Watch the »Panography« video!
interview: Felix von Pless
director of photography: Johannes-Christian Michel
assistant camera: Stefan Tüshaus
edit/post-production: Mareen Fischinger
Read the (substantially overlapping) interview:
Q: Miss Fischinger, when visiting your online portfolio, one can find a variety of photos created for corporate and editorial projects. In addition, you expose your weakness for fashion photography.
What was the appeal to engage yourself in this artistic area, which seems to act as a direct contrast to your other work?
Mareen: I do not call engaging myself in the artistic, documenting or scientific areas a conflict of interest with my commercial assignments. Whenever I work on photographic projects, I plan everything from the concept to its actual realisation, be it for a client, or myself.
Naturally, fashion photography allows me to try out more experimental lighting setups and abstract poses than any annual report would! I can use fashion photography to try new ideas and play with shapes and colors, too. Of course, the clothing designer also needs to be satisfied, and I have to make some compromises.
Then there are my personal projects. Be it people being captured as they are hanging upside down, empty shopping temples, blurry shots of crowded places – or my Panographs. Most of these projects have been ongoing for years, as has Panography.
I have been working on Panography for almost four years now, but it wasn’t until early 2009, that Galerie Bailly contacted me about a possible exhibition. It felt good to experience how the project has become interesting and complex enough for a solo exhibition; which also encouraged me to create more from my current standpoint. Meaning, I set the standards that I had established before and created more Panographs from that basis in order to exhibit the concept in visual form. I am lucky because being treated like an artist gives me even more freedom. The gallery lets me decide many things concerning this exhibition because they trust my intuition and will to experiment.
Q: Similar forms of photo collage were created by renowned artists such as David Hockney in his »Pictures«. Roughly speaking, does this form of art reinvent itself in your Panographs?
Mareen: I would like to disconnect David Hockney’s »Pictures« and my Panographs, because I never saw it as me picking up where he finished off. I am aware that Hockney took several little photos and later joined them as a composite or collage. He often used various exposures which were correct for certain frames, which gave the final composite a high-dynamic-range look. Overall, his pieces all differ from one another, as he experimented with different styles in 1982-83.
David Hockney also went around his subjects to highlight them from different angles, making them cubistic, whereas I stand in one place and take in the atmosphere and space around me. I am a little person in the large scene, not freezing time, but highlighting passages of change within the environment as it happens. Be it two people meeting up, them arguing, somebody I document at work or just a passing train that shows in some frames and is gone in the next.
You can zoom into my finished Panographs and find interesting details or developments in every frame, most of them could be printed out as singles and are able to stand by themselves. Sometimes I do not use every frame I shoot because certain parts change a lot and are being photographed so often, they would overlap and become blurry.
But, as much as I highlight the differences, I don’t want to say too much of what I don’t do, as I am already looking forward to trying something new with my Panographs soon. Just haven’t executed it yet.
Q: Many of your pictures show places in your chosen hometown, Düsseldorf, Germany. Do you try to confuse the perceptions we have gotten used to, in order for us to experience our own environment in a brand-new way?
Mareen: I have always been told that I have the ability to capture objects in a different way than how people would normally perceive them. When I was younger, I never understood why the viewer felt that way. Today, I know that this has to do with a different approach I take to my environment. Naturally, instead of taking everything for granted, I want to know why and how things came to be; how everything interacts and develops. Additionally, taken out of the context and function of everyday life, things appear stronger or weaker, and I can support that by making them my subjects.
Q: You call your Panographs »false« photography. Why is that?
Mareen: I do call my Panographs »false« photographs for a reason. It is a matter of my pieces not being how one would normally describe a photograph. We expect photographs to have a set frame and composition, to freeze a moment in time – whereas here, by the arrangement of parts, I create shapes and shifts, lines become round and crooked, as the eyes would actually see them when they wander in rooms or on surfaces. It ist the brain that corrects and puts everything in perspective. My panoramic graphics are supposed to highlight that bridge between eye and brain.
This means the image is already a super perspective, a temporal and spherical image laid out in two dimensions, large enough to immerse yourself in.
+ If you liked this video, you might also want to check out the one I made for my thesis project (»Moment«) in summer 2009.