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Kersti K: Impossible re-creations
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Kersti K: Impossible re-creations

Screen-Shot-2015-05-28-at-03.08.15Foto: Kersti K

Tuesday is becoming new-photographer-interview-day. Today was no exception. At a Möllan bar (the only one where you get to choose your own music) with the tunes of Bonnie Tyler and James Blunt playing in the background (a requirement from the artist), I met up with Swedish photographer Kersti K to talk about her work, inspiration and deepest kept secrets.

Floret: Can you take us through one of your photo session? How do you work? Is it on an impulse or do you usually have a clear idea in mind before you shoot?

KK: Well, I usually have a clear idea in my mind of an image before I start. Then I collect all the things I need, people, clothes, and so on, and go to a location. When I arrive I completely forget about the image in my mind, because in my experience it is impossible to recreate it. So ”on set” I work completely on impulse. It is hard to describe my photo sessions. They are pretty confusing I have been told. Even the people who are there usually don’t understand what is going on, but we usually have fun (albeit in a painful and awkward sort of way sometimes).

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Floret: Any special feelings that goes through your mind before you click the shutter?

KK: No, my mind is pretty empty when I work (laughs). Or maybe I have a feeling of ”correctness”, when the picture is ”right”. A feeling of ”there it is”. A feeling of being ”alive”.

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Floret: From what I’ve seen of your work, you have a certain style (I call it Kersti K style) to how you want your photos to look like. Not just with the subject, but with the environment, colors and lighting as well. Could you tell us something about this? How is it important to you?

KK: I don’t like unnecessary things. I like to remove everything that I don’t like from a picture. I like simple, empty, clear. The word ”timeless” sounds a bit cliché but I guess that is sort of what I look for. With the lighting I use almost exclusively natural light. I like shadows, things that are a bit obscured. The way I am as a person is very similar to how my photos are. People usually find me a bit mysterious, and I don’t like a lot of ”frills” and stuff.

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Floret: Sometimes the strong colors and surreal aspects of your work makes me think about Guy Bourdin. Has he been an inspiration for you? Or who inspires you?

KK: Oh yes! I love his work. I feel a strange kinship with him even if he seems to have been a bit of a misogynist – Something cold and mysterious about his photos that I like, a sort of ”evil” beauty. Many photographers inspire me. A lot of great ones coming from the Nordic countries in recent years like Elina Brotherus, Anni Leppälä, Erica Nyholm, Trine Sondergaard and Astrid Kruse Jensen. And then there are so many other artists, painters, directors that inspire me, Edvard Munch, Ingmar Bergman and so on.

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Floret: As Bourdin’s work, I believe your work also touches both the art world and the fashion world. Do you feel it this way? Is it something you’re conscious about?

KK: Yes, I do feel that. I would actually like to work more commercially as a fashion photographer. That would be fun! But it is hard to find inspiring brands to work with. I let them come to me and when it is something I like, I do it. I want to retain my ”Kersti K style” as you put it, in everything I do and that is why I respect Guy Bourdin (and other fashion photographers like Deborah Turbeville and Julia Hetta) so much because whoever he worked for you can always see that it is his photo. I don’t think that this is the case for many fashion photographers today. Most of them don’t have a style and I find that a bit sad. I only want to work with brands that have a similar esthetic to my own. I find a lot of inspiration in clothes, but only certain clothes. So if you are a person making clothes reading this, don’t hesitate to contact me because I am very much looking for inspiring garments to shoot!

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Floret: The locations you work in sometimes seem to be taken straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. What’s the deal? Is your friend a very good location scout or how do you find all these amazing places?

KK: Well I’ve actually found quite a few of them through you! So here is my chance to give you an official ”thank you”! I guess I just keep my eyes open and I’m a bit lucky. But most places can be good if you just strip them down enough and remove the junk.

Floret: What about your portraits, although we rarely see who the persons are, is the photo about them? Or who/what is it about?

KK: I don’t know what my photos are about, and that is why I like them. If I knew, I would not need to take photos.

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Floret: Can you tell us a secret about your work (or you) that no one else knows about?

KK: A secret? I actually have a twin sister that I use pretty often as a model. She and I look very alike except for the face. This is not really a ”secret” maybe, but many people don’t know this since I don’t show faces a lot. Another ”secret” is that this summer I am planning to tame a bird, a rook more precisely. I really want to do it but I think it is possibly illegal. We will see what happens!

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Floret: Three themes describing your work?

KK: No. Sorry, I don’t speak the ”art language”. The theme is that I take photos and I enjoy it.

To follow and keep up to date with Kersti K’s new work look her up on Flickr, Thumblr or Instagram.

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