A part of an ongoing pop-up exhibition at Motto’s Berlin store, If You Leave – artist and curator Laurence Von Thomas’s 2009-present digital and print series which invites contributions from shoegazing and boundary-pushing photographers the globe over – presented its second bound volume “Black” on Friday. He spoke Wonderland about it.
Describe “Black” in a sentence.
The Black cover is basically the second issue of If You Leave (White being the first). In the end, If You Leave will count three installments that differ in colour but not in name. In case I completely misinterpreted your question; black is matter that absorbs any light.
When did the idea for If You Leave first come about? What is its key artistic ambition? Traits?
If You Leave started out as a personal Tumblr blog, a mix between my personal visual diary and found images that were inspiring. When post re-appeared on Facebook or Twitter, people commented as if all images where mine (though properly credited). So I decided to split the blog… with If You Leave being inspirational only. I started coming across a lot of work from a lot of different photogs and then came the idea to focus on a single image rather than to feature a photographer. I guess from this you could say its artistic ambition has always been to create a strong, homogenous collection. Its traits are as apparent as its title might suggest: melancholic, solitary, exploring, neo-romantic, impressionistic.
Did you study photography formally?
I took film and photography as a full course while in high school in Antwerp and went on to study the same thing at uni in Ghent (where I was forced to drop out… long and pointless story). After that I started working on film sets, meandering between different sorts of functions, before moving to London where I now work as an editorial photographer.
Explain what’s happening with the pop-up exhibition at Motto? How did you find the space? How will it be used?
We’re using the space in and around the bookshop to showcase a selection of prints from the book. The prints will be up in the stores, but also in the street nearby, behind these really cool fluorescent-lit windows.
Which emergent photographers are you currently watchful of?
At the moment I’m really enjoying Yugo Jeberg’s work. His images are like stills from a road movie you’d like to be in. Lukasz Wierzbowski and Ana Raš also stand among my favourites and more recently I’ve discovered the work of Brigette Bloom, whose blog really sucks you in.
Words: Jack Mills