Woman Crush Wednesday: Anja Niemi
Interview by Federica Belli.
“I am sick to death with this particular self, I want another.” This is the opening quote in your project. It feels like this issue is really close to you, as it is reflected in other projects as well. How did you come to realize your desire to embody different personalities?
I always loved transforming. I remember vividly the feeling I got from dressing up in my grandmothers cocktail dresses imagining I was someone else. I secretly wanted to be an actress, but I was shy and socially nervous, so performing for an audience scared me away from even trying. In my work I have been creating characters just to cast myself in every role, like acting for introverts. I have created a place where I can do all the things I thought I never could. The performing of my characters thrills me, it’s the last step in making my idea come to life.
I am curious about where you get the inspiration to build your stories from. Do the characters you build reflect the ones you would like to try yourself or are they rather coming from books and movies?
My characters are never a reflection of me, I want them to raise questions about identity, what it is to be human rather than what it is to be me. I think an idea is a combination of the many influences that surround you, words, people, clothes, film, dance, objects. I am a collector. I love possessions that share something about their previous owner, they are like instant character triggers. My studio is filled with beautiful old things that all in some way have or will work their way into a story.
How does photography help you cope with the social need to be coherent, as opposing to your desire to experience different approaches to life?
Everydaylife tends to repeat itself in my work I get to take a break from all that and escape into my imagination, it’s what balances out the mundane.
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach a one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
Telling stories with no words.
What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
Amy Friend Stardust, such a beautiful book.
What is the most played song in your music library?
Girl Of Constant Sorrow by Joan Baez.
How do you take your coffee?
With milk and sugar.
To see more of Anja’s work, visit her website here.