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Bittersweetness

Lia Sophie Laukant

"I am a woman in my mid-twenties surrounded by a society that is full of opinions about my body. The male gaze dominates our everyday life from the fashion and beauty industries to the art and film world. My life, like the life of every other young woman, is filled with experiences of sexism and unwanted sexualization of my body. In this project, I use photography as a medium to speak up. BITTERSWEETNESS is my personal journal of a journey to claim back my own body. It is filled with contradictions between celebrating the female body and freeing women from the pure male sexualization of their naked skin. Taking back control over intimate subjects like sex, menstruation, masturbation and the liberation from all alleged beauty standards, this series consists of self-portraits which were all shot on 35mm film. BITTERSWEETNESS deals with a generation of women captured in old conventions of what a female should be like and the process of breaking through these constrictions." (Lia Sophie Laukant)

Lia Sophie Laukant

My name is Lia and I am a photographer in my midtwenties. Photography has always been my biggest creative outlet, my passion and my daily accompaniment. I am fascinated by the power of a photograph – being able to freeze a moment forever and letting you relive it over and over again. I want to tell stories and share thoughts or opinions. Photography is my medium of choice to communicate. I am inspired by my surroundings, the people I meet and the places I visit. During the last year of my studies I realized that I am mostly interested in portraying my generation with all their dreams, fears, struggles and values. Feminism, sexism, environmental issues, love and friendship – to name a few. Everything is emotion and any emotion is worth being captured.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself living a life where I can pursue my passion – which has always been art. Someday, I hope to be having photo exhibitions all over the world and being able to live off what I love to do.

What is a good design for you?

Something innovative, new and therefor interesting. Anything that catches my eye and makes me feel intense emotions.

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

Managing my time between university, the responsibilities as a student representative and balance all that with work, family and friends. The past years have been super stressful but I would not have wanted to miss any second of it.

Who or what inspires you?

My grandmother. She is a painter and used to be a photographer. Her view on life and art taught me so much and gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the creative world. I can also get inspired by basically anything beautiful and interesting around me. It could be a person, a thing, a place, a writing, a smell, music or a certain lighting situation.

How do you approach a new project?

Whenever I have a new project idea, I collect photos, writings, colors and designs to create a moodboard. I also think about the wanted lighting situation, which type of camera (analogue or digital) I want to use and which location would be right for the project. If needed I also put down suggestions for the models/subjects. It is important to me that I have all information on one sheet to get the best overview and be organized.

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

Really take everything in and ask for more. I realized quickly that a lot of what I learned during my studies, I learned outside of class. I talked to professors, went to exhibitions, discussed projects and technics with other students and tried to not miss out on events or classes to really soak in as much knowledge as I could. I also learned that you should always listen carefully to advice, talk to people about your ideas and projects but never feel obligated to change your work for someones opinion if you don’t fully agree. Be true to yourself and take your time to find your own photographic language.

Have you changed during your studies? How?

I think everyone constantly changes depending on their surroundings and life situation. My life became mostly about photography during my studies. Being around so many people that are all involved in the creative industry was very empowering. Meeting likeminded minds every day and discussing projects or visiting exhibitions together really focused my priorities. Due to the intense engagement with a certain subject for each photo project, I realized what is most important for me right now – environmental and feminist issues – not only for my photography but also in everyday life. Photography became a personal and political instrument for me to share my thoughts, challenge society and represent my point of view. The studies helped me to find this focus and to be more confident in stating my opinion.

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

When it came to the point where I had to decide what I wanted to learn there was not really another option for me other than choosing photography. I’ve been into the subject since I was little and I always knew that I wanted to work in a creative job someday. Even though I write and draw as well, my focus has always been the camera therefor I have never had a doubt about choosing this program.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

Since we cannot meet with the whole graduation class this year, I am going to celebrate with my friends and family in my hometown.

Comments

2 comments in total

Oma Angelika 2020-08-11 22:53:18

Ich bin stolz und voller Freude, dass Du DEINEN Weg und Deine Passion gefunden hast und bin gespannt was Du alles noch machen wirst. Ein tolles Projekt...meine Hochachtung!

Erika 2020-08-07 18:26:29

Fantastisch. Berührend. Danke.❤️

Maximilian Glas