Florian Braakman, She comes in Colors

Florian: Lets Go.

Alexander: Regarding Unseen, how did this opportunity come about?

F: I had heard about the Dummy Award in the week from my graduation. So I submitted my book with a brief motivation that I only made 50 copies and that I'm looking for ways to publish it. Because the story should be available for more than just 50

A: As you felt there was a wider audience, what were your feelings about projecting such a project to more people, regarding the feelings involved? It always make me curious about the need to show these works, when they are designed for our well being first.

F: I realize that the project is personal one. But there are also a lot of universal connections. And I'm really behind the project, so that makes it also more easy to open up about it to an audience, but I really didn't think it through actually, I guess I just did it because it felt good.

A: Something people can relate too.

F: Exactly

A: Having a look through the book now, its production feels very crafted, with the open bind and also the inclusion of personal texts to route the series, what were your decisions behind identifying the project to you, and what did you take into consideration when editing for the book? A place where people see the relationship afresh. Without any physical connection to the real moment.

F: About identifying the project. I think longing is the word that describes it all.

A: Just like the reactions you had to your situation and how you dealt with it in pictures, it becomes a natural thing. I know for one when putting together a project on similar grounds of feeling, the sensation of publishing to a larger audience nerved me, this may have been down to my age at the time, only being 20 then.
Longing is definitely in there, with the planes almost colliding notions of moving on, also.

F: I photographed different aspects of longing. And indeed the planes felt for me like the big pictures.

A: The big statements..

(sorry, my pasta is boiling)

F: Like a moment of contemplation that I understood how life was at that moment

(haha nice lunch!)

A: I think this is an incredible thing to do, as we remember vaguely when in the moment, but when a picture is taken, the surroundings become familiar to you instantly, as if you could walk back to that position, which can be both harmful and positive.

(Its Gnocci, well good ☺)

F: (Love it ☺)
Yes, it was not a negative feeling at all, it was a very harmful feeling and situation. I was hungover on a Sunday, I went to the beach. It was windy and cold. But it was good to be out. Then I looked at the sky and saw these too planes approaching each other then I got my camera and shot the triptych.

A: It can kind of bury like a worm in the ground, and you don't realize that this great feeling, that can't materialize, becomes a negative effect, when it made/makes you feel the best you could ever feel. It is those chance moments you mentioned in your design choices; it is a fluid reaction to the situation.

F: Well for me it was taking the pictures which materialized the feeling. In a way, photographing is a way to get grip on life for me ☺

A: As a way of understanding. Something that makes me curious about the series is the distance between the subject, but how the feeling almost creates a hologram of the subject. The girl when she is so far away, but your want for the situation brings her to your life, in spirit, in a way the planes work as signals as when the feeling fades and a new feeling comes to replace the previous one they allow us to follow as viewers, but also represent your yearning for the subject. To head back to the book production, how did you manage designing and dealing with the work? Was it a long drawn out process or did it all slot into place?

F: I agree with you. I want my images to be open for interpretation. I find it important that they are associative. The title comes from a Rolling Stones song. Where a guy is longing for a girl, he sees her everywhere. And that’s exactly how I felt about my personal situation. The book production was indeed a long drawn. From the beginning I did not know how the story would evolve. I was taking pictures and putting them next to each other. I started to make dummies. That really gives the feeling of a book, turning the pages. Preparing layouts, printing, folding, gluing.

A: How long would you say this process was, until you reached a point where it was ready to print?

F: I think around 5 months. A week before printing I even added two pictures. But before that I already made a framework. I had it clearly in my head where the pictures needed to be.

A: When taking the pictures did the book production have an effect on your decisions or was it, you shoot and then design after its finished?

F: I think along the way I knew better what I was looking for, for example on what moment of the day I went out. But I guess I didn’t really think about it, I went with the flow.
Only now you've asked.

A: Regarding the story, how did you come to meet her?

F: In the summer of 2012 I was at the photo festival in Arles, south of France. She, a photographer as well, was traveling through Europe and also visited the festival. We met at the Hypermarket, where a lot of books from different publishers were on display. Later I saw her again in town, Arles is very small. Then I borrowed a Polaroid camera from this guy from the impossible project. I had a few sheets and was photographing beautiful girls in town. Suddenly I realized that I wanted to photograph Isadora. But where was she…

I thought I had only one sheet left so I started walking around the town. I got some information from people and then I found her. I asked to take her picture. She agreed but after taking the picture she wanted to have it. Luckily I had one more sheet so I had a picture as well.

A: How did it then begin to form a kind of romance, from that point, or after?

F: After that point I guess. Before we were just exchanging glances. So the Polaroid was the breaking point.

A: Photography became the connection. It is then interesting that photography then became the antidote to what you were feeling, when it was photography that brought you to meet. It is almost like a friend trying to help you hook people up and helping when it doesn’t work out. If we were to personify photography

It is something nice, when photographer’s talk, because photography is such an intimate thing, and precious to the person who does it. When two photographers connect it becomes a deeper connection, if that makes sense. The reason I say this is with Bianca this was how it happened.

F: It really does!

A: And i seem to only fancy photographers from now on.

How do you feel about the project existing in the public realm, always being a reminder on the situation? When originally being a cathartic process, after you receive gratification on the project, it evolves into something else, as a document of a glorious time, with elements of sadness.

F: Well, it's a personal story, and I'm really behind it, so I guess it makes it easy to deal with. Of course sadness, maybe.

A: As you described a tragedy, in the book, that you needed to make your art.

F:  But I'm a positive person by nature, so I always try to look at the opportunities ahead - to look forward.

A: So it exists as a positive memory. The reason I am intrigued is, every time I view the corridor, it all seems so vivid, the book becomes a chance to relive the experience. All elements of it.

Even the point where I took the pictures, the conversations i was having, how i felt, even what i wore. It prompts memory.

F: For me, it was inevitable that we would be separated. So what was I supposed to do? Other then cherish the beautiful memory and make it live on.

A: It’s the living on process that becomes the incredible part of works of this nature.

F: It really triggers the memory. Now we're talking about it as well, I could see myself walking with this Polaroid camera. But I find it a happy thought, maybe a naive one.

A: As a positive catalyst.

F: I guess so.

A: Its those actions we take that take us elsewhere, everything we learn from. What’s beautiful in the project is its staying power, and its triggering of memory are only one of its qualities. I see it as having a positive view, in the feeling of the pictures, they always look forward, never dwelling. A beautiful insight to the mind and how we deal with emotions.

F: So many things are uncertain in this world. Except a memory. These memories I cherish and I'll take them with me forever. In my work I try to reflect on the here and now. Photography as a method to gain grip on life. They translate my emotions into a visual story. Indeed an insight in the mind. And because this is also a universal thing, I hope to inspire people to look at their world differently, with new positive energy.