The poetic ambiance of her photographs evoke the fragility and ephemerality of her subjects; oscillating between an invitation to travel and a tribute to nature. Adeline Spengler‘s works transport us to an ethereal and dreamy world. Two years ago, she left the security of her job as an artistic director, to be able to devote herself to her creative research. Artsper invites you to get to know Adeline Spengler, this inspiring and courageous artist.
You work in press and publishing as a freelance artistic director, whilst simultaneously pursuing your personal career as a photographer and painter. Can you tell us about these two activities? How do you manage to do both?
I spent a long time as a full-time employee with an extremely busy schedule, so I practiced photography and painting in my free time. Whether this was during my travels, weekends, evenings or even during the night, I managed to find a balance between work and pleasure for several years. However, I began to grow frustrated and lose sight of myself, so two years ago, I made the decision to leave the financial security I had always known! It was a dangerous move but I felt I had to do it. Today, I still work as an artistic director, but I do it freelance, and devote most of my time and thought to my artistic research. I am currently working on two new photo book projects. They’re not finished, but they’re progressing nicely! I am also currently looking to collaborate with a writer or a poet who could add a narrative to my images. I’m both a words and images enthusiast, so I am extremely attached to pages and books. Literature was actually a passion of mine from a very young age, long before I became a photographer.
You first trained as a graphic designer and then explored painting and drawing, before eventually turning to photography. Would you say that this is your preferred medium?
I can’t deny that photography is a real passion of mine… dare I say even an obsession!
I grew up in a very artistically-inclined family, and through my study of visual arts, I was able to explore all kinds of artistic practices. Although I hold on to many of these practices, I always come back to photography with the same enthusiasm and passion.
Do you remember your first camera?
Yes! I remember! It was a Polaroid! It was a gift from my parents when I must have been about eight years old. I photographed everything and anything with questionable clarity. I loved capturing even the most mundane of moments; freezing them for eternity like little treasures. The way the photos physically appeared after a few minutes, was something I found mesmerising about Polaroids.
Did you always photograph your subjects on the spot? Can you tell us a little bit about your technique?
It took me a long time to photograph people. I am a contemplative person, and I used my solitary wanderings and adventures to capture and translate these precious moments. For me, photography is a form of meditation; it has a calming effect on the mind and facilitates memory. I am fascinated by nature, especially trees, birds and clouds because they encourage us to look up, and they represent the fragility of the time. Some of my works are either photomontages or imaginary constructions, whilst others are barely reworked. I don’t deny myself anything, but I’ve recently returned to more a spontaneous form of photography. As far as technique is concerned, I am completely self-taught. Although I mostly work in natural light, I also enjoy the artificiality of electric night lights.
I loved capturing even the most mundane of moments; freezing them for eternity like little treasures.
Which photographers inspire you?
I like the photographers that reveal the sensitivity and fragility of the world around us. Francesca Woodman, for example, overwhelms me with her introspective and surrealist approach to photography. Meanwhile, Sarah Moon‘s visual poetry and Tim Walker’s magical depictions, capture the ethereal nature of the world which I also experience. I am also particularly struck by the magnificent work of Claudine Doury, with whom I had the opportunity to do several workshops. I am very interested in Joan Fontcuberta’s artistic approach, especially her method of blurring and contorting the truth. When it comes to galleries, I fell in love with the selection of artists in the Parisian gallery, Camera Obscura, because I feel very connected to their sensitivity.