Inga Schunn has been photographing the people she admires since she was 10 years old. Besides working full-time for a German gallery, Inga writes poems, makes enormous salads, hikes as much as possible, and directs and edits music videos. Based in California’s city of Angels by way of Richmond, Virginia and Nürnberg Germany, she lives next to a park with her cat and 20 house plants.
How did your shoot with your friend Isabelle go?
The shoot with Isabelle Marshel went super well. She’s a friend of my sister’s, works for Guess, and, in her free time, writes a blog about personal style and feminist issues (check it out here). She and I both moved to Los Angeles with no real plan, and I think that daring attitude towards life is what brought us together. We’ve always talked about working on a shoot together, so when I started looking for places to submit my photographs to, she naturally volunteered to model and style herself. I picked out some locations and we spent the day just cruising around LA and Pasadena, taking pictures and talking about life.
Can we photograph the female body differently in a more powerful way?
This is quite a loaded, heavy question. The easy answer would be to say, ‘No it’s not possible, it’s all been done before,’ but there’s a lot more to it than the fact that photography turns an experience into an object. There is a lot of theory and history (please see ‘HERstory’) behind portraiture, and it all deals with social power. Power which has been traditionally, and unfortunately, held and directed by men. I think what’s powerful is when women photograph themselves and share it with the world, regardless of the hate they may receive from the other end. Showing yourself to the world helps bring awareness to the variety of life there is. Self-love should be encouraged. It makes me sad when people shame others for enjoying their own bodies through photography. I think the selfie movement is a sibling to the feminist movement.
How would you define beauty?
Honestly, I think beauty doesn’t exist. What I do know exists, is energy. It may sound vapid to some, but beauty is a concept imposed upon our culture. It is a ranking system that I wish I wasn’t forced into. It’s what keeps girls from being sisters regardless of differences. I could say so much more about this topic, but it would just make me look ugly to a lot of people. You know what I mean?
What inspires you?
My friends and my family inspire me. Everyone who I let into my circle is someone who I respect, not only because of the things they make, but because of how they treat other living beings, not just humans.
Film or digital?
Film! Digital is fun, but it definitely takes me out of ‘the moment.’ I admit that may sound ridiculous to some, but any photographer who was raised on film before digital (aka anyone who was born in or before the early 90’s) will tell you that shooting with a DSLR will make you second guess yourself. Often times I find that digital shoots leave me with far more images to page through than with film.
What makes you happy?
Taking photographs, researching places to visit, writing poetry, day dreaming, sleeping, movement, music, cooking, gardening, my cat, and the days when I get to hold someone I love. Honestly there isn’t a lot that doesn’t make me happy.
What’s next for you?
I’m looking at going back to school in Germany, hopefully Berlin, but for now I’m going to ride this pretty pony named Los Angeles into the sunset and keep making things with my friends because that’s what life is all about. Creation.