Bleaq interview: Annie Bertram

I’m very happy to show you this Bleaq First: an interview! Super talented photographer Annie Bertram was kind enough to answer some of the questions I had for her. It had quite a lot of question so sit back and enjoy! And thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these questions Annie! :)

Want to see some of Annie’s work? Check out this earlier feature on Bleaq!


Bleaq: Hi Annie! Thank you very much for taking time to answer some questions! I’d like to start at the beginning: when did you start with photography?

Annie: I have started to take pictures when I was a child with a small pocket camera. Later on I was invited to a birthday party of a friend and somebody gave me a SLR-camera for making a picture. I was really impressed how it worked and some weeks later I bought my first SLR camera completely made from plastic. I started to make pictures with a film-camera and also developed it by myself in a dark room. Besides I also made paintings. Later as art became more and more digital I combined the 2 techniques. So I take my pictures with a DSLR and edit them in photoshop.


Can you remember a piece of art you’ve seen when you were a kid which really impressed you? 

The sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh.


– ‘The Sunflowers’ by Vincent van Gogh (source)


You’ve been an artist for over fifteen years now. Do you look back at your work from years ago? In which way do you think you’ve changed as an artist?

As I mentioned in the first question my biggest change came along with the digitalization. Now I am able to combine different techniques and styles. I also started to create music-videos.


Through the years you’ve created quite a large portfolio. Is there anything, maybe a picture, series or a project, which you are particularly proud of?

Everything I do, I do with my heart and soul. This is where the art comes from. So there is no special project to mention. On a project I work normally 3 years (for instance the books “Wahre Märchen” and “Obsolete Angels”). This is a very long time.


– Annie Bertram selfportrait


Can you give a description of a typical Annie Bertram workday?

Unfortunately there is not a typical Annie Bertram day. I have periods where took a lot of shootings (mostly in the summer-time) and there are periods of shooting-preparations and photo-editing or location research.


Your shoots often consist of a whole range of elements like models, locations, clothing and make-up. Do you work with a team or do you plan everything yourself?

I really love to work in a team. This makes work much more inspiring than working alone. I have my special make -up artists, designers and also assistants. Mostly I am the lead of the organization of a project. But every team-member has the freedom to realize their own ideas.


– Annie Bertram selfportrait


Over the years you’ve collaborated with a lot of great models, artists and fashion designers. Are there people you haven’t worked with yet, but would like to?

Yes of course. It is very important to be open for new people and being open to learn. Otherwise a development of art would not be possible.


What do you enjoy most of being an artist?

To realize my dreams.


– Annie by Luca Thompson


I don’t know about the situation in Switzerland or Germany, but here in The Netherlands it isn’t an easy time for artists. The financial crisis resulted in the art industry suffering from a lack of funding, museums have to close their doors and artists have to look for another job on the side to make money. Are you able to make a living as an artist?

The situation in Germany and Switzerland became also difficult. But for me art is always something coming from the heart and soul. I often use my art as an outlet. For every situation in my life. I have a part-time job which gives me more safety and also the freedom to choose what I can make as an artist.


Do you get inspired by other artists? If so, can you share your favourites? Are there other things that inspire you?

Mostly I am inspired by music. Music is all around me while I am working. I also love to look at others artists work. This can be very different from my style.


– Annie Bertram selfportrait


In a previous interview you mentioned photographer Floria Sigismondi as an influence. I can see the similarities in your work, both aesthetically and career wise. Besides photography you both make music videos for instance. Floria made her first film (The Runaways) two year ago, would you be interested in making a feature film?

Yes, she is a big idol. I am starting to make video-clips some years ago. In my photos I try to tell stories and so a video is also perfect for telling a story. But I am still learning, there are so many possibilities.


You’ve got an up-to-date website, a blog, and are active on social media websites like Facebook and DeviantArt. How important is the internet for you as an artist?

It is very important in these times, since everything seems to work via the internet. It is an easy way to get informed and to meet people. And of course you can make a lot without spending money.


While being on the subject internet anyway, can you share a few websites you visit daily?

Facebook, Deviantart, Fotocommunity, Google and Strychnin Gallery.


The internet made it easier for young artists to get their name out and share their work. Do you have any tips for starting artists?

The most important thing is being yourself and doing what comes directly out of your soul. It doesn’t matter how much your equipment costs, everybody is able to be creative. Creativity is not buyable.


– The book ‘Obsolote Angels’


You’ve released three books so far, all in German. Are there plans to release the books in English (or any other language) too?

The problem is that it’s getting harder to sell paper books in these times. So no further plans at the moment for other languages so far.


You’re latest book ‘Obsolete Angels’ was released last year. Can you tell what you’re currently working on?

I am working now on a new fairy-tale book and plan to release it at the end of next year. I have nearly finished all the photo-work. Now the writers are on the stories. I am very exited!


Last but not least: can you recommend a book, movie or artist you’ve enjoyed lately?
I really like Tim Burton movies. So I recommend to watch any of his movies.


Well, I second that: Tim Burton rocks. Thank you for reading! If you want to see more of Annie works check out her website. And once again: thank you Annie for answering these questions! :)

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