Woman Crush Wednesday: Tania Franco Klien
Interview by Akshit Bhardwaj
Project: Pest Control
Can you talk about what inspired you to create the series "Pest Control"
I was living in London at the time I started creating the series. The first thing I noticed when I moved there was the abundance of anti-pigeon spikes all over the city, and specifically in metro and train stations, telephone cabins, etc. I was mesmerized by the idea of what the spikes represented and how they permeate these public spaces in such a violent but at the same time invisible way. Highly influenced by the context that surrounds me, I got interested in the public relationship between us and others, the lines that separate us sometimes not in a physical way but in a psychological.
In the 1990s French sociologist, Marc Augé coined the concept of the “non-place” to define spaces lacking in identity where communication occurred more artificially. There were spaces such as hotels, airports or restaurants that, due to their transitory or ephemeral state, could not be regarded as “places”. With this idea as the point of departure and using collective fear and hysteria in a satirical fashion, the series creates a fictional representation of a city plagued by pigeon-repellent spikes. With this metaphor, the work takes us to the fractured relations of contemporaneity and the repulsion inspired by the media towards anything that seems different in terms of ideology, ethnic origin, religion or any other factor that might threaten our “peaceful” way of life. Pest Control sets out to reflect the loneliness and contradictions that make up the common backdrop to our times as part of the society of spectacle and represents, through it´s visual approach, the surrealist relation (or lack of it) that governs individuals, public spaces, and these “non-places”.
Your series has a vintage nostalgic vibe to it, How did you come up with it and how did you achieve it?
I have a big fascination for color. I think of my images in colors before I develop the idea of what is happening inside the photo. The color, the lighting and the feeling of loneliness, create a nostalgic mood, along with the idea of the past, which I think is always connected to nostalgia.
What was your favorite part of shooting this series? Did you walk away with any new insights?
All my work has to do with my own experience with the world and with topics that I am interested in, which deal with invisible problematics of everyday life and social behavior. Each one of my projects allows me to get deeper into the human experience in today's world. For this project, my self-awareness of solitude and disconnection in public spaces, along with the text by Marc Augé, opened up a possibility to be more aware of my own behavior and to break my own habits that perpetuate this disconnection and solitude.
What was your process of casting your models for this series?
For this series, I worked with people I know as well as strangers on the street. It all depended on the country I was at in the moment of doing the photo. I had the opportunity to shoot in places like Mexico, London, Spain, Israel, and Portugal.
For the beginning of the series, I shot mostly in Mexico with sets I constructed, and used my grandmother and her friends quite a bit (my grandmother is my biggest muse and my best friend). It was a truly special experience for them and for me. My work offers me the possibility to connect with people I love in different ways.
For the photos I took outside of Mexico, I mostly went out to the streets and found people that stood out to me and that weren´t seeking attention. I would talk to them and arrange for them to come another day to the set or a location I had found.
There is a melancholic mood that is hard to ignore in the photos, how did you go about creating this mood?
I always concentrate on the emotional part of the image. I think the fact that Pest Control is created around the idea of solitude is something that makes the photographs easy to relate to on a personal level, as loneliness and solitude are universal experiences.
1.Describe your creative process in one word.
2.If you could teach a one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
I would love to teach a ceramics class, but I would have to learn first.
3.What is the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
The Art of Loving by Eric Fromm and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri by Martin McDonagh.
4.What song do you play the most in your music library?
Sister Golden Hair by America.
5.How do you take your coffee?
No coffee, just cold Chai.