Nina Musholt — Exploring moments

Interview: Bob Vanden Broeck


Nina, do you like to play hide-and-seek?

Funny you should ask. If my teachers saw these pictures, they would also think of that. Sometimes I actually crawl along the ground with my camera. That’s why some of the photographs are taken from an unusual perspective. I like to feel connected to nature. Although this also has a lot to do with the camera I use, a Rolleiflex.

I get the feeling that the people that you photograph don’t really want to be in the picture. Sometimes they shield themselves and at other times there is only a suggestion of a human presence, like a hand or a foot.

That’s definitely not my intention. On this picture, there is indeed a hand on the bottom left. That’s a result of the Rolleiflex again. The framing of the image through my lens is not what you get in the actual photograph. So accidents occur. This camera is sometimes aptly nicknamed “two eyes”. Where this is concerned, my discovery of the photography of Emmet Gowin was a revelation for me. I thought: oh, so it can be done like that. Rather than people hiding, I look for the surrealist dimension. Miro, for example, was a great inspiration for my work. So the image gains layers.

Are these surprises, these vantage points, the essence of your work?

My work is a big exploration of “looking”. I always use my immediate surroundings. I took all these photographs in my own garden. See the woman standing between the drying sheets? That’s my mother. She didn’t know she was being photographed. Taking a picture takes time. I search for the perfect angle; moving my camera around between the people and places that I photograph.

That sounds contradictory.

On the one hand, I like to have control over the picture but on the other, I do indeed leave things to the randomness of my camera. This gives me the chance to explore my own gaze.

Is this why you chose this particular form of presentation?

This approach creates a dynamic. The gaze of the viewer moves up and down between the pictures. This presentation also serves as an organic whole, without boundaries. I actually have no idea where this project will end.

© Nina Musholt
© Nina Musholt
© Nina Musholt