Intimacy, connection and the fragile nature of the human form, that's what the latest series in the Peppermint Diaries is all about. The woman behind these gorgeous shots is the wildly talented Annika Weertz, who ever so kindly agreed to share with us a little bit about her journey as a creative cookie along with a few of her favourite snaps.
She got into the game in her teenage years, playing around with a Sony digital camera and desperately dreaming of the day she could get her hands on a real DSLR camera. So after months of saving her pennies and a generous chunk gifted by her father for Christmas, the day finally came and Annika owned her very first proper camera that would take her down the creative path that we found her on today.
" I think developing a style takes years and years. I think I have found my style recently," she said.
"The first photographer that influenced me was Helmut Newton. I think I saw his work in one of my photography magazines and my boyfriend at the time bought me his book Big Nudes — the first ever photography book I owned. I loved the black and white, the grain, the nudity and how he portrayed women as powerful human beings. It was so different to what I was used to see on television. The women had body hair, they had character and edge and didn’t seem like the polished models of my time."
"The next big influence was and still is Ryan McGinley. He made me realise that I needed to be obsessive in order to properly produce something of worth and that this whole thing is not about equipment. So I started obsessing over my boyfriend at that time and stop staging too many things. Because if you stage it, it is not real. And nothing needs to be perfect. Blurry, grainy images are great. They are real and show that something actually happened."
"The women had body hair, they had character and edge and didn’t seem like the polished models of my time."
Annika draws further inspiration from the grainy aesthetics of old-fashioned photographs which is portrayed in the subtle details of her work.
"The grain and the atmosphere is just genuine and beautiful. So, I always tried to give my images that sort of look in the post edit, but it is hard to do. Analogue is analogue and digital is digital. They are different worlds. I started shooting analogue in December 2015 and I am absolutely fascinated by the emotion that is attached to images. It is worth every penny," she said.
Annika explores the world from her own vantage point, hoping to entice others in with small slices of her most intimate and private moments shared with lovers or friends.
"My intention is to show something others cannot show. It is my world and my eyes that see things this way. Currently, I am focusing on two projects and the intimate and personal project is the relationship to my boyfriend... I want to show what is real and I want to capture the intimate moments, because someone might relate, someone might look at their partner like I look at mine."
"I try to capture moments on film and in a digital format that are taken for granted at times. If it’s just a calm Sunday morning in bed with a cup of coffee or they way I look at my boyfriends neckline, collarbones or sides. I would never want to forget these moments. I am obsessed with remembering details and taking photographs of these things is also a way to never let them fade away."
Women act as a strong motivation and inspiration for Annika, with many of the females showcased in her series being people that she herself can relate to and identify with. Her current project is all about women, focussing on their strength, confidence and comfort in their physical body and sexuality.
"These women all happen to be friends of mine which is absolutely necessary for me in this context as I feel like taking pictures of people I don’t have a personal connection with makes me uncomfortable and it also makes nude portraits absolutely staged and ridiculous in my opinion".
"If it’s just a calm Sunday morning in bed with a cup of coffee or they way I look at my boyfriends neckline, collarbones or sides. I would never want to forget these moments. I am obsessed with remembering details and taking photographs of these things is also a way to never let them fade away."
We asked Annika what her favourite photo that she's taken is and she chose this one.
"From a personal and emotional point of view I would say it is Soft Lips from April this year. I shot it with my analogue Nikon FG that my boyfriend bought me for christmas and I used my first colour film, the Kodak Portra 400. The picture shows my boyfriends neck after a shower that we shared together and on his neck you can still see my lipstick stain from the day before. I wear lipstick everyday usually and the stain being still there made me happy somehow, so I told him not to wash that part of his neck so I could take a picture of it.The photograph basically unites aspects that are personally important to me," she said.
"The analogue camera he bought me, my affection towards him made visible by the lipstick stain and the water drops of his neck that give a hint to him having a shower before the photograph was taken."
To keep in the loop with Annika's world you can follow her on instagram @peppermintdiaries or at her website: http://annikaweertz.tumblr.com/