Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with fashion photographer Cynthia Berger

From the series Post Punk

A little while ago I wrote an article about fashion in Berlin. It wasn’t particularly amorous to say the least; save a few incredible museums, I wasn’t overtly impressed by the grade of the fashion I saw on the street. I was only there for the weekend, mind.

Coincidentally an email popped into the fashion inbox pretty soon after from Cynthia Berger – German born and Berlin based fashion photographer. I failed to mention my less-than-flattering view of Berlin, but her photographs completely stole my attention.

Cynthia is a fashion photographer through and through, and her early years were spent wielding a camera with the help of her photographer father.

The images Cynthia creates are often stark portraits of the citizens of Berlin, and with minimal settings and styling, there is a real photojournalistic realism to her photographs (it’s no surprise to discover, then, that her influential father was also a journalist). Her work reminds me much of some of the work that was featured in Amelia’s Magazine – Louise Samuelson in Issue 08 for example.

Cynthia uses street-cast models in her photographs, giving each picture added verisimilitude, along with the designs of up-and-coming Berlin fashion designers; with most of her work being set within the dramatic urban landscape of Berlin itself, Cynthia’s photographs totally embody the spirit of this historical city.

From the series Berlin Fashion

I managed to have a quick chat with Cynthia about her father, her work and her future…

How did you get in to photography?
My father was both a photographer and a journalist, so at a very early age I was surrounded by photography. At aged 8 I started to take my own photographs.
 
What did you study?
I studied Photography in Germany and worked later in Capetown as a photographer’s assistant. Back in Germany, I studied Communication and worked for a while as a researcher in the media world, finally coming home after that.

How do your shoots come together?
The photograph is already taken in my mind before I go and shoot. I plan the shoots entirely, so that I have the freedom to experience everything and to allow the ideas to evolve.

What about photography in particular keeps you focussed?
I like to involve and inspire people.

From the series Boys in the Suburbs

What messages do your photographs carry?
Every photograph always carries a variety of messages.

Which photographers do you admire, and why?
I like Richard Avedon, particularly his portraits – they have such high density and intense impression. I also like the work of Anna Gaskell, her mysterious atmosphere and symbolic storytelling.

How is the fashion/photography scene in Berlin?
Berlin is the fashion capital of Germany. Berlin is a city that is immensely inspiring through constant change. It’s a melting pot for design, fashion, art, architecture, music and photography.

Have you travelled as a photographer?
I lived three years in Capetown, a year in London and did a few travels through the USA and Europe.

Do you think photographs can change opinions, challenge ideals, inform, provoke or otherwise?
They can – if you put them into the right context.  

What are your plans for the future?
I write any ideas I have in my “Idea Book” that I have with me wherever I am. I have many projects planned for the future, with an exhibition here in Berlin high on the list.

From the series Laura’s Story, exclusive to Amelia’s Magazine

You can see more of Cynthia’s work here.

Categories ,Amelia’s Magazine 08, ,Anna Gaskell, ,berlin, ,Capetown, ,Communication, ,Cynthia Berger, ,fashion, ,Germany, ,journalism, ,landscape, ,london, ,Louise Samuelson, ,Matt Bramford, ,Messages, ,models, ,photography, ,photojournalism, ,Richard Avedon, ,South Africa

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with fashion photographer Cynthia Berger

From the series Post Punk

A little while ago I wrote an article about fashion in Berlin. It wasn’t particularly amorous to say the least; save a few incredible museums, I wasn’t overtly impressed by the grade of the fashion I saw on the street. I was only there for the weekend, mind.

Coincidentally an email popped into the fashion inbox pretty soon after from Cynthia Berger – German born and Berlin based fashion photographer. I failed to mention my less-than-flattering view of Berlin, but her photographs completely stole my attention.

Cynthia is a fashion photographer through and through, and her early years were spent wielding a camera with the help of her photographer father.

The images Cynthia creates are often stark portraits of the citizens of Berlin, and with minimal settings and styling, there is a real photojournalistic realism to her photographs (it’s no surprise to discover, then, that her influential father was also a journalist). Her work reminds me much of some of the work that was featured in Amelia’s Magazine – Louise Samuelson in Issue 08 for example.

Cynthia uses street-cast models in her photographs, giving each picture added verisimilitude, along with the designs of up-and-coming Berlin fashion designers; with most of her work being set within the dramatic urban landscape of Berlin itself, Cynthia’s photographs totally embody the spirit of this historical city.

From the series Berlin Fashion

I managed to have a quick chat with Cynthia about her father, her work and her future…

How did you get in to photography?
My father was both a photographer and a journalist, so at a very early age I was surrounded by photography. At aged 8 I started to take my own photographs.
 
What did you study?
I studied Photography in Germany and worked later in Capetown as a photographer’s assistant. Back in Germany, I studied Communication and worked for a while as a researcher in the media world, finally coming home after that.

How do your shoots come together?
The photograph is already taken in my mind before I go and shoot. I plan the shoots entirely, so that I have the freedom to experience everything and to allow the ideas to evolve.

What about photography in particular keeps you focussed?
I like to involve and inspire people.

From the series Boys in the Suburbs

What messages do your photographs carry?
Every photograph always carries a variety of messages.

Which photographers do you admire, and why?
I like Richard Avedon, particularly his portraits – they have such high density and intense impression. I also like the work of Anna Gaskell, her mysterious atmosphere and symbolic storytelling.

How is the fashion/photography scene in Berlin?
Berlin is the fashion capital of Germany. Berlin is a city that is immensely inspiring through constant change. It’s a melting pot for design, fashion, art, architecture, music and photography.

Have you travelled as a photographer?
I lived three years in Capetown, a year in London and did a few travels through the USA and Europe.

Do you think photographs can change opinions, challenge ideals, inform, provoke or otherwise?
They can – if you put them into the right context.  

What are your plans for the future?
I write any ideas I have in my “Idea Book” that I have with me wherever I am. I have many projects planned for the future, with an exhibition here in Berlin high on the list.

From the series Laura’s Story, exclusive to Amelia’s Magazine

You can see more of Cynthia’s work here.



Categories ,Amelia’s Magazine 08, ,Anna Gaskell, ,berlin, ,Capetown, ,Communication, ,Cynthia Berger, ,fashion, ,Germany, ,journalism, ,landscape, ,london, ,Louise Samuelson, ,Matt Bramford, ,Messages, ,models, ,photography, ,photojournalism, ,Richard Avedon, ,South Africa

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Amelia’s Magazine | Foto8: The HOST With The Most

Featuring competitions in the already overly competitive world that is Art may seem somewhat crude to say the least. But in fact it’s through these well supported and sponsored prizes that new and underexposed artists and creative mediums gain a platform and a voice, information pills page and a fairly fair and just route for career progression out of the studios and into the spotlight. It’s also a darn good excuse to curate a fine exhibition of very talented folk, hospital and in a collaborative sense get together with a common thread, clinic be it the format, subject matter or genre, and share opinions, ideas and approaches. I call to the stand Foto8 and their annual Photographic Prize an exhibition of which opens with a right knees up of a party this weekend in London.

FOTO8%202brueggermann.jpg

Joerg Brueggermann (2009 Entry)

Foto8, in their own words, is ‘a space to share, comment and debate photography. The site exists to bridge the divide between photographers, authors and their audience through interactive displays and a constant stream of new works and resources’. Based on the belief that documentary photography has a vital role to play in contemporary society, Foto8′s ethos firmly pushes the medium as a valued tool for communication and self education about the world around us and the lesser understood worlds of others.

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Abbie Traylor-Smith (2009 Entry)

The London based website has regular postings of reviews, commentaries, interviews and picture stories as well as photographic events and news items, and serves as an outlet for the biannually published 8 magazine, which can be previewed, ordered and subscribed to from there. Now up to issue 25 the magazine blurs and tests the boundaries between photography, journalism and art and represents ‘the very best in design and print, following a graphic format that uses the medium of the printed page to its fullest.’

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Robert Hackman (2009 Entry)

The Gallery that will house this spectacular show was established by director of Foto8 Jon Levy along with Adrian Evans, the director of Panos Pictures, and celebrates it’s fourth birthday this year. HOST is dedicated to the specialised promotion and exploration of photojournalism and documentary photography, ‘from classical black and white reportage to contemporary mixed media’. They pioneer both new and traditional methods of manipulating the gallery setting with innovation and passion. The gallery proudly boasts a highly-respected exhibition schedule, complimented by an on-going program of face-to-face encounters with photography and film, including screenings, talks and regular book club meetings.

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Clemence de Limburg (2009 Entry)

From around 2300 images submitted from 44 different countries from as far afield as Thailand and Turkey, just over 100 carefully selected images will make up the final display at this year’s Foto 8 Summer Show at London’s HOST Gallery. As well as each entry appearing in the show’s published book, each photograph will be for sale to the public from the opening night and throughout the exhibition, and of course each and every exhibit will be in with the chance to win either the ‘Best in Show’ category or the ‘People’s Choice’, both highly sort after and respected prizes in the industry.

foto8%207wallace.jpg

Dougie Wallace (2008 Winner of ‘Best in Show’)

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Guido Castagnoli (2008 Winner of ‘People’s Choice’)

Whereas the Best in Show is awarded by an elite team of experts in the field, including The Times’ Director of Photography Graham Wood and the V&A’s Head of Images Andrea Stern, and entails a £1500 reward, the People’s Choice will be determined by public visitors to the show and in many respects is a more coveted title, given that each exhibitor’s work must speak to those with perhaps a less trained eye for artistic and technical merit, and must rely on more personal and emotional responses from the everyday spectator.

FOTO8%206pugliese.jpg

Domenico Pugliese (2009 Entry)

The brief for prospective entrants was simple. They seek images that challenge and engage, convey stories and raise questions. They state that they ‘encourage free expression’ and ‘new ways of seeing and telling’, also adding that they value photography ‘that conveys feeling as much as fact.’ The entry requirements allow for up to three submitted images per person, and the submissions look set to be as diverse and varied as 2008′s collections were.

rachel%20photo.jpg

Rachel Bevis (2009 Entry)

Being the biased art appreciators that we are, there is already a winner of an entry in our opinion, an image that stands out for us and will be certainly receiving the ‘Amelia’s Choice’ award at the opening on Friday evening. ‘Marie’ by semi-professional London based photographer Rachel Bevis commands our attention and holds our gaze. At first seeming to be a mono-chrome image of a lone figure at night, on second appreciation is actually a wintery street scene in which a female is immersed in falling snow. Mysterious, evocative and powerful this photograph is one we cannot tire of looking at. Best of luck Miss Bevis.

Who will you be exercising your democratic rights and voting for?

Foto8 Summer Show
HOST Gallery
1 Honduras Street
London, EC1Y 0TH

24th July: Opening Night Party
6:30pm – 11:30pm

Tickets: £5 in advance, £8 on the door
Tickets available to buy here

24th July – 5th September
Opening times:
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
Sat 11am-4pm

FOTO8%205tong.jpg

Kurt Tong (2009 Entry)

Categories ,Competition, ,Foto8, ,London, ,Photography, ,Photojournalism, ,Preview

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