Madison Dinelle – An Interview

Madison Dinelle is a photographer from Montreal but now based in Berlin; and although she has been taking formal, un-staged photographs with available light for over seven years, she has only been pursuing photography seriously for the last two. Her work is a breathtaking ode to monochrome.


KALTBLUT: Why black and white? What’s so special about it for you?

Madison: Because I’m always trying to be as concise and direct as possible, so color would add a dimension to my pictures that I don’t think is necessary.


KALTBLUT: Many of your images are quite abstract. Where do you get inspiration from?

Madison: Well, I try not to take abstract photographs, but rather, photographs where recognizable visual elements are taken out of their ordinary contexts and given new ones. Any meaning is only capable of containing a partial truth at best, so I try to take pictures that don’t mean anything; and this involves the removal of any identifiable statement, judgement, theme, time, space, personality or event. At the same time, I try to bring order to / draw relationships between the newly-meaningless shapes in my vision, and through this process, I give them meaning that didn’t belong to them before. So “abstraction” in my work probably comes from this dual-attempt to strip meaning away from the elements of the visual field while, simultaneously, injecting unfamiliar meaning into them.

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KALTBLUT: Why do you photograph? What makes you do it?

Madison: I do it because I think it’s what I’m best at, and because it’s the thing I love the most. I try to understand myself and the world by isolating one aspect at a time, observing it, gathering some deeper understanding of it, and then bringing it back among the other aspects I’ve observed to gain a clearer picture of the whole. I take photos because the camera is the best tool I’ve found to do this, and because this is the most valuable thing I’ve found to do with myself.

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KALTBLUT: If cameras hadn’t been invented what do you think you would be doing?

Madison: Bleak world! I guess I’d do something close to what I’m trying to do with pictures, maybe writing philosophical texts or looking at things through a microscope… In any case, I’d probably have the same income as I do now.

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Interview by Emma E.K. Jones