Alina Noir is a Romanian-born photographer and author living and working between Berlin and Lyon. She has studied literature and art history in Romania, France, Germany, Sweden, and New Zealand, and this international academic background had a strong influence on her work as a visual artist. She always does some research before a photo shoot, and her approach to work is very down-to-earth, in the sense that she is in constant dialogue with other artists and artistic movements.
Her inspiration comes from other artists as well as mystical writings from the Judeo-Christian tradition, like the legends in the Aggadah or the sayings of the early Christian monks. She likes to visually re-write or re-create these stories from a contemporary, hedonistic point of view. The results are always extremely interesting, especially when coupled with Renaissance symbolism and present-day moral values.
KALTBLUT: You have a strong preference for black and white. How do you explain that?
Alina: When I started photography, I was only shooting color. I could only concentrate on the color and its infinite possibilities, to the point where I sometimes forgot that an image (photography or painting) needs a story or an idea in order to function properly. I suppose it was because my choice of subjects was in the casual and the everyday. When I was offered a studio in Lyon, France, the transition to black and white was immediate and very natural. It was a half-unconscious decision triggered by my desire to free myself from the self-indulgence of color. These days I am slowly re-incorporating color into my images, by tinting prints with my choice of nuances. I think that black-and-white photographs have a certain visual dignity which induces mood and reflection, especially when describing a strong story.
KALTBLUT: You often shoot nude. Why do you prefer it that way?
Alina: Shooting nude came to me just as naturally as shooting black-and-white. Nudity is a very strong costume which can express an infinite variety of human situations and emotions, like force, fragility, sexual despair, attractiveness, solitude, or connection. I am interested in observing how bodies interact with each other and in a given space. I am very lucky to have a team of theater actors and dancers who are able to communicate my ideas through movements and facial expressions. Everybody I work with has a strong interest in art and a healthy artistic practice which they complement by working with me. It is a great privilege to have models who find pleasure in using their bodies as a vehicle for emotion, not just as attractive surfaces.
KALTBLUT: How important is the part of art in your life?
Alina: A few years ago art became my main occupation and I’m treating it with the same seriousness as any other job. The best thing about it is the obvious liberty of creating whatever I want, whenever I want. The difficult part of it is that you need a lot of self-discipline and moral strength to continue your work no matter what. Being surrounded by so many young artists is very beneficial, because this teaches me the virtues of hard work and frugality, as well as the joys of being part of a creative community.
KALTBLUT: What is your new project gonna be about?
I have recently finished my longest project to date called “I turned my blood into a river” which was a personal anthology of myths and legends.
I just started a new project called “Cathedrals” which meditates on the intricate ways in which human bodies can connect in space, other than in a sexual or emotional context. This project allows me to re-explore my favorite artistic themes while in the same time being more mathematically conceptual.
Interview by Amanda M. Jansson