Life is a cabaret: The Photography of Alma Haser
Posted by Scott Phillips on 07th July 2012
As many artists before her, Alma Haser prefers to let her work to speak for itself. The shy and unassuming 23 year olds art exudes confidence and passion. The work tells stories, and uses metaphores to describe her life, society, and the thrill of being young. We sat down with the artists to speak with her about her new series of work that she has released, and her diverse and inspired portfolio.
You recently published a series of taxidermy prints for Rise Art - Tell us about the project:
I wanted to create a series about my stepfather, who has lived in England all his life but couldn’t get a British passport due to his father not signing his birth certificate. After a lot of consideration and experimentation, I settled on the idea of birds. The birds are also a metaphor for freedom and identity: stateless and free. I was fortunately granted permission by the Wollaton Hall History Museum in Nottingham to photograph their migratory birds. The prints are a result of this trip. I love the portrait feel and the deception it presents to the viewer.
Teal by Alma Haser (Part of the series "stateless")
You come from a family immersed in the arts and creative industries. Can you explain your background and how you feel it has informed your practice?
I was born and grew up in a squat in an old match factory in Germany. My mother is English and my father German and they are both artists. We then moved to England and embarked on a slightly more ordered lifestyle, but my father wasn’t really keen on it so he moved back to Germany, leaving my mum with two young children. In 2002, she decided to take us on a year-long world trip. During our six-month stay in the Cook Islands, my mother picked up photography with great vigour (cyanotypes and pinhole photography). She often had me posing and she generally made use of the exotic environment and its resources. I think all these different experiences have been a great help to boost my creativity and imagination.
Who, or what is your work influenced by?
The work of Gregory Crewdson greatly influenced my latest project ‘Paper’. Jeff Wall, Tom Hunter, Erwin Wurm and Fred Muram are also big influences. I enjoy telling stories and working with narratives as a means to connect with the viewer. I have recently been creating sets and working with people in a staged manner. I try to stick to my own priciples and while referring to other artists work, shoot through the lens in my own unique style.
Paper Cranes by Alma Haser (Part of the series "Paper")
What projects and plans do you have coming up next?
I always work on quite a few things at the same time. Having recently moved to London, I am looking at new collaborations and activities that will help me take my work to the next level. I recently showed work at the Other Art Fair in October, and again with Rise Art at London Art Fair. I am also working on the "Ten Seconds Project" which gets its roots from the hide and seek games that I used to play as a child. It is a collaborative effort, and anyone can submit stills and video of them taking part. (ED: view the project and join in here)
Paper Planes by Alma Haser (part of the series "paper")
Which was the first work of art that mattered to you?
That’s a tricky question because I lived around art, with both my parents being artists. I suppose their art mattered to me. It was my mum’s experimental pinhole photography that led me to my first camera, a box brownie. Art and photography have been strong influences in my life - I guess that is why I am so passionate as a photographer
What’s your ‘guilty pleasure’?
Traveling. I can’t stay in one place too long and always have to get away, even if money is short, I will find a way. It is liberating, and it also gives me ideas and inspirations for new projects.
Self portrait of Alma Haser as part of her ongoing ‘Ten seconds project’