I met with Camilla Storgaard in the busy streets of Paris to talk about her newest and ongoing project. For Camilla Storgaard female and feminist matters occupy her processes as an artist. With her delicate use of light and colors, she tries to capture through portraiture the emotional struggles women face by the beauty industry and its pressure of perfection.
Hello Camilla! And welcome to Lomography Magazine. First of all, it is very nice to meet you here in Paris to have a chat about your newest work. Can you please introduce yourself. Who is Camilla Storgaard?
Haha, it is hard to introduce oneself, because who really knows who they are? But philosophy aside I’m a Danish artist and photographer from Denmark, currently living and working in Berlin.
When and what influenced you to become a photographer?
Well, images did. I got my first camera when I was 15 years old and the images I took simply amazed me. This was a time without cameras in our cell phones, so to experience creating photographs for the first time was mind-blowing for me. I spend the first many years learning the basics of compositions, lines, colors, and exposures before I moved on to express the themes and concepts which is now what drives me to keep taking photos.
In what kind of themes and stories are you interested? What would you say you are seeking to represent in your work?
My main themes have always been gender, sexuality and female struggles. These themes are all relevant to my own personal process and development. Photography can take you many places but I think it’s important sometimes to stick to what is relevant to yourself and your position in society. Since my work continues to address issues of inequality for women, feminism is present.
We received some wonderful portraits you did, inspired by the beauty industry and the pressure it puts on women these days. Can you please tell me a little bit more about this project and how did the idea come to be?
I was in China earlier this year when it really became a realization just how dominant the western beauty standards are, to women all over the world. I purchased some mask fabricated to give women face-lifts, slimmer jaws, and noses, or working as an anti-wrinkle product. I brought them back to Europe and started implementing them in a new project.
What do you think about the beauty standards nowadays?
The theme of women's role in society, even if improved since the 1950s, still has importance to me and is still a matter of inequality today. A lot is changing, surfacing and being discussed but women's unspoken responsibilities concerning anything from the household, work, children, love and sex are still issues to address.
Why did you arrange your models in this unconventional way?
Mostly I prefer to deliver a message in my work in a rather indirect way. Without necessarily photographing the mask straight on, I tried to capture the emotional struggle of these women. It can create more curiosity to dig deeper into the image.
Personally I find your pictures very vulnerable, raw and honest and I'm curious how you find the people you photograph. Are they professional models? Who are they? And what instructions to you give them?
I rarely photograph real models. I mostly photograph friends or people I meet in real life. From time to time I come across people on social media I wanna work with and we sometimes find a mutual interest to work together on a project. Just trying to keep it real in a time of Instagram-world-takeover.
How do you choose places and environment for your photo shoots? What kind of role it has in your creative process?
I shoot most of my personal projects in my studio. It’s perfect for the dark melancholy that I’m so attracted to.
You also mentioned this is an ongoing project, how would you continue on this project?
Yes, I still have many props from China I haven’t had a chance to implement in a shoot yet and I am also drawn to the idea of re-doing early images by other photographers who ones where addressing these same issues.
Looking at your work, I see that you mostly shoot portraits. Is there a specific reason that draws you to portraiture?
Portraits are always what happens when I pick up a camera. It just comes naturally to me. I used to think everything else is boring. I don’t anymore, but portraits are still my passion.
In a digital dominating time, you still shoot analogue, why are you so faithful to the old school film photography?
With analogue, you can create outstanding pictures with low-budget cameras. Digital cameras able to create the same quality would demand a loan in the bank. They both have there pros and cons. In a fast digital world, analogue can be a slow process. But I like to have my psychical negatives in my folders. They provide the feeling of an existing object.
We gave you some of our Color Negative 800 ISO 120 films to try out, are you familiar with Lomography´s films before you got these? How was your experience shooting with this film in limited light conditions?
No, I never shot Lomography before and I was positively surprised. This shoot was shot with natural light coming from a very small window. I was surprised by how much information this film could capture in these low light conditions. The light sensitivity of the film was great.
What inspires you to start a project?
The wish to provoke change.
Any tips to aspiring analogue photographers out there?
Light is everything in photography. If you learn to capture it you will be a great photographer.