Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Katharina Hesse: Human Negotiations (& Interview)



Katharina Hesse is a photographer who currently works in China and Asia, and has been based in Beijing for the past 17 years. She graduated in Chinese and Japanese studies from the Institut National des Langues et Civilizations Orientales (INALCO) in Paris.

She has recently uploaded some of her gripping photographs of Bangkok's sex industry unto a 6 minutes-movie which she titled Human Negotiations (above), and during which she also talks about her project in a Skype-interview with Elisabetta Tripodi, and which appeared on the blog e-photoreview.

Human Negotiations is an experimental two-year collaboration between Katharina and writer Lara Day, using images and text to explore the lives of a community of Bangkok sex workers. I cannot begin to fathom how Katharina managed to gain the trust and confidence of her subjects to such a degree...and she says as such in her interview, and that the most important task in her project was to gain the trust of the sex workers and their clients. All serious photographers agree with her advice, since only full and complete mutual trust gained over months and months can make such intimate projects possible.

Katharina's has an impressive background. Not only is she a self-taught photographer (always a huge plus for me), but she initially worked as an assistant for German TV (ZDF) and then freelanced for Newsweek from 1996 to 2002. In 2003 and 2004 she covered China for Getty’s news service. Her images were featured in numerous publications such as Courrier International, Der Spiegel, D della Repubblica, EYEmazing, Zeit Magazin, Glamour (Germany), IO Donna, Die Zeit, Marie-Claire, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, Neon, Newsweek, 100Eyes.org , Reporters without borders(yearbook 2010, Germany), Stern, Time Asia, Vanity Fair (Italy/Germany), and Wired (Italy) among others.

Katharina's photographs of Xinjiang, Kashgar and Urumqi are probably the best I've seen of that region....so go to her website after you watch the above movie.