Last Updated on 11/14/2020 by Chris Gampat
All images by Nicole Struppert. Used with permission. Be sure to see more about this series on her website.
“It’s two years now when I got diagnosed that I have a little brain tumor,” says photographer Nicole Struppert, who specified that it’s small but energy draining. “To get back in balance, I stayed a few weeks at the lake Chiemsee. Waking up every morning with beautiful sunrises and seeing nature in different seasons like sun, rain, the fog started to inspire me a lot.” That’s how she got started with the KENSHO project. The area revitalized her creativity in a way. She did abstract work and made the images look more and more like a painting.
Nicole Struppert’s Essential Photography Gear
I just use my Leica Q. It’s the perfect match – trusty and small camera with amazing image quality, perfect lens. I am still blown away by the quality of the images, and it fits perfectly with my style of shooting architecture, spaces, and life.
When we last had an interview, you were at one stage as a photographer, and now you’re at a completely different one. How do you feel you’ve changed the most in the last five years as a creative?
Like in life, we change – as so as an artist. We go through different processes. After working so long as a photojournalist and documentary photographer, I wanted to change something – I felt a bit bored of my own work. I documented life, done my long time project „Tales on Shoreditch“ – I really enjoyed this time, but there came the day where I was looking back on my work and asked myself, what is my visual signature…? Don’t get me wrong, this time had an enormous effect on my photography, and I was grown, but I was missing my own voice and my own visual signature. Causing that I was working on it… It was a long process and reflection of my work and life…
Do you ever look back at the type of photographer you were? What do you think about her?
Of course, now and then, you look back. I am happy and grateful for that time. I learned a lot, which helped me grow as a photographer and a person. But now it’s a new chapter. Just because I am doing more fine art photography now doesn’t mean I am not working now and then on documentary projects. I know people like to classify people by labels. I personally don’t like this cause I believe we humans have so many different qualities by nature, and they all should come out to be seen. But if you want to label my work, I would say: “Minimal aesthetics meets architecture, spaces, and life.“
Tell us about the creative motions behind Kensho. They’re photos, but they look very painterly. What motivated these?
Kensho is a very personal project, which I developed over a few weeks last year. It’s two years now when I got diagnosed that I have a little brain tumor. It’s luckily a good one, very small, but from time to time, it kicks my energy out of my body.
To get back in balance, I stayed a few weeks at the lake Chiemsee. Waking up every morning with beautiful sunrises and seeing nature in different seasons like sun, rain, the fog started to inspire me a lot. It is incredible when u observe nature and how fast the scenery can change by light and weather. It’s just amazing. During that time, I started to take pictures of the lake, the surface of the water in different seasons of the weather…
Did the final vision for this project come as you were shooting it, or did you always know where you wanted to go and how to get there?
In the beginning, I was just shooting nature the way it was – I didn’t have an idea where the project was going. I just enjoyed the process of shooting the pictures and be amazed by the fast changes of the weather. I am a city girl and traveled the world but mostly stayed in the city, not nature. During that time, I got more and more in touch with the beauty of nature.
After some weeks, I started to work with the photographs and was experimenting with different abstract styles. Until the right expression came out.
Observing nature taught me a lot about circles of nature – and I started to compare it with the circle of life. In its mediation of shadow and light, density, and vacuity of the lake, I explored the transition and change of the journey of our life.A quote by Nicole Struppert
I think these images have a lot to say about creativity. But specifically, talk to us about the color palette. I’m sure when you were editing down this project to select images, these ones stuck out at you the most. Why? What are we not seeing?
Honestly, I didn’t work on the color palette. It’s the color of the weather and light of this area. In the area of the Chiemsee is a very special light. I haven’t seen a light like this somewhere else in Germany. It’s hypnotizing. When I was choosing the pictures for the project, I was choosing the pictures with the most different abstract expression. There are pictures I took in a thunderstorm, sunrise, sunset, rain, fog, blue and cloudy skies.
There is a quote I really like, “After the rain, there comes a rainbow!“A Quote by Nicole Struppert
When I look at these photos, I get a sense of peace. Something about them makes me feel like it’s a rainy day. What did you want people to feel from the images? You talk about balance, self-confidence, weakness. How did you build those elements into the frames?
Observing nature taught me a lot about circles of nature – and I started to compare it with the circle of life. In its mediation of shadow and light, density, and vacuity of the lake, I explored the transition and change of the journey of our life. The different seasons of the lake, for example, the shadow and light, the density, and vacuity of the lake, can be compared with life situations like joy, strengths, weakness, etc. We all go through different phases of our life – like in nature… The project should invite the viewer to sense these characteristics like strengths, weakness, struggle, self-confidence, vulnerability, and growth to find balance and meditation.
There is a quote I really like, “After the rain, there comes a rainbow!“
What’s your goal for this series? A book of some sort?
I would love to work with galleries who are interested in showing my work. A book would be nice too… This project will be shown in large prints, and I want the color to be right, so I have to choose the right paper for it… I am still in the process and will work with a printing studio here in Munich.
Be sure to check out Nicole Struppert on Instagram.