photography interview - berta pfirsich

by georgia frances king

Feel like a bit of a browse on the first day of your holidays? You may not be able to use your computer screen as a coffee cup coaster while you're perusing, but here's a little online interview with Spanish photography darling, Berta Pfirsich.

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What is your name and how old are you? My name is Berta Pfirsich and I'm 24.

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Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in Barcelona, I've spent time in Berlin, Savannah and Colorado, but I always return to Barcelona.

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How does where you live now affect your photography? The light is the most important part of my photos. Barcelona definitely affects my daydream photo style. It will be difficult to do what I do if I was in London, for an example! I'm not really interested in the urban environment either. I always try to travel to secret Barcelonan places and shoot there.

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What areas, things or people in your neighbourhood do you most like to photograph? I live in the Barcelonan Chinatown, so I really don't take too many photos of my neighbourhood. I save this for my diary work, but not for fashion.

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What do you shoot on and why do you choose to use that type? I always shoot analogue: it's the most natural way to work for me. I don't like editing photos and I'm not really friends with Photoshop, so I try to do the things as naturally as possible. I don't really feel comfortable with digital. I will shoot digital when I have an assistant that does the dirty job for me! Right now my husband, Michael Skattum, does a lot of Photoshop editing for me, but it is not fun for anyone.

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Is there a certain camera or type of film that you wish you could own? A Hasselblad 500.

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Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind? For fashion, I only shoot if I have some sort of story in the same way I will not direct a film if I don't have a plot. There always has to be some kind of mystery at the end, a non-resolved situation. The models I choose always represent some part of me and I need to have empathy with them. Apart from fashion, I do my personal diaries, which are 100% honest and represent my routine and anti-routine.

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What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment? It's a surprise! This year has been so intense and next year I bet it's going to be crazy too. For my fashion editorials I'm planning a lot of stories and Jèss Monterde, the stylist I work with, helps me a lot with my daydreaming. I really can't say anything clear, just that I'm going to introduce red lights and shadows.

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If you were to teach a photography appreciation class, what kind of lessons would you try to teach your students? To not study photography: better spend that money on a nice camera!

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What are some of the challenges you are facing in modern times as a photographer? Personally? Nothing really, but Spain right now is totally ruined and some printed magazines are going out of business. It's a very sad situation. My challenge every day is to find some light in front of all of this.

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What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a photo? For my last Vice editorial I made a mix between David Lynch and Spice Girls.

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What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos? Taking baths and eating at nice restaurants. I also love finding treasures on Ebay.

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Where can we see more of your work? bertapfirsich.com

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