In Pictures - Martina Hoogland Ivanow, Far Too Close — ANOTHERMAG (2011)
By Lucia Davies
Nostalgic, painterly and emotive are all words that come to mind when describing renowned photographer Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s images. Stockholm-born Ivanow’s striking signature aesthetic has garnered her features in AnOther Magazine, Dazed & Confused and Blindspot, as well as exhibitions at The Victoria & Albert Museum, Barbican and Moderna Museet. This month sees the release of the book Far Too Close, Ivanow’s seven year long photographic project based on travel and distance, both physical and emotional, “of closeness to a subject and remoteness from a place,” as Ivanow explains. Poetically dark, Ivanow’s photographs depict landscapes from as far-reaching places as Kola Peninsula in Russian Lapland to Tierra del Fuego on the southern tip of Argentina, alongside family portraits and interiors of home. Interweaving themes of the unfamiliar and disturbing with the personal and intimate, Far Too Close tells a visual story of history and emotion both close and far. Here we speak to Ivanow about the book’s underlying narrative, moments of inbetweeness and darkness.
What inspired you to create Far Too Close?
This work started as a personal investigation of my relationship to travel and travel as a method to create work.
Why did I need to travel so far to take a step inside myself? The first part includes journeys to ends of continents and the second part a return to a home, images of distant landscapes layered with interiors and portraits of my closest family.
Is there an underlying narrative or theme to this series of photographs?
An exploration of two seemingly opposite positions of proximity – through the experience of closeness and distance.
There is a very dark and ominous undercurrent to the book – what mood do you want it to evoke?
I worked on and off with this project for about seven years so, this changed throughout the process but there is a sort of rhythm of perspective with various distances from camera to subject in the book and the only conscious choice of aesthetic I did was to deduct colour as a method to make that a bit clearer.
What emotional journey do you hope your images take the viewer on and did you find them in any way emotional to take and put together?
I see darkness as way to abstract or give special attention to certain details. My interest in photography is often based on leaving spaces, I find it sometimes more generous to deduct information rather than giving too much. I think of this work as images of inbetweeness, short stories related on the basis of one image.
What camera and film did you shoot these photographs on and why?
I still work with film, I like the intuitive quality of the process and the need to wait for processed film before edit.
If you could sum this photo book up in just one sentence what would they be?
It is a visual meditation on distance, both physical and emotional, of closeness to a subject and remoteness from a place.