Annette Zer creates, works and parties in Berlin and likes to document her colorful life in analogue. In this interview, Annette talks to us about how she discovered analogue photography and shares some tips on harnessing your own creative style. Enjoy the artful yet candid portraiture on bold, daring women through her gaze.
How did your journey with analogue photography begin? What does analogue photography mean to you?
It all started in England. I spent a year of my studies there. Shortly after I arrived, my small digital camera broke. Luckily I met a very creative girl at the same time - she dabbled in everything from dance and painting to videography and photography. So I got to borrow her second camera. It inspired me so much that I very quickly got the desire to capture people and moments. My roommates then had to come in for a shoot because I wanted to win an exchange students' photo contest (and thus a 20€ Amazon gift card). I didn't, of course...
Photography is a small, tiny moment that you capture forever. Pressing the button at the right time is still very special to me today. We can write things down, capture them in words or describe them, but a photo is again a very different insight.
What inspires you?
Observing people totally inspires me. And documenting them. Every person is so different and reacts to certain situations in their own way. And colors. Colors and light magically attract me and I start creating stories with photos.
We love your unique compositions. Can you tell us more about your creative process? How do you decide on a subject and composition?
Sometimes I see images on the internet, scenes in movies and series, or in life that I want to recreate like that but in my own way. The inspired interpretation I would say. Then I think about who I could imagine doing it. Either a model I already know or those with whom I am currently in contact and planning the first project anyway. Once the location for a shoot is set and you're on location, the composition comes together all by itself. You look for a nice spot and start shooting. Sometimes a look at the mood board also helps to create certain moments.
What topics do you like to deal with in your photography?
I especially often and gladly depict the female body. Often topless or even less clothing. However, the women in the photos are never depicted sexually. Mostly they radiate strength and sensuality, among other things. But I am also available for all kinds of documentaries. Last year I documented my friend Aurora building a wooden bed from scratch. The light coming through the windows in the hall was beautiful and I was able to photograph a grinding Aurora with flying sawdust in the sunlight.
Tips on how to find your individual voice as a photographer?
I think this is sometimes the most exhausting and lengthy process as a photographer. And it doesn't stop. Sure, at some point you already know what you're doing and find your strengths, preferences, your own processes, and tricks. But the tone of voice keeps changing over time. It helped me a lot to work with some models and artists very closely and very often. By doing this, you find a style or language together, through shared creativity. Otherwise, I can only advise to try a lot of things and then pursue what you're most up for.
Do you have a favorite photo or motif?
I can not commit to a favorite photo. But one of my favorite photos I shot in Morocco 2019. In it, you can see an overturned cart in the center, with lots of brightly colored oranges rolling out of it and already spread out on the street. You can see some men and blurry hands already holding oranges, rushing to help. It's a perfect, unstaged moment in life.
Do you already have new projects planned?
I'm actually always planning projects on the side. Of course, this year it's also difficult to really plan in advance, but I'm already trying to implement a few free projects. Maybe those pictures can also be submitted to magazines.
Last but not least: Do you have some inspirational words or tips for our readers?.
Try to shoot as often as possible. Then you'll get into a flow and can get more and more creative with photos, perspectives, and settings at every shoot. Because on the fifth shoot of the week you don't go straight into the simplest perspective (you already did that yesterday and the day before yesterday), but you try something new right away. Twist yourselves, shoot from a completely different angle or shoot through fabrics or things. Or you give the model instructions for quite unusual, new poses. For this, shooting does not have to 'belong'. Not 5 hours every day. Creative 30 minutes are sometimes even more enriching.