Hannah Brandes

From an early age, Hannah Brandes’ father told her that her grandmother was a holocaust survivor. During her childhood, little information was given about her suffering, and the grandmother’s life almost became a dark fantasy to her. 
MALKA is a video portrait of Hannah Brandes’s attempt to get in touch with her grandmother again. The film excludes itself from the “typical holocaust film” by not working with archival footage or the commonly seen interviews with relatives. Instead, it uses an 8mm camera and animations to catch moments as visual references to her grandmother’s story.

Hannah Brandes

I am a photographer and videographer from Stockholm, Sweden. In my teenage years, I studied Art & Sculpture at Södra Latins gymnasium in Stockholm and later on continued experimenting with photography and film after my graduation. Though photography is my main medium of expression, video and illustration have become techniques I like to work with as well. And my work expression is often crossing between the different mediums.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

To begin with, I definitely think this is a big question to answer in just a couple of sentences. But if I could speak freely, I can see myself working for a production company or design studio as a full-time job and working on longer documentary projects on the side.

What is a good design for you?

"Good design" for me is barely recognized by the viewer, and it has a clear read thread through its way of concept and artistic style. It's not necessarily clean, but it is a style I like the most.

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

I think the most challenging thing during my studies was to separate myself from my work. Something that I realized that I needed to learn how to do due to criticism and self-development.

Who or what inspires you?

I find a huge interest and fascination for supernatural stories and the human psychic.

How do you approach a new project?

My projects are, for the most part, fashion stories or based on emotional experiences. Depending on the approach, I often start the project in different ways. When it comes to the "fashion stories", research is involved at the beginning of the project. Searching for images and creating multiple drawings of subjects, environments, and lighting. In the projects with "emotional experiences", I start photographing directly, and during the working period I bring along my camera in my pocket at all times. The photographs are sometimes staged and sometimes at the moment.

What advice would you give to students who just started studying in your programme?

I have just one piece of advice: "Photograph everything that you find is beautiful and interesting, and if it looks terrible, continue the next day and photograph something new." In the end, continue and don't stop just because it doesn't work one day.

Have you changed during your studies? How?

I've changed a lot during my studies. Not only have I changed my idea and approach to photography, but also my style and technique. My studies have allowed me to experiment and explore different ways of working with the medium, and I can now see photography as something so much more than "just a photograph".

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

I chose to study photography because I wanted to learn how to create stories with single images and understand the photographic equipment.

What are you not going to miss in your studies?

I can't really think of anything.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

My graduation will be celebrated with a bottle of wine, some well-made cocktails, and some fancy-ass dinner. Then I will probably have a call with my beloved classmates and cheer together through Zoom.

Say hi!

3 comments in total

Misha 2021-02-22 15:41:19

Love your work! very touching and convincing! well done:)

Michael Engfors 2021-02-13 20:55:06

Exceptional work! I really liked the tense and emotional atmosphere you managed to create in this short film.

Martin Engfors 2021-02-12 19:27:30

Hi Hannah! What a deep and moving project Malka turned out to be. I'm proud of what you've achieved and allthough you and your family come from a dark past i can clearly see a bright future for you.

Daniella Boveland