Viviane Sassen

Viviane Sassen is a Dutch photographer, born in 1972 in Amsterdam. She lived in Kenya as a child, and still often makes work in Africa now, she stated her studies in fashion, but soon turned to photography. She is a renowned photographer who works in both the fashion industry and the fine art world, she is known for her geometric shapes and abstractions of bodies. Throughout her career she has won awards, and been widely published and exhibited; she was included in the 2011 New Photography exhibit at the museum of modern art, she has created campaigns for Miu Miu, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton. Sassen also won the Dutch Prix de Rome in 2007 and the Infinity Award from the International Centre of Photography.

“You should alway be able to judge a photograph on different grounds, on political, social, emotion, but also on personal grounds”- Viviane Sassen.

These three images are from Sassen’s, ‘Delamar Theatre’ series, this series in particular caught my attention because of the way she has manipulated the bodies in the frame. The women in the images have almost become a part of the building that they are on, the abstract costumes and the body language of the models manipulate their bodies so much that they are almost unidentifiable as women. There is a strong contrast between the grey concrete stairs and the extravagant outfits of the women, making these images visually striking, but so how they still look like they are a part of the environment surrounding them. The shadows on the steps in the editorial images continues the abstraction on the women, connecting them to the steps. The concept of people being a part of the building that surround them is something that I want to explore in my own work, and the abstract shapes of the women in these pages has inspired me to create photographs inspired by Sassen’s.

Another series of Sassen’s work that interest me, is Cardin, 2009, for Fantastic Man. This is another series of images in which Sassen manipulates the human body and creates abstract art. In these photographs, Sassen has captured models in outfits that create the effect that they are part of the surroundings. Each on of the images is shot in a different rocky terrain, the costume that the models are wearing reflect that particular environment making them blend in with their background. In the all these images, the models face is abstracted in some way, wether is be with the use of fabric or hidden behind shadows, none of the faces are clear. I think this is Sassen’s way of dehumanising the models further, and keeping them blended to the background. The way in which Sassen has photographed these models has created the effect that they are a part of the area that surrounds them, this is something thatI want to explore in my own work.

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