When artists present us their work they introduce us into a new world, a different perspective, a new approach. We’re thrilled when you submit art to be featured on our blog and we are more than happy to get to know you as an artist. On one of these fortunate encounters we’ve met Katharina Fitz, a photographer born in Austria, currently living in Berlin. Her work is quite impressive, an her view towards photography to expose urban sociology and social issues is nothing but admirable. But, let’s try to get to know her better.
Laura: Katharina, tell us a bit about your background.
Katharina: After my studies of “photography and media“ i started working as a professional retoucher during a few years in Berlin. After learning all the important skills I needed to enhance my images just the way I wanted I had to teach my eye about all aspects of an image. I started looking at many photographers during a long period of time, because I needed to find out what it was that I liked about images, what colors I liked, what compositions,etc. It is
important to learn how to read images your own way.
Laura: What photographers inspire you?
Katharina: I like a lot of different genres of photography. Here are a few and the things I specially like about their work and what inspires me:
- Alec Soth – incredible storytelling, composing,
- Matthias Braschler and Monika Fischer – incredible portrait photographers
- Beate Gütschow: incredible compositions
- Hiroshi Sugimoto – incredibly clean and perfectionist work
- Diane Arbus – incredibly spontaneous
- André Mérian – incredible colours
- Jana Romanova – incredibly personal work
- Antoine Bruy – incredibly inspiring stories
Laura: Why did you choose photography?
Katharina: If I would be a good painter, maybe I would paint, but I am better at taking pictures so I photograph. Also, photography felt more naturally, because it allows me to follow my imagination. Apart from that, photography also makes me adventurous. It motivates me to go to places or meet people I usually wouldn’t, it is like a companion, like a window that allows me to share my experiences with others. When I go taking pictures I usually go by myself, this allows me to focus just on myself, my project and on what surrounds me. It feels like taking
some time off.
Laura: Tell us a bit about your development in the field.
Katharina: I was born in a little city called Dornbirn in Austria. After finishing high school with eighteen years I moved to Barcelona. Living in a big city taught me a lot about human behavior inside urban areas, which was very important for the future development of my work. I studied photography and Spanish in Barcelona during 4 years and after that moved to Berlin. Inspired by the alternative movements in Berlin I started to get especially fascinated by the Urban Gardening Culture in the city. In 2012 I started producing my photo series ‘Urban Gardening Patchwork’ for which I got my first international recognition as a photographer. Since 2014 I have completed three European artist residencies, these allow me to go on producing my work, getting to know artists from around the world, travelling and increase my artistic network.
Laura: What is your work about, What are you concerned with?
Katharina: Since 2012, my work is mainly focused towards the socio-cultural and urban photography, addressing issues of different kinds but always from a critical and reflective perspective, showing the structures, processes, changes and problems that are part of social life and human interactions within urban space. I create my work because I am concerned with the development towards a more and more individualized world. The sense of community spirit inside society decreases and turns towards a “dog eat dog mentality”. Therefore, integration and community are prevalent themes in my work. An important objective is to generate a conscious reflection about social and cultural integration within the community and neighborhood of urban space.
Laura: What’s your latest project and what inspired it?
Katharina: My latest project called “chatarra” (scrap metal recyclers) is about the carts of people of Bilbao who harvest scrap metal from the domestic refuse containers. Since the crisis in 2008 the quantity of “scrap collectors“ in Spain has exploded. In the city there are many people at risk of social exclusion whose livelihoods depend on collecting objects around the city which they then sell to be recycled.
Laura: Share with us one of your favorite photo series.
Katharina: This is a series I did between 2012 and 2014 called „Urban Gardening Patchwork. The project is about small communities coming together with the aim of developing social transformation in search of new alternatives to the globalized food industry. A further objective is to provoke climate-conscious reflection about the origins of our food as well as to encourage social and cultural integration within the community and neighborhood. Each picture consists of several hundred individual images taken from a height of three meters and then fused together into one single frame. The series represents the power of each individual within a community to change established structures.
Laura: What will be the next step for you?
Katharina: In February I am moving to England to start a new project about houses. Also before Christmas I will be publishing my first large edition of work. It will consist of 45 small scale prints from my “Urban Gardening Series”, to make my work more affordable for people who love art.