Interview: Olivia Alexander
Luca Curci talks with Kornelia Boje, the winner of PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE MONTH – JANUARY 2022.
Kornelia Boje was born in Berlin during the Second World War. She grew up in Hamburg, where she played as a child on the theatre stage and on the radio. Later in Cologne, where she lived from 1961 to 2015 she was involved in more than 100 television appearances and theatre engagements: in Kiel, Darmstadt, Zurich, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart… The radio work was and remained the artist’s home, as well as audiobook readings and dubbing work. In 1980 photography was added, learned from my father Dr. Walter Boje. Since 2015 she has photographed dance pieces by well-known choreographers, including Sasha Waltz, Mats Ek, Alexander Ekman and Marcia Haydee. She has participated in several exhibitions and trade fair: Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt a. M., Damnatz, Berlin.
In 1981, while working on the film “The Shore – Bereg” in Moscow, Boje learned Russian in order to translate a play about the poet Sergey Yesenin into German and to play with the Russian team in German university towns. Since that time, I have written and produced radio features about my Russian experiences, radio plays and two novels. Everything she works on has to do with storytelling – expressing what she feels, what she sees, and what she experiences.
LC – How did you get into photography? Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
KB – My father Walter Boje was a theatre photographer in Hamburg from 1949 to 1954. We came to Hamburg from Berlin as refugees. Since we couldn’t take anything with us, it went without saying that my big sister and I helped where we could. So I held lamps during theatre rehearsals. And that’s how I learned photography naturally, by being able to watch my father at work – that’s how I later learned to act, by the way, by watching rehearsals. My first professional photos were taken at the music rehearsals of the Munich Film Harmonic Orchestra for the opening of the 2006 film festival. The photos were projected onto the big screen during the concert. And for BMW in Munich I documented the structure of the BMW World, the exhibition was given the title “Das Rund”, because the building developed from a circle.
LC – How important is the editing process in your work? How’s yours?
KB – The editing process takes place with me alone. Once a photo tells me a story that appeals to me, I kind of unlock the photo by the title I give it, and the viewer can then decide if the photo tells the same story to them as it does to me.
LC – What are the three hashtags essential to define your poetics that you could not give up?
KB – See – Feel – Tell
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
KB – To meet my demands, to leave the unnecessary and all too familiar to others.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
KB – My favourite subjects: dance, theatre, demolition and construction in architecture, portraits, children, sculptures in their details, impressions of the city, water.