While attending DIY parties and local Vancouver punk shows, this tall young photographer would pop up out of the pit with her film camera. Johannah Jørgensen began photographing Vancouver’s music underground while barely out of high school, and her black and white images took on a remarkable aesthetic. Jørgensen began attending events and filming her older sister’s performances, doing her homework between bands. More recently, she has relocated overseas and continues to work along a similar subject and treatment. She was born in Canada with a Danish background, and continues her photography in Copenhagen, Denmark. While abroad, Jørgensen has moved into producing her own films and has become entrenched in her own musical projects and bands. Johannah Jørgensen’s work has gained international attention, having been published in various magazines, blogs and websites. I had the opportunity to ask her about her work on photography and film.
Johannah: I like simple aesthetics and storytelling, and I’d like to make videos that look like they could be photographs. The old music videos of Depeche Mode by Anton Corbijn, for example, are very inspiring – interesting silhouettes and visually open and clean landscapes. I often find music videos can become very distracting, with too many elements or effects, and that’s generally something that doesn’t appeal to me. As with photography, I like to capture things more in their raw state. It feels more stripped and authentic to me.
How about your creative process?
Johannah: I have always been a night person, and most of the projects I dive into start somewhere around 3 am and proceed until morning. Which, subsequently, means many of the projects are taken up alone. The spontaneity of it and the lack of material and human resources available at those hours I think also contributes to the minimal aesthetics. I like to use the resources I have and don’t necessarily think you need anything more than what is at hand to produce something interesting. It can also have its charms, too. For example, I constructed a series of bodices from paper and cardboard picked up in the recycling for use in photos and video.
You work with actual film with photography, is that the same with video?
Johannah: Unfortunately, I don’t use film with video. Actually, I don’t even own a video camera. I am fortunate to have generous friends who lend me their equipment from time to time. I do have plans for doing a series of 35 mm film photographs assembled into a stop-motion film though.
Do you consider your films DIY?
Johannah: Yes, I would say so, in the sense that I am learning by doing, and filming and editing myself.
Johannah: I play synth in a wave punk band called Metro Cult and do vocals and synth in Artificial Monuments. Metro Cult is more inspired by early Danish post-punk bands along with new wave elements. We have a new EP coming out on Mass Media Records, which we are looking forward to. While, with Artificial Monuments, we’re more leaning towards dark 80s electronic and coldwave. There is an interesting group of dark underground post-punk-esque bands going on in Copenhagen featuring common members and many friends, and I’m happy to be part of it. Bands like: MOTH, Metro Cult, Melting Walkmen, Artificial Monuments, The Woken Trees and Chainsaw Eaters.