In the light of socially prescribed perfection, her pictures look impudently imperfect. They are blurry, with dust particles recorded, under- or overexposed and cropped. They are perfectly imperfect. Real and honest. Human.
„Perfection is mandatory today. Everybody can easily build up his “perfect life” on social media through draped moments and edited pictures. I feel very sad of this kind of life presentation because these pictures mostly don’t convey any emotion or real life situations. With my photography, I don’t want to achieve perfection and today’s beauty standards or to capture contrived situations. I want to capture real emotions, real people and real moments. I want to transfer feelings and reach/touch people on an emotional level. In my opinion, that’s real perfection no matter what society says,“ explains Carolin Hirt, a young Austrian photographer based in Berlin.
Carolin Hirt started photography as a personal project, something like a visual diary, ever since she moved from Vienna to Berlin. “Berlin is an important part of my photography. It’s such a creative surroundings, it allows you to find yourself and find out who you really want to be. My work is strongly influenced by Berlin, ” says Carolin. During her free time, Carolin takes her analog camera and tries to document life in the city as it really is, contrary to curated and fake lives we see every day through social media. In spite of all unattainable standards of beauty and perfection heavily imposed by today’s consumer society throughout the mass and social media, Carolin captures moments of real life, maintaining authenticity in each shot she takes.
The choice of analog photography certainly contributes to it. „ With digital photography, a moment isn’t shot once, it’s shot several times and the photo/moment loses its real value. With analog photography, pictures are taken more selective and the feeling of moments is caught much better. If a moment affects me, I decide to take a photo. I avoid the contrived situation and would never caption fake moments. Moreover, with analog photography you can see the result only after the photo development and you can’t change a thing. This honesty means real beauty to me, whether it’s blurry or overexposed. The camera itself also plays an important part in the final result. The camera gives every picture a special “touch” and so it’s very important to know your camera. Maybe it sounds a bit weird, but knowing my camera so well gives me the impression the photos arise synergistically, not forced.“
Such a rebellious attitude and a solid concept certainly resonated with non-mainstream perfume brand Folie À Plusieurs, known for its unique products and unconventional artistic collaborations, but it is perhaps cinematic visual quality and the melancholic touch of Carolin’s images that came out on top. The two teamed up this year on Folie À Plusieurs’ film-themed fragrance line that bridges the olfactive and visual experience, looking for the new forms of visualization following scents: Duke of Burgundy (2014, Peter Stickland), Enter the Void (2009, Gaspar Noe) & Love Exposure (2008, Sion Sono). The project was about capturing the feeling of a movie and the fragrance in a picture. “Capture feelings of a film/ fragrance is a very inspiring project – I wanted to create a photo people can look at and feel the emotion. I wanted to create a photo people get moved, affected and touched in a very sensitive and also intense way just by watching. I wanted to catch that feeling you get while closing your eyes and smelling the fragrance or thinking about the movie. This once feeling which describes the complete story and explains the deeper meaning without the need saying a single word.”
But Carolin Hirt doesn’t express herself only in the medium of photography. While photography gives her the possibility to capture her surroundings, Carolin likes to express her feelings and impressions in drawing too. “Drawing means a lot to me. It gives me the possibility to express my inner emotions. This form of artistic expression is more about myself than my surroundings,” says Carolin. Either way, Carolin uses both art forms to break through today’s perfectionism, which, in her own words, is so heavy. „People should stop trying to achieve socially prescribed perfection. As Milan Kundera once wrote, there is no perfection only life. I would say: Perfection is life.“
© photo credit Carolin Hirt