Seeing as this year’s graduates are about to showcase their final collections and leave behind the comfort of university, we’ve caught up with the graduates of 2014. They discuss their experiences, achievements, hopes and losses since graduating with us.
LCC – photography – emmahartvig.com – emmahartvig@gmail.com
Berlin-based Emma Hartvig has worked with Acne Productions, has exhibited in TGIF Gallery New York and has a hyperrealist element to her photography. This LCC graduate is passionate about nature, old vinyl and all things cinema.
Volt Café: Sum up what you do in one sentence
Emma Hartvig: I create pictures, scenarios, sets, moods; anything I can get my hands on.
VC:You moved to Berlin shortly after graduating, what was the reason for the move?
EH:This is basically how I’ve always lived my life; excited about what’s around the corner, moving to new cities and meeting new people, learning more. I was in London for five years but always knew that it was a stepping-stone, and the same day I had my graduation I remember I thought that it’s time to move on. Berlin was just something on the map that seemed interesting. But looking back on the past six months, it was the best decision and it has brought me a lot of wonderful things.
VC: You were a creative intern at Acne Production. Do you enjoy art directing?
​EH: Yes, it’s very important to learn the production side of things, at least for me. I took a lot from what I learnt at Acne into my own work. My photos are very constructed, staged, thought-​through; so research, planning and​ art directing is always the first step in any project I do. Over the past few years I have done more creative direction for other people and companies; it’s equally as fun.
VC: Do you work differently when you’re doing personal work to when you’re doing paid work?
EH: Of course. When I make personal work it’s only for myself, so I make sure that I explore anything around it and I take the time I need to disappear deep into the project. I obviously take more space. When it comes to paid work, there are a lot of people involved – client, agency, and people working next to you. So you have to be open to changes. You have to listen. Collaborate. There’s a time limit. The commercial side also taught me how to improve how I construct​ my personal work, and I slowly went from doing everything on my own to loving and appreciating working with other creatives.
VC: Your work is almost hyperrealist. What draws you to this type of photography?
EH: Cinema. My love for photography was born out of my love for movies. I am extremely interested in the powerful ability of storytelling within a still image. All those dialogues, moods and storylines within a movie can be framed within one single photograph. Sometimes only a tiny crop from a scene, a mood or a colour palette, is what I later re-create. The photographic artists I admire all have this cinematic influence in their work.
VC: You had an exhibition at TGIF Gallery in New York. What work did you show there?
EH: It was a showcase of photography & juices and cocktails.
VC: How old were you when you realised you wanted to make a career out of photography?
EH: When I moved away from my hometown in my teenage years​ and got a feel for what’s out there I realised that I can do this as a profession. And that it was all I wanted to do.
VC: Do you think the music you listened to when you were 15/16 influenced you creatively?
EH: Absolutely! I grew up listening to a lot of good old vinyl as a child, which later became my own music taste; stuff like Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, Supertramp, Beach Boys, Mamas & the Papas. That kind of music and the world around it shaped both my work and me.
VC: You’ve working on a project you made in the Tyrollean Mountains in Austria. Is nature something you’re passionate about?
EH: Very. I wouldn’t say that my work is based on nature, but nature is certainly a place where I can relax and let all my ideas flow. It’s also a big part of my love for adventures and travels. And nature, whether it’s a beach, a mountain, the sea or the desert, has a wonderful potential to make a good set, of course.
VC: Was it difficult moving from the secure environment of university to the uncertainty of the creative industries?

EH: I had moments of feeling like the safe ground under me disappeared during the first months. But I quickly pulled myself together and used any feeling of fear as motivation to go out and do all the things I wanted. It’s not easy, but once you pull through during the hardest times, it only gets better. It’s all about knowing what you want, working hard towards it and being patient.
VC: If you had to pick one designer to wear for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
EH: I want to say more than one! I like style that is classic, simple, timeless. Band of outsiders, APC, Isabel Marant, Acne – for example.
These are selected images made between 2011 and 2015. Although each photograph belongs to a specific body of work, they somehow connect in their color, form and framing. As mentioned, I tend to gather all my inspiration from watching movies, so I always have an emotion or a scenario planned out beforehand. These pictures are very staged, although I always want it to look like it’s a cropped in snapshot from a scene. I like to leave a lot of the story, even to myself. What’s important is the feeling which lies within the photograph. Tension, seductiveness, drama.
Words by Annie Lunnon & Danielle Westwood


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