of their art studies when I was born, therefore I didn´t have much other choice than following the same way. Painting, graphics and sculpture have already been represented in our family, so the only thing left was photography- which of course doesn´t mean that I didn´t have any other choice. At the moment I also work as a picture editor for a lifestyle magazine.
“Fast pace characterizes our daily life, everything passes fast and photos are being taken accidentally and thoughtless in our digital existence , -those pictures disappear just as fast as they have been taken and then they are forgotten. A polaroid is different.”
You have just been to NYC, on which projects did you work there?
Amongst other things I had a shooting for the extension of my „Legs“-series. It will be published in January 2011 in a Swiss art magazine.
You are born in Poland, but you came to Germany as a little child. Nevertheless do you have some sort of connection to your birth place? If so, does this show in your art?
Poland is very dear to me. In 2001 I was staying in Poznan for 3 months in order to do my diploma thesis, and for the first time I was able to experience the culture consciously and I was able to make new friends. Since that time I try to go there on a regular basis. The aesthetic aspect of the communism in the Seventies can be found in my photohraphs time after time, even though politically speaking I am of course not shaped by that time.
Do you have any exhibitons that can be seen in Berlin at the moment?
At the moment unfortunately not. I am working on a few, new projects that I want to exhibit in 2011. At the moment the location Berlin is rather the place where I create my work.
What is the most fascinating thing about polaroid photography for you?
In my mind polaroid photography is a sort of ritual. I think that our society celebrates the moment less and less. Fast pace characterizes our daily life, everything passes fast and photos are being taken accidentally and thoughtless in our digital existence , -those pictures disappear just as fast as they have been taken and then they are forgotten. A polaroid is different. Because of the apparently high costs you think three times before taking a picture. This is where it starts to be something ritually for me. I indeed limit myself to a certain number of polaroid photos per month, so that the emerging picture is like a ceremony to me. I do this consciously and regularly. The moment of the shot is of course not crucial for the emerging picture, but it is characterized by the moment, which certainly matters for the motive.
The big appreciation for the small things, figuratively speaking, expect for the size of the polaroid. And I have great respect for the technique of polaroid photography. Beyond that I always have to fight my impatience, therefore the 7 minutes development time are very likeable to me.
“The moment of the shot is of course not crucial for the emerging picture, but it is characterized by the moment, which certainly matters for the motive.”
On your homepage I have discovered some nice pictures of Matthias Schweighöfer:) How did the opportunity come about? How was the session with him?
The shooting was in connection with an interview for the IN-Magazine. I love to work with people who are not scared in front of the camera. Actors that know their role come across naturally and genuine. Matthias acted his role really well and in this case he acted himself.
What are you private and professional plans for the next years?
I am happy if I know what I am doing next week… the planning of years is pure utopia to me.
Last but not least a few typical C-Heads questions:
Can art improve the world, and if, how? Or is this not the purpose of art?
Anyhow art can try.
The most important thing in life is?
The fact that the answer to this question is changing every day… I love variety!
5 things you cannot live without?
The classical five senses, I couldn´t live wihout any of them.
Many thanks for your time!
Interview by Sigrun Guggenberger