If Kristina Walther were a wolf, she’d definitely be an alpa wolf. This model turned photographer packs some serious talent. Time and again, her work for Lone Wolf Magazine stands head and shoulders above her competitors. Her use of painted abstract art over her stunning photography is such a breath of fresh air in an industry that can be more than a little repetitive (broken doll anyone?). We talked to this talented lady about her craft.
Lone Wolf: What was the inspiration for this photo-shoot?
Kristina Walther: For the winter issue I wanted to create a dark, strong story with a sense of mystery. The wire headpieces that my stylist, Katharina Klug, created fascinated me. They were central to the inspiration of the story as a whole. I wanted to create a fashion story that played with contrasts. Contrast shown through the use of the light, that creates a type of dynamically symbiotic image, as well as in the use of couture fashion. There needed to be a lot of color in a dark mysterious atmosphere. The headpieces recalling different objects and images saved in the viewers memory, while being something utterly different. That “art” effect that I mentioned before, trying to surpries the viewer, create a sense of wonder. For example, in one image the model looks as if she would be wearing something like a crown of thorns or halo from the shadow perspective while she is sitting in a Mary- esque position . All the while wearing striped latex stockings coupled with a see through blouse. The idea being to confuse the viewer a bit. All of the sense of the familiar leading him to expect one thing, then having to stop to ascertain the mystery.
LW: Describe your decision to use mixed media in your fashion photography.
KW: My interest and fascination extends through many forms of art. So, for me, using mixed media seemed to emerge very naturally while trying to “loosen” my fashion photography. Keeping the fashion photography from being only about showing and selling clothes and putting it into a position that is its right, its own art form. A means to its own end, if you will. The expression of the paint on the photo is one of my ways to accomplish this.
In my opinion “art” is something that evokes a strong reaction in the viewer. It can be something surprising, touching, inspiring, beautiful, but it must create a reaction. This idea of art encompasses all of arts facets. I feel, if I am able to create an image that makes the viewer stop for a moment leaving him with a sense of wonder, I have done a good job. If the viewer also walks away feeling that he has seen something truly beautiful and feels inspired in some way, well, that is all you can hope.
LW: What kind of lighting did you use?
KW: I used film lighting to create the strong light contrasts. All arranged in order to reveal the dark, defined shadows. The background is a very large canvas lightly and abstractly painted. This painted background along with the creation of the strong shadowed lighting contrasted by the styling and strong colored makeup to create the photo, all to lead back again to painting on the photo’s. The layers all put together are for the viewer to see and sort through.
LW: What about your model?
KW: I was searching for a model that could take the contrasts of the shooting. It had to be a classical beauty, with something special or mysterious about her. I loved Nina’s expressive eyes and strong eyebrows along with her fragile body. Her contrasts made her seem as if she were made to fit the story.
Being a model for many years myself, I have experienced all kinds of teams and working situations. With that knowledge I definitely know what atmosphere I want to have on my set now. Also, what I don’t. So far, as a photographer, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with people that were very creatively talented and ambitious, as well nice. That combination is what I want around me, so I tend to work with the same team. It is similar to all your personal relationships you have to find a combination that works. Nevertheless, I am always open to finding new people as well. Others that can influence the creative process with their unique flair and talent.
LW: You used some incredible wire head pieces in the shoot, did you have any trouble with wardrobe?
KW: As always, with couture, things are fragile. One of the dresses required the use of special gloves in order to touch it! While another dress was so heavy poor Nina had a hard time standing straight. Little things that make the fashion fun. These items were not created to be anything other than inspired and beautiful. Which I guess brings us right back to that, “art” thing, right?