Delusions Of Beauty – is another great fashion and photography story by the iconic Berlin based photographer Suzana Holtgrave. We have asked her to produce a story playing with the theme: Dictatorship. She and the stylist Susann Bosslau did this great editorial for us. KALTBLUT had a little chat with Suzy Love alias Suzana Holtgrave.
When we first met, I fell in love with her. The native Croatia woman, has so much power, coupled with charm and heart. She is direct. She is loud. She is hot. She is a strong women. Not from this planet. When you get to know Suzy a bit, you will notice this lady has a lot of experiences in her life. Suzy Love is an artist to adore. This lady is playing in her own league.
KALTBLUT: Suzy, you are an an allround-talent. How would you describe yourself as an artist? Who is Suzy Love?
I am a woman with a free spirit
Suzana: I am a woman with a free spirit. Outwards with great desire. Yes, i am someone who likes the limelight. Someone who loves very much the music and photography. That is why i choosed word LOVE!
Love is my creative driving force. I love of all the beautiful things around me. Convince me, let them manifest and then put it to my own art. Sometimes in music , sometimes in fashion, sometimes in photography … my personal menage a trois.
KALTBLUT: You you end up in the early 80s, in a roundabout way, in Berlin. How have you experienced the time back then? Berlin was at this time: the place to be!
Suzana: Berlin is always the place to be. For some people just for a short time. For me Berlin has become my second home. But yes, you’re right, that was a unique situation. The East-West conflict, the Cold War, the wall. A city divided in two. Communism to capitalism. It was very difficult for me to understand what it is about. What’s going on. At the beginning I was afraid of the city.
A party chased the next. Berlin – Kreuzberg. We were dancing on tables. I worked in a trendy disco „The Jungle. It was like dancing on a volcano. The city was boiling, we were on an island surrounded by the wall. And of course that was: the place to be for many artist. It was a very creative time … oh .. now I feel a sentimental nostalgia. All of that was also romantic.
KALTBLUT: You are singing, you are taking pictures and you worked as asuccessfully model. What came first?
Suzana: Oh that’s hard. A bit of everything. Like a good stew. All what I like: electro, techno, of course rock `n ‘roll , a pinch of 60s, a la Brigitte Bardot. It must be sexy and a bit of Hummor. This is very important.
I always work with Mike Fuzz. He produces, plays instruments and he makes the beats … (he is also an all-round talent). You see, I’m not the only one with many interests. I am his muse. I write lyrics and sing. Thanks to Mike, because of him I am start to sing. In Croatia, I’ve sung in the choir, but they were rather Yugoslav songs.
KALTBLUT: From the musician and nightlife icon, to the successful model. How and when were you discovered? And how was your model career ?
Suzana: I have done modeling before for my friends and I have already noticed that it’s fun.
I was asked by a photographer at Kurfürstendamm in Berlin . If i would like to do some photos. I immediately said;. Yes, sure.! That is how it all starts. Test shoots, agencies, shows. I was always the smallest at the catwalk (which annoyed me very much). But i had many jobs. That was about 13 years ago. Modeling is a very cool job. I would have liked to continue, but the girls were getting younger and younger. So, it was about time to say goodbye from the spotlight. Through the modeling I’ve learned a lot about professionalism, punctuality – is in Germany, very important! Now I benefit from this time. I ́ve worked for designers like Nanna Kuckuck or Fiona Bennet. And now I take pictures of their designs (see @ HONK! the diva-issue – Hotel angst-menage a trois). This is whole new experience for all of us.
KALTBLUT: Now about 20 years later you’re on your way to be a great photographer. Was the logical next step, after all your experiences?
Suzana: The photography came to me. No one asked me. Great or not great, I learn something new every day. And it gives me a lot of fun. This is to me is the most important part.
KALTBLUT: Why do have a different name as a photographer than as a singer ? Are you afraid to be put in a drawer ?
Why not more names? I am authentic in both roles, as Suzy Love and Suzana Suzy Holtgrave. I don ́t hide myself behind a name. No fake. Everything I do, I do it with 100% believe and I stand 100% behind it.
KALTBLUT: If you had to describe your style as a photographer by yourself, how would that sound?
Suzana: I would not define me. And I constantly invent myselves new. I am inspired by the painting, old movies, nature and of course by my models. And Helmut Newton .. one of the biggest Artist on the planet. I love his work and the way he works. I had the luck to work with him. He spend a long time in Berlin. Here he has made a movie about his life. And I had a small role in the movie.
The shoot was tough, I had to do my scene a few times until I had bloody knees. Newton said once:“ You’re great, you play like Greta Garbo.“ I do not know if he was simply a good liar or if he really meant it. But I was in a trance of sheer luck. This is the most important thing you should communicate to your models and actors. They are great, then you get the best results. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen the film, I think he was never filmed to the end. Unfortunately.
Suzana: I could produce myselves and take pictures of myself. There goes a lot more. Egomania .. ha, ha … I leave nothing to chance, l even search for the models by myself.
Perfectionist? Not really, sometimes it’s the time that drives me to do everything by my own. The ideas are bubbling out of me. And I want it to be realized quickly. It’s like a drug, an addiction!!!
KALTBLUT: How important is fashion in your life?
Suzana: Today, less than then. Now I also prefer a jeans and t-shirt on, but for photos, it is clear super important. Fashion inspires me. It says a lot about a person. Fashion is fun. There are designers who make artistic fashion. Sometimes it is also an escape from reality. An escape into the beauty. Fashion is ephemeral, like everything in life.
KALTBLUT: Let’s play a little game. I say to you three famous women and tell me in short words what do you think about them.
Suzana: Innovative, flashy, allien, fun
KALTBLUT: Sharon Stone
Suzana: Blond, IQ, sexy, at least in the 80s & 90s
KALTBLUT: Angela Merkel
Suzana: Ambition, it is not easy to survive in a man’s world (politics), she is not photogenic.
KALTBLUT: Which woman has influenced you in your career? Do you have any role models?
Suzana: NO, not necessarily a role model. My aunts from Croatia, maybe. All very strong personalities. With my mother there are four women in the family, wearing the pants.
Otherwise, of course, many women have influenced me. Sofia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Patty Smith. There are so many great women and of course a photographer: Ellen von Unwerth.
KALTBLUT: What can we expect from you in 2012 ? Any new projects?
Suzana: I do not like to talk about the future. That is why, it is the future. I am concerned with the here and now.
I hope I can continue photographs. Create my concepts. This has something to do with artistic freedom. To keep my brain open to new ideas, to continue to be creative and to keep my joy. Everything else will be seen.
I am also very curious ….
KALTBLUT: Thanks Suzy for the interview! KALTBLUT loves you. And we are proud that your a big part in our little magazine.
Suzana: Kiss, Suzy Love
Interview by Marcel Schlutt
All Copyrights @ Suzana Holtgrave