Espen Eichhöfer: Welcome to OSTKREUZ! After working as a professional photographer for quite a long time, what are your main wishes regarding your junior membership at OSTKREUZ?
Sibylle Fendt: After eight years of working mostly on my own, I'm looking forward to being part of a community, to the exchange between the members, to collective projects and to having a share in the further development of the agency.
EE: You just won an important Photo Award with the independent project "Gardener's journey". How would you describe the relevance of independent projects and commissioned work?
SF: My personal work is the reason why I became a photographer. Through assignments I gain experience in dealing with people, with clients' needs and time management. Through assignments I earn my living and finance my independent projects. There are many jobs I really enjoy working on. An independent project on which I continuously work for months and years is definitely an entirely different challenge though.
EE: Your photographic subjects are often extreme human destinies. How come you choose these issues?
SF: In my own life, during my youth, I went through some extreme experiences. I therefore feel connected to people who have gone lost in some way. During my studies I did quite a lot of projects one can describe as ironic and distant. It was a completely new experience for me photographing the clutterers for my diploma. My pictures could suddenly express deep emotions. I had to get involved with my models and justify my work. Through this experience I realized that my main interest in photography is the human portrait.
EE: Do you have new projects in the pipeline, do you mostly know what to do next?
SF: The only topic I am photographing without assignment these days are women with their newborn babies. I don't know what will come of it though. This project doesn't have much depth, the reason why I'm taking those pictures is that I remember this first week with my own child as magic so I am somehow searching for images that capture this experience. Sometimes I have come across a new topic by chance. Whenever I reach a point of unbearable boredom, I realize it is time to start a meaningful photographic work.
EE: Are you into digital photography or do you feel more comfortable with analog photography?
SF: I've photographed all my independent projects on negative and I am a little afraid of switching over to digital photography. As regards assignments, I have started to photograph more and more digitally though.
all images © Sibylle Fendt/OSTKREUZ