ANNIKA WEERTZ

︎INDEX

Collecting Memories and Making Portraits
born in 1991





TO MEMORISE OR TO LOSE FOREVER?



      Obsessing over things that happen.
I am one of those people that remember details down to the exact date they have happened on, if unsure, I go through old calenders, notebook, to reconnect the dots. I still vividly remember taking my mother’s old pocket camera from the kitchen drawer when I was six years old. She said it was broken, so I took it and walked up and down our street ‘playing photographer’. I clicked and clicked, looked through the viewfinder at the details of my home but nothing was exposed. I still remember that I was mostly fascinated with the camera’s buttons and its attached sleek snake chain.    
    Then a few years later, I got a friends book. You know, those template filled books that you would hand out to your school friends and they all fill out a template, so you would know what music they liked and what subjects in school they disliked and what job they dreamed of having once they were adults. I filled out multiple templates in each of the books I owned, because I felt my personal preferences changed every so often. So, it must have been in the third or fourth grade that I wanted to become a journalist and a photographer. And funnily enough, I completely forgot about that for years. 

After graduating from school in 2011, I immediately enrolled for History & Public History and Journalism and thought for years that I would follow up with a master’s degree in which I would do an in depth study of humankind’s atrocities and end up doing a PhD to become a super academic and spend my life in offices and lecture halls wirting and talking about war crimes and the holocaust. But I was really shit at academic writing and after taking the photo journalism class, taking photographs evolved from being just a hobby. 
    But instead of moving away to finally start studying photography, I finished my bachelor’s degree in History, started a master’s degree in Technical Editorship and Multimedia Documentation to learn basics in video, audio and still life photography and started seriously working on free projects and made my first portfolio. 
My master thesis dealt with the qualitative differences between analogue and digital photography. And after so much research on archiving data the right way to make it last, I decided that film was going to be my preferred medium to take pictures on.
    When I started seriously taking photographs, I did it for the sake of collecting, trying to freeze a moment in time, to be able to revisit it again and again and again, something to rely on when my mind would fail me. I still haven’t found the answer to whether it really does help me to remember or whether it actually erases the moment from my memory.


The image above shows Milan. One of my closest friends’ son. In 2018, Leo and I covered Milan with grass for a spontaneous Polaroid shot that later was worked on by another artist for an exhibition. Leo ended up buying the polaroid afterwards and hung it on her bedroom wall. Seeing the polaroid fade slightly over the short amount of time due to the day light, I became nervous. Since I only had a digital scan of the polaroid, and trust me on the expertise I gained writing that master thesis, when I say, that this doesn’t mean much in terms of conservation.
    The only thing I could do was shoot it again — 3 years later. It’s interesting to see how the image changed, it’s now shot on 6x6 black and white negative film. But I think the atmosphere of the initial photograph will always be my favourite.




So, this year I received my first funding for a personal project. The funding by VG Bild-Kunst allows me to work on my newest series called “The Hills Were Higher When you Were Young” for which I revisit childhood memories to then create ideographs of my childhood that I spent between animal feces, insects, meadows, fields and forests. 
   The project is also an experiment for me to see how revisting my memories so forcefully and often changes my own perception of my life or whether it will help me to understand myself better.    
    I am also keeping a diary during the project to help me remember better and not lose the details that cannot be depicted. 



    And besides that, I am photographing anyone of anything that catches my attention for a while. When making a portrait, I do not plan too much beforehand. I usually like planning things in order to feel in control, but when it comes to taking portraits, I stopped trying to coordinate anything before because experience shows that trying to plan a photograph does not work for me. The situation always turns out to be a little different, the reality mostly offers something more interesting.
   I do trust myself to make the best out of any situation by observing thoroughly and reacting quickly.