Nostalgic feelings, muted colours, 60s and 70s records, book lovers and lots of pretty girls. These are the ingredients of the work by the German based photographer and writer Bob Sala.
About starting with photography:
“I began taking pictures when I was starting out writing articles for local newspapers at the age of 20. The editors wouldn’t hire you for small articles unless you were able to also bring a decent picture that could go with the publication of your articles. I did that for ten years without really knowing what I was doing. The writing was clearly the center of my efforts then. And then at some point the editors started hiring me as a photographer more often than as a writer. In my late twenties there was a shift to photography then. I started studying the culture of it. Instead of hundreds of novels, now photo books and magazines started piling up on the floor of my apartement. The rest can be viewed online.”
About the perfect picture:
“The images are more of a side product of my photography. What really interests me is trying to get into another human´s head and heart with a few mails and some hours spent together. Finding a common cultural ground with my models and then, at some point during the shoot, riding the same waves that produce the mood I like in my images. The shooting experience is much more important to me than the images that come out of it.”
Why photographing women?
“There are many influences that heavily sparked the themes of my photography. For starters, I was surrounded by very strong women in my youth that I looked up to. I am drawn to many women through their stories. Reading Patti Smith’s biography „Just Kids“ for example was a heavy influence. Many books are, for that matter. Then there is the movie „almost famous“ which is the story of director Cameron Crowe but also of Neal Preston who was the photographer who drew Crowe into that world of RocknRoll journalism. In the movie there is a character called Penny Lane. Perhaps I am trying to find characters like that for and in my images. Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin as much as fictional characters like Penny Lane, Chenault from „The Rum Diary“ or Shasta from „Inherent Vice“. I like to photograph women who have similar cultural interests. Who are a little stuck in the 60s and 70s like me. Artists, book lovers, musicians. There’s so much that gets me hooked when it comes to women figures. And I like to think that I can bring a little of that to shine on my images and that these images will have meaning for them and for me for the years to come.”
“No matter what I do, I always return to my writing. I am trying to improve in that field, although I don’t put myself under the pressure I did in my twenties. Right now I am working an a photo magazine/book that combines my writing with my images. The title is „Chelsea Hotel“. It will be a short novella with a magazine of images wrapped up in a 2LP Record Cover if I finally find a way to realise this technically. I also want to do more for the Rolling Stone and other music magazines. But everything’s ok for the future, as long as I can express myself no matter in what artform.”