I love you magazine
This year, Christiane Bördner and her partner, photographer Marcus Gaab, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their creative agency, THE GAABS. Together they develop campaigns, catalogs and corporate identities for internationally renowned design and fashion clients (including Nike, Vitra, Stone Island, Joop!, Hugo Boss and Nymphenburg). She is also the creative director of I LOVE YOU magazine, founder and creative director of ENDLESS and the art director for NOAH magazine. We're delighted to have this Berliner as a guest curator for BLACK IRIS.
You co-curated photographers for BLACK IRIS, including Mirka Laura Severa among them. Why?
I’ve known Mirka for a long time because she was my intern. Her work is humorous, but also has an aesthetic quality – I really like that. In principle, she works mainly with classical still lifes, but she brings components of humor and the artificial together. It almost has an idealized artificiality, which I find very refreshing.
Artifice, or rather staging, and reality are two dialectical associations that have accompanied photography since its invention. What’s happening in photography now, what do you find exciting, how has photography developed over the last two decades?
I often deal with perception and how it has changed. Of course, I see all the influences: I’ve observed how photography has transformed through new media, new techniques, new tools and through Photoshop.
When I look at old photos that we’ve produce, I see how badly some of them were touched up in post-production 20 years ago. But at the time, it was totally okay. Today, not a single image can be printed or sent out without post-production. How artificial perception has become because of this! I recently read a great article by Elfie Semotan about this. As a fashion photographer she writes that in the past it was possible to simply take beautiful photographs. Today, that’s not possible: Every image must fulfill a purpose; it has to sell a product. I work similarly these days as an art director.
But what I find really interesting is the question of how perception affects reality: for example, in the 80s models were a bit thicker and now they’re thinner, their faces are always wrinkle-free and their eyes are getting bigger and bigger. In advertising and photography, someone visibly retouches the image. But what happens when people internalize these images and accept them as reality? The result is that suddenly people are having operations and hyper-realizing themselves to approximate this figure found in photography. The more I see these kinds of images, the more I begin to believe that it’s how we’re supposed to look these days. Even though I surely know better.
Likewise, I think it’s really exciting how this language of images and our perception changes through technology. We also discussed this with other photographers – whether it’s still photography. I find it intriguing that in English you “take a picture” and in German you “make a picture.” You could also ask if you take something from reality. There are cultures in which people do not want to be photographed, because they are afraid that something will be taken away from them through the photograph. Does it become something that you can take out of reality and alienate? We finally agreed on this in a discussion: some part of it must be a picture or a photograph. That would then mean that, yes, it’s something that I’ve taken out of the world, regardless of the technique or device.
Read the whole interview in our JOURNAL