Interview: Giesenleendersinspiration

Interview: Giesenleenders

When browsing the internet you'll sometimes be surprised to find some really great photo series. Some of them catch your interest instantly and make your day a bit brighter. Exactly how we found the photo series 'Mimicry' from photographers duo Giesenleenders. We asked them to share some backgrounds on this series.

How do you choose the subjects for your series?
Thinhs that interest us are our inspiration: movies, things we come across on the street (as we have been inspired by vagabonds in the series Monotypes), news, architecture...

You guys work as a combo. Do you work out ideas together or do you bring things up in turn?
Often one of us comes up with a starting point, which we discuss and develop. We go out to find all kinds of material that touch the subject. That way a kind of moodboard is created, on which we then can elaborate.

On your website you tell us that
the uniformity of people is the inspiration for this series (Mimicry). People who blend in with their surroundings and don't attract attention. Where did you get the inspiration for that? 
From people on the street really. Many people dress alike, just to fit in with one group or another. We choose to enlarge that in our "Mimicry" series by adding a similar pose to the identical clothing. You can hardly see if the persons in the picture are male or female, even more anonimous. On top of that all, they allmost blend in perfectly - a reference to the non exsistence of an identity. Mimicry is not a comment on society, it is more an observation.

How did you come to this specific interpretation of the theme?
We had a scenario in mind for every image of Mimicry, but we kept it open for interpretation of the viewers.

The choice of restraining yourselves to primairy and secundairy colors, was that part of the idea or is that something that comes up during the proces of actually making the images?

That came up during the proces. I (Maurits Giesen red.) remember that in the beginning there was no intended colors whatsoever, just one single black and white picture in which one person would dissolve completely in the background. later on it turned into a colorversion. After making up the first image ideas kept popping up out of enthousiasm. Many of those ideas had primary colors as main factor. Eventually we made up the whole series in theory. On the whole that appears to be our method: before we go out to shoot, each series is already finished in our heads.

Was it difficult to find these kind of colourful backgrounds?
Yes, you really must keep your eyes open and search very specifically. Some locations we just had to use. The orange building for example. We knew of its exsistence, and just needed permission to use it. We really had to convince the owner. He didn't want to cooperate at first because the building had been in the news rather negatively. The orange of the building reflected on the other building. Some of the neighbours (among which a photographer who needed to judge his prints) went 'mad' from the constant orange glow on everything in their homes. eventually it led to a lawsuit and the owner had to repaint the building. It is now a very bright green. Haha.
For the yellow image it was clear that there needed to be a yellow leaved tree. We had spotted some next to the highway. Obviously we needed to look for the same trees in a different surrounding because of the unsafety of the situation. You need to search again and than it is not so easy any longer. Besides color, the tree needed to meet other requirements as well. There had to be a reasonably horizontal firm branch for instance so it would support us sitting on it. And the tree needed to be isolated in its background as to avoid disturbance.
The green background was the result of sheer coincidence. One of us cycled along a broad trench covered with green duckweed. Than you have to act quickly because it occurs only for a short period of the year. On the day of the shoot however the duckweed was no longer where we expected it to be. That was a scare! Luckily the duckweed had been transported upstream, into an even bigger compilation. Much better than the first spotted location. Sometimes you have to be lucky.
Every picture had its own demands. The swimming pool had to have a solid blue tiled floor without any striping. And next to finding the location you need to get permission.

Are the photos taken in the Netherlands?
Yes they are. The whole series have been photographed near The Hague/ Rotterdam/ Amsterdam.

You both also operate solo. What is it that your cooperation brings to each of you?
Worldfame. Hopefully :-) No, without foolery: our cooperation brings a broadening of your view and gets you working outside of your comfortzone. Refreshing and keeps you on edge. And that has its reflections on both our own work as well.


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