mardi 10 décembre 2013

#Interview - Sutida, photographe [ENG]

(c) cesar torales
Nous avions rencontré Sutida pour la première fois il y a presque 2 ans, sur le quai de la station Friedrichstrasse, en retard pour récupérer ses places estampillées "Fusion Festival" achetées auprès de l’hôte/boyfriend/whatever du moment. Elle était apparue quand ça commençait à sérieusement piaffer d’impatience du côté allemand (« Attendu que cela faisait au moins 6 minutes que nous poirotions, monsieur le juge »). Apparue, le terme lui sied assez. 
Nous nous étions ensuite retrouvées lors d'une Jesus Party, ces soirées se déroulant au sein d'églises désaffectées. Il y avait quelque chose de très beau chez elle, probablement surligné par le lieu irréel, la musique (Love You Gotta Lose Again était encore l’hymne des soirées branchouilles) et les diverses consommations à la licéité douteuse. Métisse born and raised in Berlin, elle racontait sa passion pour les voyages, tout particulièrement l’Asie et l'Afrique. Elle racontait son profond attachement à sa ville natale. Et elle racontait ses photos. Malgré la qualité diminuée de l’image smartphone, ses "women with dogs" nous avaient profondément touchées. Une féminité forte et étrange, accompagnée d'une pointe d’inexplicable évanescence. Un peu comme elle. A l'instar de beaucoup de nos connaissances berlinoises féminines, il est difficile d'entretenir des relations soutenues avec Sutida; encore une fois, une pointe d’évanescence inexplicable, allez savoir pourquoi. Mais nous avons fini par obtenir cette mini interview; l'occasion de vous présenter le travail de cette étonnante Berlinerin.

When did you start photographing?
2008. Well, let me think… Yes, 2008. I started my make-up artist activities in 2011 while I was studying in a communication and design school. I’ve pretty much always been into images, and photography courses were definitely the best ones I had, the ones I was the most found of.

So at the beginning it was more something like a hobby. What pushed you to go deeper into it?
Without hesitation one of my teachers, James Higger. He used to work for Disney, got a lot of experiences, and has a very strong and impressive professional background. A very interesting man; and genuinely interested too. He was very American.

Very American? I can think of a lot of ways in which one can be “very American”, some more flattering than others… What do you mean by that?
You know, “pushy in an American way” if I might say. Like, very enthusiastic about my work, very “woooow”, “it’s wonderful”, “a-m-a-z-i-n-g”, very encouraging. It’s not something I was used to receive (maybe because I’m European, or German), so at the beginning I thought he was just weird. But in the end… It was very motivating. At first I was like “yeah, right, we’ll see”… But then, I guess he made me see my work in another way. Maybe his vision was refreshing. Making photos has always made me very happy, so why not continuing on a professional level? I love faces, and there will be always beautiful faces to photograph.

Why faces?
I don’t know really, so many things are expressed by a face… There is the obvious, then the less obvious, the hidden, and finally what you project in it. I love when a face allows me to unleash my own fantasies. It might sound a bit self-centered, but still. I love having an idea and just, boom, let it out and make it real. The make-up is a very big part of it obviously. It still surprises me how magical make-up can be… It allows you to recreate a face permanently. Quite amazing…

How do you work? What is your process?
My process? Wow, let me think… Funny how hard it can be to put words on this… I mean, I make it almost every day, but still! I guess I kind of have a big concept to start with, even though it’s something quite untold. Like “feminity”, “strength”… Reading magazines is a a big part of the inspiration process too. To be honest, it comes a lot along with the location as well: romantic, minimalistic… It’s really a balanced mix between the location and the model I shoot. The model is really important because I love to work on close shots. But I’m willing to shoot more and more outside, there’s always so many unpredictable things happening, the shooting can turn into something very different from what it was supposed to be… I like this uncertainty.

How do you choose your models?
Mostly because I know them. And sometimes I see a woman in the street and her face inspires me, so I just ask her. I like to look at them in streets… I’m looking for something like… I don’ know… The aura.  It’s first the face, then the aura, the way she walks the street. It’s a general “wooow”, you see? It has something to do with the location again… Everything just fits together, the person, the space, the face… They all together open a great field to my imagination.

How do you work with them?
If I know them, I try to work on their attitude. I don’t really like obvious posing. I start by making some tests, tell them to close their eyes, to relax as much as possible, to focus on their breathing, or on the way they sit. I start to shoot while they are doing this, so the camera becomes something absolutely familiar, until it doesn’t exist anymore.

What about make-up?
It’s quite a contradiction, I know, because I said before how important make-up was to me, that is was the medium to release the magic. But at the same time, I love natural women. It’s not so much about adding or correcting something – who am I to do this -, it’s about focusing and magnifying what’s already there. It’s funny to “compromise” the role they’re playing. It really depends on the person as well; some are very extravagant and very happy to look completely different. I guess it helps them unleashing another part of their personality, a part they have difficulties to be in contact with, or a part they don’t even know was there. Physical transformations are a good way to discover yourself. But mainly make-up is a way to make you feel confident about yourself. Embrace this multiplicity which is “you”, that’s what I’m looking for.

Do you have any inspirations?
Hum, I don’t know… I won’t sound very extraordinary, but Newton. There’s a great museum about him in Berlin.

Women occupy a huge place in your work? What is “feminité” to you? How would you describe your work?
I like seeing the inside of a picture, something a bit surrealist, like an endless optical illusion. I like sensitivity under - or over, actually – strength. You know women have their skin, and there is the inside. I like to see a very strong woman on the outside and then discover the complexity of the inside. It actually retranslates itself physically. My goal is for it to appear on the picture. I like to seek the weaknesses, it builds up the strength. Sexiness without depth, weakness, craziness or fun  is quite boring, don’t you think? It’s quite linear. I like to take risks. I like the models I work with to take some as well.

Any particular projects you’re working on?
I can’t tell a lot right now because I’m not supposed to talk about it… It involves other people… But mainly keep on doing what I like, meeting these wonderful people that give the fuel that I need to create. More concretely, I’ve done the cover shoot of Proud magazine and we should have new collaborations coming on.

In all the series you’ve made, do you have a favorite?
Let me think… I’d definitely say the woman with the dog.

Because to me, those women represent everything which is powerful, strong. They actually don’t need a dog. But in the same time, I wouldn’t say that the dogs are accessories, they really are part of the picture; they are just not needed. They are wanted. The women and the dogs do not depend on each others, but they empowered themselves and protect each others. I don’t know… It was a really nice and surprising shooting, and I really like what came out of it.

To discover more of Sutida's great work, visit her website HERE and her Facebook page HERE.

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