Woman Crush Wednesday: Katrin Koenning
Text and Images © Katrin Koenning
Dear Chris (2010-2013)
On the 5th of August 2010, at twenty-nine years, Chris ended his own life. Husband to Alana, my cousin, he was family.
His death came almost exactly a year after he attempted suicide in one of the grand State Forests of his native Queensland, Australia. Something went wrong, or maybe he clung on, back then. After four days in a forest so deep that family and friends all but failed to find him, he walked himself to help. I’m not sure when exactly his depression first showed face. I never knew him any different. Highly intelligent, he was trapped within himself, a cage with no apparent way out. He fought for years; it was a front-row battle that lacked a level playing field. He spoke about it, you know, about the drugs that were supposed to make him feel ok, about his state of mind, about all the doctors. Often though he’d sit there in silence. He dreamt of being a pilot, of doing other things.
Dear Chris is engaged with the connection between loss, ritual and memory. Rather than following a linear narrative, the project is made of three interchangeable ‘chapters’: vernacular pictures from Chris’ childhood Album, photographs of some of Chris’ objects kept by Alana, and finally photographs of places of significance to Chris – his story, and ours.
Katrin Koenning is a German-born photographic and video artist with a particular interest in our physical and emotional connection to place and environment.
Koenning’s photographs have been exhibited in numerous Australian and international solo and group exhibitions, and her work has featured in festivals such as Noorderlicht, FORMAT, Athens Photo Festival, PhotoIreland, the New York Photo Festival and others. Koenning’s pictures have been published in Photographers’ Sketchbooks, Hijacked III, Documentum, The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, GUP Magazine, Financial Times Magazine (UK), Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Marie Claire Magazine and SBS Australia amongst many others.
She has won a number of awards including the 2015 Daylight Photo Award, Australia’s Top Emerging Documentary Photographer, the Troika Editions FORMAT Exposure Prize and the JGS Award (Forward Thinking Museum).
Her work is held in numerous public and private collections across Australia and Europe, and she is a former editor of the Australian PhotoJournalist Magazine. Chose Commune published her first book ‘Astres Noirs’ in June this year, merging her work with that of Bangladeshi artist Sarker Protick. Koenning currently lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she works as a freelance photographer and lecturer in photography.