Fine Art Photographer Mia Hanson has lived in the Chelsea Hotel
with her husband, Hawk Alfredson since October 2001. We're happy
to report that she too shares our belief that the lobby is a portal
into another dimension.
Have you thought
of incorporating the Hotel into your moody imagery in any way?
Truthfully, I'm nearly haunted by the fact that I haven't done
this in any meaningful way yet. I just need to focus on a way
to express the soul of the Hotel that is unique enough to pursue.
I have participated in many interesting projects concerning the
artists who currently live in the Hotel and I think my project
would need to go in a different direction. The Hotel is a unique
organic installation in many ways shaped by it's management. Ideas
will come assuredly and I know that I cannot force this. So, I
wait. In the meantime I'll share with you an image of Terezka
that I took recently on the 10th floor of the Hotel. The huge
skylight works as a lightbox - I just love the natural even light.
Skin appears soft and sculptural.
Besides a nice quality of light, what do
you feel makes a great image?
I look for pictures that capture a moment in time with authenticity.
I think that on some level when we look to the artistry of the
camera we ask to be shown the beauty that resides in the world
and within it's people. Ideology of beauty is varied, but I believe
that this is what we all search for. Whatever the beholder determines
to be beautiful provides a great source of strength and hope.
The presence of an austere landscape can be inspiring since it
reminds us of the beautiful silences that we have within ourselves.
As the trumpeter Jon Hassell has thoughtfully said, "It's
not only the notes that are played, it's the silences between
the notes as well."
Maybe you are interested in capturing
the silences between the shutter release?
This thought reminds me of my relationship with those I have repeatedly
photographed. They know all too well of my reputation for waiting.
Waiting for what? The Moment! the moment when the subject realizes
after sitting a while (or lying naked in the snow) that they can
trust that I am on their side (although a little bit warmer perhaps)
and their eyes widen and take in that moment of trust with me.
When I take someone's portrait I am Being with them in their moment.
There is something
going on in your photos. How would you describe it?
For me, this is the most difficult question. Whether photographing
a person or a place I'm always searching for the soul of my subject.
As a photographer, I try to tap into some other frequency of mood
and emotion that is there, yet hidden. Unlike the painter who
creates from imagination, I'm fascinated with the thought of lifting
the veil from our given reality. Mainly, since I know there's
something else around us- I can feel it , but I can't see it and
that's frustrating. I'm always wishing that a ghost will make
an appearance for my camera...
Have you seen works produced with a Kirlian camera by any chance?
The contact print studies of organic objects are exciting regarding
their scientific importance, yet the "aura portraits"
are less compelling. You would think photographing with magnetic
energy should be reason enough for anyone to get their own Kirlian
and have a go at it. I know I've been saving my pennies for one.
I look forward to exploring this energy creatively.
If you could design
your own camera, what would it be like?
I don't have a name for this hypothetical camera, but it would
have simultaneous sensitivity for capturing both white light and
magnetic frequency. Just imagine how amazing our world would be
if we could see in delineations of full color the Other Reality
beyond our eyes? With my camera we would then see how the trees
might feel their own forest.
Is there any particular
photographic genre you would like to see represented and shown
I greatly admire the staged "Magical Realist" imagery
of various Czech photographers. Their well of emotional depth
runs deep and they express a passion for life and an empathy for
death. The American photographer Joel-Peter Witkin is a Master
of morbid staged imagery. His painterly photographs of cadavers
carefully placed with other found objects are surprisingly inspiring
and beautiful. Witkin is some sort of alchemical wizard if there
really can be one of those among us today. It seems to me as if
he likes to play the role of a benevolent God asking the maimed
players in his theatre to seek out the light. I think that Witkin
profoundly expresses the strong human desire to overcome dark
forces; Weakness of the human spirit being one of the most destructive
of all these forces.
Who is the most
famous person you have ever ridden with in the Hotel elevator?
Sean Lennon. He seemed a bit nervous. Just stared downward for
four flights to the lobby. Maybe he had kaliedescopic mirrors
on his shoes. I've spotted Daniel Lanois and Julie Delpy passing
through the lobby. Not at the same time, however. Both seemed
to be quite charming and convivial.
Any evidence you
can share that would bring us closer to the theory that the Hotel
Chelsea is actually a portal of entry into another dimension?
No evidence yet, but keoliechu phum xizt !!!
April 27, 2006