Deeply inspired by her own relationship with others, photographer Jana Ludwig's surreal, Kafka-esque images are how memories of old, new, special and mundane look like, but all in all, they are all fleeting. And so, Jana captures them with her camera.
Read our interview with Jana Ludwig here in Lomography Magazine.
Hi Jana! Welcome to Lomography Magazine! Firstly, when you were first introduced to the camera, do you remember the first subjects you loved to photograph?
Animals. I followed our cats, rabbits and every animal I saw and pretended to be a wildlife photographer in Africa. I think it began at an age of 8 or 9 with a disposable camera. Since then I had the dream to become a wildlife photographer and to live in Africa. The desired career stayed the same but the subjects changed to human.
Your images have a nice blend of realism and dreamy, as if ephemeral. What are you trying to convey with them, or does it relate to memory?
My work is an approach to capture emotions and feelings. As a lot of artists do I use my imagery as a healing process or self-therapy. In this series I was overwhelmed by different emotions. That´s why it was hard for me to show any clearance because I wasn’t clear about what I was thinking or feeling. This state of uncertainty and the fear of someone vanishing from your life - these were the major themes I was trying to show with my work.
It was mentioned in an article that the series is dedicated to your sister. May you share us the story behind it?
It´s not easy to talk about this as the relationship to her is on the minimum right now. I lost connection to her at a really hard time in her life and this also affected mine. She vanished from time to time and I was scared to lose her at all. So I tried to find a new way of understanding and approaching her. I also mixed in my feelings to express our relationship and where we stand for it.
That said, how does being an artist help you in connecting with your personal relationships?
As mentioned for me photography seems to be some kind of therapy or, if this sounds to daring, a healing art or process. Sometimes the images I want to display the pop-up in my head and I feel a strong desire to convert them into a concrete, manifested form. It´s more like an intent than a reflected working. After taking this picture I start to process what this image is telling me about my personal relationships and I can go along with that perception.
In general, where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from my everyday life and the subjects I am surrounded by. Every issue I spend a lot of energy on mentally I somehow process through my work. I can´t separate my art from who I am and so the themes of my life become the themes of my work. The series about my sister was the pivotal moment when I realized that I can not separate my artistic work from my emotions.
If you could work, collaborate or meet with any photographer or artist, who would it be, and what would you two be doing?
I would love to meet a lot of artists. There was a film about Sebastião Salgado I saw a few weeks ago that pops up in my head from time to time. I think he is a really interesting character. I also really love the work of Lieko Shiga and I hope I can meet her someday to talk about her work and what moves her.
Describe to us -- what's a day in the life of Jana Ludwig?
That´s the exiting and also challenging part of being an artist. I can´t describe a typical day because they don’t exist. Every time I feel like I can kind of control my daily routine and work the universe shows me where I’m wrong. There is no job or project that turns out exactly the way I plan it. It is really important for me to be very perceptive and focused while working and to be open to change my plans. But sure I have some rituals like the way to my studio or the cuddling with my little son before we go to sleep.
What do you usually do during your downtime? Any on-going project, or other plans in the future?
In fact, I have a lot of projects going on right now. I have to be careful not to overtax myself with too many different projects I’d like to implement. There is so much going on in the world and I have a strong desire to translate the processes I am confronted with. I had to take a break because of my motherhood and I feel like there are a lot of pent-up themes and feelings that I need to channel and eventually express.