THE PLANTATION COLLECTIVE 23

anna hahoutoff

INTERVIEW BY JOANNA CRESSWELL

SCULPTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Tell us about your process. What reference or influence do you take from other mediums? What are the important elements of what you do? For Americana, my first consistent body of work, there has been a lot of changes between the original idea and the final result. I decided to put together a sort of puzzled essay about each American state and had in mind various works from major photographers who had worked on America and the Americans. I was picturing a work very focussed on architecture and somehow staged. The more I was traveling, the more I started to focus on nature, leaving aside buildings and people and I was opening up to a work of experimentations and fate. I have always been very influenced by still life photography and paintings and started quickly to concentrate on ‘natural sculptures’ and the more I was working the more they seemed to appear in clear evidence. Shapes and colors are definitely the elements catching my eye, and my work exclusively plays with the textures they create. I like the idea of seeking for a sensorial, tactile aspect in photography.

Are these pictures concerned with exploring formal and aesthetic interests, or are they representational, metaphorical? What is the weight that holds these pictures together? For this specific project (Americana) it is definitely exploring aesthetical interests. The pictures are forming together a sort of exquisite cadaver, linked by studies on natural materials and improvised sculptures. The work plays with the encounter of works of nature and the man-made. For my latest project I concentrated more on metaphorical images while trying to maintain an aesthetical coherence within the essay and my other body of works. As a study in which after feeling comfortable with the visual aspect of my work I was aiming to get deeper in my process and use images to discuss about a particular issue.

Are you a photographer or an artist using photography? I don’t believe it really matters. But I’d lean more towards an artist using photography.

Does your work reflect on the medium of photography or the photographic image? If so, is that intentional? If so, is that intentional? Yes it does reflect on the photographic image, intentionally. I am fascinated by the idea of visual proof, and physical memory. Photography as a medium have recently considerably evolved and became a challenging and fascinating part of visual arts. I am convinced by the efficiency of visual statements and the interaction we have through photography on a worldwide scale.

Typically, are your works more about construction or deconstruction? Construction, most definitely. Though in this process I am witnessing a object already constructed and do not stage anything (yet), I do not take part in the construction of the sculptural form itself. As I mentioned I am very interested in the time and place in which natural and artificial subjects meet. I find in nature a bottomless source of inspiration in terms of textures and shapes that I find even intensified when surrounded by man-made compositions.

Are you interested in the notion of your pictures as objects? Do you think about how their physicality may endure as you are photographing them or is that an afterthought? Oh it is the very first thought actually, and the main initiator of my process in photography. I really believe in the physical aspect of photography and the work made on printing and framing in order to exacerbate the dynamic of the picture, even on a flatten surface.

Often sculptural photographic works are concerned with elevating banal objects, situations or events to a status of ‘art’ – when does something become art for you? When you start looking at something instead of just seeing it I guess. When it is triggering a question or a specific reaction. Most things intrigue me and everything has potential in my eyes. Whether it is a garbage can, a fence, a light bulb, a branche. I do really enjoy the idea of elevating banal objects to a status of ‘art’ but I believe this process is made in the eyes of the viewer. Anyone could be bored to death in front of a ‘sculptural photographic work’ and say in a sigh that it’s lazy work. One has to see the beauty or odd ugliness of things surrounding us, their strangeness or their efficiency. And if you don’t, you don’t. We each have our own notion of what Art is and don’t necessarily share the same. To me everything is Art on hold.

www.annahahoutoff.tumblr.com

Published by Trine Stephensen, April 2016