“I have a healthy obsession with women—and the human body,” says Anne Barlinckhoff, a photographer who lives between Europe and Africa. Barlinckhoff’s self-labeled “obsession” is woven throughout her portfolio of draped bodies, contrasting skin tones and abstract lines made up of flesh and curves.
Though she is best known for her nude fine art photography, Barlinckhoff is a shape shifter from project to project. “I see the human body as beauty in its purest form and during a shoot, I connect with my models. I want see them in a way that makes them feel at ease, so they can let go of their insecurities and be who they want to be.” That is the lynchpin for all of Barlinckhoff's work, whether it is the naked body or children (clothed, obviously), or self-portraits--to show that humanity is not just about relationships between people, but about the relationships between people and the given environment. It's about the intimacy and intensity she builds around each subject with their environment, where leaves cascade at the same time as hands touch, tall grass inches upwards in the background and fruits balance between two models' butt cheeks.
When asked why she leans towards photographing the female form, she says that, “It is not only my experience of working with women that motivates me, but I’m also drawn to their infinite forms, textures, and beautiful peculiarities. My work could be perceived as an aesthetic coincidence, encouraged by the relationship of a friendship developed with my models and between my models—male and female—and because of this, the story is happening outside the frame as much as within it.”
“Nothing is sure in life and so is the outcome of my film, always a surprise or a beautiful mistake,” she explains. That philosophy emanates throughout her last project, Dreams of Paradise, about escaping tragedy following the death of her mother. "[It's an] escape from a place of cruelty and violence, but also my belief that life is beautiful too." she notes. "I felt free to drift into a colorful paradise, into a dreaming state in which peace and beauty are synonymous with happiness. Terrible and oh so beautiful, life is both.”
Barlinckhoff is currently working on a series focused on Ghana. She plans to donate a percentage of the sales to the youth in the West African subregion for financial and educational support.
As for what's next? “The world is my studio,” she proclaims.
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