The photographs of Anne Schwalbe are subtle observations of quiet scenes, capturing subjects that seem to transcend a specific time/place/situation. I imagine this gives a viewer the opportunity to connect with the image in a very personal way, to do something with the image in their own moment. Intrigued by her images, I was inspired to do a short interview and hear more about her background and her inspiration.
Could you give a short history of yourself?
Anne Schwalbe: I grew up in Berlin. I developed my first black and white print in the 6th class. After school I wanted to do an apprenticeship at a photo shop, but nothing worked out. I decided to give up photography and study German Studies and Cultural Studies. That was not the right thing for me. During these studies I began to do photography at a little Lab for young people in Berlin. In 2003 I started to study photography at the Ostkreuz School for Photography with Ute Mahler and Werner Mahler in Berlin. Since then I work solely on photography.
The Sonic Blog described your work as ‘typically German’. Do you think there is a ‘typical German style’? How does your work fit into it?
Anne Schwalbe: I think there is a typical German style, but I never had the feeling that I really fit into it. Nevertheless, the Sonic Blog said that he feels that my photography is somehow typically German in a way he cannot label more clearly. I like this comment, especially that he can’t describe my work.
What are some things/people/moods that inspire your work?
Anne Schwalbe: Emptiness, abstract things, monochrome paintings, sculptures, nature, silence, fun, to be in the middle of the nowhere together with people I like.
Nature is recurrent in your photos. Where does this interest come from?
Anne Schwalbe: I grew up in a town, but I really need to be in the nature. In a city there are too many cars, people, noise and not enough trees, silence and empty space.
I really like how you focus on the details and get really close; showing a lot by showing just a little. What is the motivation for this?
Anne Schwalbe: Thank you. It just developed. It was not my plan. I am interested in these things.
How do you think people experience your photography?
Anne Schwalbe: So many people, so many ways.