We meet on a hot Sunday afternoon. Usually shy Resa Rot, photographer of intense black & white pictures of the human soul, has a lemonade with fresh mint in front of her. It is the closing date of her first solo exhibition. She looks at me with her deep, dark eyes and we jump right to the conversation.
I decide to examine her work from the obvious to the hidden, internal agenda.
So when did she start to engage with photography as an artform? “It startet three years ago”, she tells me. “Back then I was involved in a singer/songwriter project with a friend who left the city. So I had to find myself a new thing I could occupy my mind with.” A photography workshop intrigued her and came right in time.
It’s do or die
Every week the class had the task to take portrait pictures and discuss them later in the group. “For me it’s always do or die. So I quickly became obsessed with photography”, Resa Rot adds with a laugh. Soon her artistic vision was clear: “There are more ways to show a person than just from a beautiful angle in beautiful light with beautiful clothes.” She has the ability to explore the feelings and inner conflicts of her models. “I always ask them what’s going on in their lifes right now. Most of the time I don’t have a fixed theme or vision of a picture in mind. I just let the people I work with take me to the points and themes they wanna express.”
So if there’s a rule for a typical shoot it can be described as: Forget about beauty. Do whatever you like or always wanted to do, but never dared to enact before. “For some people my way of working even serves as some kind of therapy. They come to me with a special idea. Something about their life that has been bothering them for quite a while. Problematic relationships or sexual abuse for example. Posing for daring and unconventional pictures helps these clients face their troubles or see them from a different perspective. And keep in mind: Many of my models simply like to show another facet of their personality.”
I get inspired by the people I shoot
To achieve such intimate photographs, Resa Rot often shoots the models in their ‘natural environment’: their own homes. “Yes, I’ve seen a lot”, she confirms. To ensure there’ll be no misunderstandings of the desired results, she invests a lot of time in talking to the people she’s going to work with. “It’s the best way to figure out what they want and if I can translate these wishes. The pictures often resonate with my own feelings and experiences, so it is important, that I can relate to my models.”
Still chance plays a big part in the development of the final scenery. “I don’t work with a fixed setting or plan. I like to get inspired by the people I shoot and the way they live”, Resa Rot explains. It’s always an emotinal quest for both parties: “Otherwise I wouldn’t do it.”