URSI KRIEGSHABER, DORIS HADL, VERENA RAUHOFER
© MARLIES KIRCHLER
The power of pictures
in a different light
A TRIBUTE TO PETER LINDBERGH
The photography of Marlies Kirchler captures the moment in which the subject is most natural and candid.
The pictures are created using the simplest means, reduced to the essentials … no famous names, no stylists, no piles of photo equipment, only an iPhone with no Photoshop or filter, but with natural light … human interest and life, not posing and perfection. That is all the photographer needs to focus on the personality and the soul.
The models are self-confident women from her circle of acquaintances. They have character, individuality, charisma, emotions … their own identities.
Nowadays, images of models, actors and influencers are often heavily enhanced by Photoshop and filters. The result is a distortion of reality that has consequences for society. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we accept these constraints? Women in particular should think about who it is who is calling the shots.
In a conversation the photographer had with a female friend of hers the friend expressed her regret that girls are so often reduced to their beauty. But beauty need not be a bad or superficial thing. We have the ability to overcome these very strict boundaries and decide for ourselves what we find beautiful. Remarks such as “I’m too old or (even) too ugly for that sort of thing” prove beyond doubt that a change of attitude is urgently required. Getting worked up about retouched photos is not much help here. Alternatives are needed.
Marlies Kirchler’s photos reference works by Peter Lindbergh. More than any other, Lindbergh stands for capturing a person’s personality and soul with the camera. He has changed the way women/models are portrayed. His natural and minimalist photographic style became hugely influential in the late 1980s and 1990s. His images for the 2017 Pirelli calendar prove that beauty is ageless. The respect he has for women is palpable. Echoing his style is important for placing this photo series in the desired context, thereby giving the topic the emphasis it requires. The fact that Peter Lindbergh photographs superstars without make-up and with the focus on the person allows the “normal” women in this series to present themselves on equal terms.
The last three years brought many changes in Marlies Kirchler’s life, throwing her sense of who she is into doubt. During this period she noticed how much she needed pictures of herself in order to see herself better. Many people experience periods of upheaval with more or less dramatic consequences. Pictures can help us to see ourselves more clearly or differently. The first sessions with the women confirmed this ability to see oneself in a different light. They produced a marvellous energy. That is why it is really important that the photos do not deal only with the outer shell, but pay more attention to the life within.
Tanslation: Neil Perkins