Sara Lamen has a rather intriguing view on Photography, after she originally studying International P0litics! Sara, please introduce yourself to those out there who’ve never heard your name before with an interesting fact thrown in there…
I am Sara Lamens a photographer, graduated at LUCA school of Arts Ghent (Belgium). I always have loved to live in cities, but now I have my studio and darkroom in the middle of a garden.
How did you get yourself in to photography; did you study it at university for example?
I’ve studied at International Politics at university, but never Photography! After having worked and lived a few years abroad, I felt something essential was missing. Back in Belgium I decided to study Photography at LUCA school of Arts in Ghent (Belgium). it all happened very fast; I challenged the medium photography and started from an early stage on to experiment. I also took for some years some drawing evening classes, because I needed to have a more physical link with what I created.
Where do your photos tend to be set, whether they’re outside or inside?
Both, inside and outside. I have printed some of my photos on to poster paper and glued it on city walls with self-made wheat paste. I love the way they interact with the walls and occasional passers-by. Also their process of decay and destruction is very interesting. The fact that they can hang for years on these walls, sometimes they are filled with moss or colors are faded, makes them part of the existing living environment.
But I value also the more intimate ways of presenting photos in an exhibition and in a book. Important for me in an expo is the different ways visitors can see the presented photo’s, small prints and large prints, presentations very low and more 3 dimensional. Photos in an installation inside give me the possibility to add some more multilayered content.
I also appreciate photobooks a lot and I am looking forward to work on a new photobook project. The idea people can touch my pictures and can enjoy them whenever and where they want, makes it for me very special and creates a special bond between viewer/reader and maker.
Film or digital and why?
Mainly film and most of the time with small simple cameras with not a lot of options. Even though I sometimes scan my film to print afterwards.
I have an ambiguous relation with a digital camera. I rationally understand its advantages, but a digital camera and myself do not get along very well and the digital cameras I have tried are often too big, too perfect and give me too many possibilities to retry and loose focus. I also like the more uniqueness of film. A part of my artistic process happens in that darkroom. I really like working on my pictures in an active physical way and not only by clicking on my keyboard. I even work on my pictures with ink, pencils or paint.
I only struggle with the ecological important side effects of analogue photography and I am looking for a way to work greener with film and in the darkroom. I even started to experiment with coffee as a developer.
If you were to select three objects from your working studio, which would they be and why?
Scissors, pencil & plain colored washi tape to stick my pictures on my walls.
Explain your photos in five words…
Layered, intense, mysterious, reconstructed and evoking.
Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?
In general I am inspired by people who are trying to push little by little limits of society, the arts… But also very small lifetime events, like finding a shark tooth at the shore can give me lots of inspiration. I am also fascinated by transitional moments, like twilight and society changes.
If you’re not photographing you’re…
When I am not photographing I am working in my garden, daydreaming, thinking about what happens in this world and hugging the ones I love. I also give advise to photographers on their artistic projects: concept writing, portfolio reviews and presentation possibilities for exhibitions. I am also planning to organise some workshops in the future and to start interviewing some more experimental photographers.