In collaboration with Slate's photo blog, Behold, we are extending the conversation with some of their featured photographers.
When asked if she had ever been a member of a club, Beatrix Reinhardt chuckled a bit and said “God, no.” It seemed an obvious question for a photographer who has spent more than a decade going behind the closed doors of members-only clubs around the world. Those images, shot without people, are part of a series she titled “Members Only.” Reinhardt currently lives in New York but was raised in East Germany during a time when “you came out of the womb belonging to some kind of organization”. She said while she has an aversion to private clubs and their exclusionary policies, photographing them is an addiction, perhaps a way for her to try to better understand why people are so attracted to them. David Rosenberg (Slate) asked her a few questions about how she defines herself as a photographer and the challenges she has faced pursuing a creative career. To learn more about Reinhardt and to see more images from “Members Only”, head over to Slate.
Do you see yourself as a fine art photographer? If so, why?
Although, the line between fine art, commercial, editorial, fashion….etc. is getting more and more blurry (which I very much welcome, celebrate, and conceptually & visually enjoy), I consider myself a fine art photographer. Why? Well, my work reflects my discourse with and understanding of the world, its history etc., and the attempt to place myself within it.
Talk about challenges defining yourself as such and how you've connected with galleries and buyers.
In my mind, I like to compare galleries to partners (no disrespect; I have been married for over ten years). They come and go. You meet, you like each other, you check each other out… you might be even in love, and at one point you have to decide if you really love each other, not just in love. Sometimes you are, sometimes you are not. These relationships are like everything else in life – fluid and need a lot of work. Good places to have a “first date” are photo festivals and portfolio reviews from my point of view.
Is there a perfect scenario for you as a fine artist? Or, as a photographer making a career in this business?
No, not really. There are things I like to realize…a book, exhibiting a certain body of work in a very particular way…For me constant evolvement is of essence – living life the fullest, being open and flexible to whatever comes ones way, bursting with curiosity about the world and everything in it.