Could you introduce yourself to our readers ? Who you are ? Where you live ?
I’m a charming, burned out, sober ex-addict, who currently lives in Stockholm.
Could you tell us about your journey into photography ?
As a kid and adult, getting through text never came naturally to me, but I got easily hypnotised by images. So my parents got me my first SLR when I was 9 years old, and built a darkroom for me under the stairs in my childhood house. I learned how to develop film and not long after I started shooting weddings. For my “clients” (read my parents friends, and friends of friends) I guess I sort of was an art installation myself- a kid imitating the roll of being a photographer, shooting from a low angle portraying a grown up world. At 14 I had my first solo exhibition with portraits of my childhood friends, by that time I had already started to notice how people were cordial because I was adept, consequently I began to view my talent as a curse. I didn’t approve of the expectations following the attention I got. This has always interfered and effected my creativity, my disapproval compelled me to restrain and hide my work. Until last year when I had a fuck-it-realisation and decided to interact with the world again. Not sure if it was the right decision.
Do you remember the first picture you ever took ?
No but because of an article in another magazine, I had to go through the work I made as a kid. Mainly it’s of my little sister and my best friends at that time, dressed up in my extreme wardrobe posing obscurely. I can’t remember what roll I shot first but I do remember I had a quite “professional” method of shooting already from the start. Full 35mm 36 picture rolls were shot pretty much the exact same setup all 36 frames, the only thing differing was the poses. And I can almost recall the pure excitement in getting my first rolls developed. The only thing I can compare it to, was the feeling I used to get after buying loads of drugs – holding an invaluable treasure of possibilities.
How would you describe your aesthetic ?
It’s a rather forced attempt to disguise primitive emotions in dramatic scenery, or the other way around.
How much of yourself is in your work ?
Too much I’d say.
Who are your favourite photographers ?
As a young teen I loved Cindy Sherman, but then I got permanently drunk. And since I got sober I’ve been too depressed to give a fuck. Though I have to say I truly admire some photographers I’ve come across on instagram, such as Anna Hahoutoff (@annahahoutoff), Cody Cobb (@codycobb), Carlos Silva (@csilvat), Marisha Camp (@marisharocks), Thomas John (@artificialelation) and of course my friend Isabella Ståhl (@isabella.stahl).
How do you spend your downtime ?
Sobriety hasn’t got me comfortable enough in my skin to exist, hence I’m quite antisocial and therefore generally bored. When I’m not spending time with my family (and when I am), I’m escaping my boredom and life by compulsively playing mobile phone games, until I panic over not being able to stop. Then I oppress the panic caused by the lack of control by playing a little bit more.
What would you do if you were not a photographer ?
I might have been a geologist if I didn’t have ADHD.
On a typical saturday night, where can we find you ?
Alone hiding from my past trying to make time pass.
One book ? One Movie? One Song ?
I don’t read due to my limited attention span. “Il y a longtemps que je t’aime” and Darkside- Golden arrow.
What makes you sad ? What makes you happy ?
Drugs and drugs. As I don’t do drugs anymore, I can’t fully feel anymore. Longing for feelings is like demanding the presence of people who passed away. It doesn’t matter what I do, because it won’t make them less dead.
What are you currently working on ?
Airplane mode after 22.00, my psychologist and I are sadly not moving forward in this area.
How do you see yourself in 10 years ?
Dead, high or bitterly alive. For now existing is challenging enough, planning any future feels excessive and a bit depressing as I need to adapt to less capacity being burned out. All I know is that I’m thankful for having photography to fall back on when almost every other aspect in my life has fallen apart.
A question we forgot to ask ?
If so I forgot it too.
To know more about Alba’s work, follow her on Instagram or check out her website.
One thought on “Interview: Alba Giertz”
fascinating what photography has meant to her, and what she can do with photography!