Video: Elina Brotherus student talk

This 48-minute video of Elina Brotherus speaking to a gathering of OCA students was worth watching for the insights it gave into the way she works and other useful snippets. The points that made a particular impression on me included the following:

– Brotherus places a high value on being able to take time over her work at all stages, from making the images (she prefers to work alone so that she doesn’t feel pressured by the possibility that a companion might become weary, hungry, cold or otherwise uncomfortable) to assessing them (she will wait for as long as six months before reviewing her work, in order to obtain emotional distance and objectivity) and exhibiting them (the work she was preparing for exhibition and publication in book form at the time of the recording had been made two to three years previously).

– Asked by one student whether she had any advice to offer about the process of developing themes and a style, Brotherus stated that she felt it was more productive to go out and work instead of sitting at home thinking about such things. There is in any case no need to think about style, she said, because your personal point of view will manifest itself in a recognisably consistent style over time, especially if the work you produce is sincere.

– She spoke about the fact that her autographical work is very consciously a documentation of experiences that are not unique to her but are shared by many others, and that she sees these works as a way of highlighting subjects that tend not to be discussed in public and/or that are more easily communicated in images than words.

– She also spoke about the way that being treated as a professional when she arrived direct from her MA course in Helsinki to take up the position of artist-in-residence at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saône, France, allowed her to make the mental transition from student to working artist.

References and resources

OCA (2015) Elina Brotherus student talk. Available at https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/elina-brotherus-student-talk/ [accessed 04.02.20]