Blog 1703 Pernille Sandberg Neubau Eyewear 2

Explo­ring phi­lo­so­phy and human psy­cho­lo­gy through pho­to­gra­phy with Per­nil­le Sandberg

This month's featured artist is Oslo based Danish photographer Pernille Sandberg.

After moving from her home­town in Copen­ha­gen to Ber­lin at the age of 18, Per­nil­le began to explo­re her visu­al voice through the inspi­ring peop­le she met. Fasci­na­ted by the trans­gen­der world, she comments on the bounda­ries and sys­tems that defi­ne how humans navi­ga­te life through her photography.

Blog 1703 Pernille Sandberg Neubau Eyewear 1

What do you hope to trans­la­te through your work?
Ulti­mate­ly, my goal is to inspi­re my audi­ence to re-eva­lua­te their life­style. Our lives can be lived in end­less ways and we’re the only ones who are crea­ting how we navi­ga­te on this pie­ce of Earth. Pom­pous, you might say, but think about it – if nobo­dy aims high, explo­res and inves­ti­ga­tes them­sel­ves and their sur­roun­dings psychi­cal­ly and psy­cho­lo­gi­cal­ly through a hedo­nistic approach we won’t pro­gress and get clo­ser to uni­ver­sal hap­pi­ness. On this jour­ney, pain is, in my opi­ni­on, an ine­vi­ta­ble ele­ment, that deser­ves to be visua­li­zed too. Pain is an emo­ti­on we’ll have to deal with and accept, and I see a lot of pain shi­ning through my work.

How did you deve­lop your style? Was the­re a peri­od of tri­al and error befo­re you found a medi­um that worked for you?
When I was around 16 I began stu­dy­ing fashion design and tailo­ring. I had made fashion drawings and spent all my pocket money on maga­zi­nes sin­ce I was 10- years-old. I was exces­si­ve­ly con­fi­dent that I would have a suc­cess­ful care­er as a fashion desi­gner. Qui­te immedia­te­ly though I rea­li­zed I found it much more enter­tai­ning to pho­to­graph my own and my fel­low student’s designs once they were finis­hed and place their work in new con­texts, crea­ting a visu­al bridge bet­ween my own and the designer’s vision.

When did you start taking pho­to­gra­phy serious­ly? Was the­re a defi­ni­ti­ve moment that you rea­li­zed you could do this as a care­er?
At some point during my stu­dies in fashion design I joi­ned my dad on a trip to Kenya and Tan­za­nia. He’s a wild­life pho­to­gra­pher and I have joi­ned him on many of his trips, but this time I tried to sell my pho­to­graphs when I retur­ned to Copen­ha­gen. I ended up sel­ling all my images and I got a kick out of it. I thought, may­be this is actual­ly pos­si­ble”. Ano­t­her tur­ning point was when I drop­ped out of high school becau­se I was accep­ted to the high­ly acc­lai­med art school Fata­mor­ga­na’ in Copenhagen.

Blog 1703 Pernille Sandberg Neubau Eyewear 2

What are you influ­en­ced most by at the moment?
At the moment I’m extre­me­ly inte­res­ted in how we as humans can chal­len­ge and trick our mind­set into new ways of per­cei­ving the world through phi­lo­so­phy, reme­di­es, art and sci­ence. What we see and expe­ri­ence is cove­r­ed by ever­ything we’ve expe­ri­en­ced through our lives. This is why I love working as a pho­to­gra­pher, through this medi­um I can play and crea­te illu­si­ons, I can trick mys­elf and others into jour­neys of dis­co­very and hope­ful­ly plant a frag­ment of play­ful­ness and adven­tur­ous zest in the mind of my viewers.

Pre­vious­ly you’ve sta­ted that you are inte­res­ted by the idea of being trans­gen­der. When was this topic some­thing you beca­me influ­en­ced by?
Being trans­gen­der is, in my opi­ni­on, a spe­cial approach to life which I can only admi­re. I belie­ve it takes a lot of per­so­nal cou­ra­ge to under­stand our gen­der and to dis­tin­guish from the sex we were assi­gned at birth. Our gen­der is shaped and colou­red by our sur­roun­dings and under­ly­ing rules of socie­ty, but obvious­ly not ent­i­re­ly. The­re are bio­lo­gi­cal dif­fe­ren­ces bet­ween men and women we can­not avoid and this might be the core of my fasci­na­ti­on. What makes a woman and what makes a man?

Do you pre­fer to get to know your sub­jects befo­re pho­to­gra­phing them or catch them in a moment?
Every sin­gle human being is dif­fe­rent and every shoo­ting is dif­fe­rent. I enjoy pho­to­gra­phing peop­le I’ve just met as much as pho­to­gra­phing my boy­friend and best friends. When I shoot someo­ne for the first time I explo­re their opi­ni­ons and self-image through the lens, some­thing I find extre­me­ly intri­guing. Tur­ning my came­ra towards some­bo­dy is like tur­ning the person’s own gaze towards him or her self. It reve­als their inner self-awa­reness and I find it fasci­na­ting to get to know peop­le by cap­tu­ring the emo­ti­ons crea­ted bet­ween us, whe­ther it’ll be ecsta­sy or des­pair. When I pho­to­graph someo­ne I know well I still feel I explo­re a new side of them and that our rela­ti­on deepens.

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You’ve pho­to­gra­phed some very influ­en­ti­al peop­le in fashion. What is one sto­ry or moment that you can never for­get?
When I was 17 years old I con­ta­c­ted the Ame­ri­can, Paris-based fashion cri­tic and foun­der of ASVOFF and asked her if I could inter­view her for the Danish publi­ca­ti­on Dry Maga­zi­ne. She ans­we­red my email in an hour and asked me to meet her in Paris in her favou­rite café a few days later. I remem­ber I was liter­al­ly shaking while wai­t­ing for her in the busy café among the fashion­ab­le Pari­sians. The moment she arri­ved I loo­se­ned up. Her deep voice, the inten­se eau de par­fum and her end­less sto­ries of her life in New York and Paris working in the fiel­ds of design, fashion, film and music hit me right in the core of my body and we ended up chat­ting for more than three hours. She pla­ced a litt­le seed in me which gave me the con­fi­dence to keep on working and belie­ving in what I do. Now and then I turn to this inter­view and read it to remind mys­elf that nobo­dy said it would be easy.

Sin­ce moving to Ber­lin from Copen­ha­gen how has your style in pho­to­gra­phy chan­ged? Do you feel this is for the bet­ter?
My style of pho­to­gra­phy chan­ged drasti­cal­ly sin­ce I moved to Ber­lin. One side of it is the fact that I was sud­den­ly expo­sed to per­so­na­li­ties and ways of living I had no idea exis­ted befo­re I moved out of the safe, litt­le cage that is Copen­ha­gen. Ano­t­her part of it is the fact that I moved the­re alo­ne right after my 18th bir­th­day only knowing two peop­le in the city. It for­ced to me to actively make an effort to build a social net­work I could rely on. Bot­tom line is I would never have deve­lo­ped my per­so­nal, visu­al voice in the same way without the move to Berlin.

Is Ber­lin a city whe­re you can see yourself spen­ding a long peri­od of your life?
I recent­ly moved to Oslo, Nor­way and regard my time as a rol­ler­coas­ter citi­zen of Ber­lin to be over. Ber­lin is a city of joy and self-explo­ra­ti­on, a city of immense crea­ti­vi­ty and inno­va­ti­on in arts, music, fashion, design and archi­tec­tu­re which will always be a gre­at source of inspi­ra­ti­on to me. Oslo is inspi­ring in many ways too and even though it is rela­tively clo­ser mental­ly and life­style-wise to my home­town, Copen­ha­gen, I still find it qui­te exotic.

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What is your favou­rite spot to spend a sum­mer after­noon in Ber­lin?
In Schle­si­scher Busch sur­roun­ded by my loved ones drin­king 2 € beers or on the roof­top of Soho House.

If you were to move to ano­t­her city whe­re would it be?
Some­whe­re whe­re I can ride hor­ses, drink my cof­fee with bare legs in the sun every morning, paint and pho­to­graph peop­le in my mas­si­ve day­light-stu­dio facing the sea. Mel­bourne may­be. I’ve never been but I ima­gi­ne it to be the ide­al set­ting for an urban, acti­ve and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly laid-back lifestyle.

08 März 2017 · NEUBAU EYEWEAR
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