Belgium’s photography graduates: Heidrun Klos

 Time for the second installment of our series on recent photography graduates: while last week we zoned in on Miles Fischler‘s offbeat archive project, this time it’s the thoughtful and airy exploration of identity by Antwerp Art Academy‘s Heidrun Klos


Tell us about your graduation project. I see graphic design and fashion, but a strong dose of humour as well. 

In brief I’d say that I tried to visualise the concept of alienation that forms part of identity. The sense of identity, it seems to me, is the result of the mix of all the different influences we are exposed to. Even though the process is often related to becoming a part of a certain delineated group, take religion for example; it remains a highly individual mechanism.

It’s this bizarre contradiction that fascinates me and incites me to work in different styles. If I didn’t do so, I would feel that my work wouldn’t be able to touch the very core of the theme. This schism is once more reflected in the balanced mix of colour and dichromatic pictures, just like there are two sides to everything and everyone. I tend to approach topics in a thoughtful yet airy manner.

What attracts you to photography? 

Photography forces me to use a visible reality in order to express something else. I find this a fascinating and challenging process.

Did you ever cross the border over to other forms of art?

I made drawings for a short while, collages and some video installations, but I always retuned to photography.

Looking back at your college years, any words of wisdom that have stuck with you?

“I am not interested in who you are, but in what you do. That’s who you are, right?” a teacher said to me in second year.

Which photographers have played a major influence on you?
Although he’s an artist working with all different kinds of media: Erwin Wurm. His photographs fascinate me as they are funny without ever being ridiculous.
It’s sometimes said that after graduating that the hard part is still ahead. What are your ambitions for the future?

I just started working on a new project, and I’m happy about it because I don’t much like being in a state of limbo. I will continue working with photography, both on personal projects and commissions, because that’s just what I do. I’d like to teach some day as well, but I am most definitely aware that it’s going to be tough.

Nowadays, it seems obligatory for photographers – even students – to produce a zine or some sort of publication. How do you feel about the concept of self-publishing and special editions?

In fact, I had a little booklet accompanying my graduation project. It was a handcrafted one-off edition, but unfortunately it was taken during the exhibition. Working on this specific project it felt right, but I wouldn’t make a habit out of it as it indeed risks being counterproductive. Accompanying guides can turn out to be too explanatory while it’s the photographs that should do the talking. It strongly depends on how it’s done.

Would self-publishing/self-promotion be the way forward for you or are you more interested in the usual gallery-route?

I wouldn’t want to rule out either because, like I said, everything depends on the project and in case of galleries, on the gallery. There are so many different ways of doing things and I am open to pretty much everything, as long as it doesn’t feel like I’m making decisions in accordance to ‘how things are done’.