The Tooth of Time

 

It is obvious that the photographer Stefanie Schneider has a background in film. All her pictures live from the dust-filled eroticism of American road movies. For Hitchhikers, the thirty-seven-year-old artist sent her protagonists into the desert.

 

Falk Schreiber, u-magazine, januar 2006, issue 2, p.82-87

 

 

The air shimmers. Desert. A highway, massive autos, dusty kisses. One is familiar with these sorts of images from films, even if one hasn't yet seen this particular one. In any case, it seems to be older: The tooth of time has gnawed at the photos; they are discolored, strangely and incorrectly exposed, covered with white spots.

False! The photographic series Hitchhikers was created this year; the photos got their patina because the photographer Stefanie Schneider only uses film which has passed its expiration date by up to five years, and which accordingly reacts to light in unpredictable ways. Where one's assumptions are correct is in the matter of the cinematic allusions: Schneider received a degree in film at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen and was a cutter for several years. In the USA, she was responsible for the scene photos in the feature-film debut (Everything put together) of Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland) and out of tha collaboration developed her own photographic series Suburbia.

Hitchhikers is similarly structured and actually consists of stills, in this case without the accompanying film: loosely staged pictures in which the protagonists have space for spontaneous improvisations. No plot, but moods which seem familiar to us. Schneider remarks that during the shooting she was thinking of Thelma and Louise.

The series is marketed along with other works of Schneider by the Editions Galerie Lumas (www.lumas.de), the Galerie Caprice Horn in Berlin (www.capricehorn.com), and the Zurich gallery nd-projects. The Lumas branch in Munich is featuring Schneider in the exhibition Polaroid Movie through February 28, and starting on February 23 the feature film Stay runs, in which Schneider's pictures play a crucial role. And the thirty-seven-year-old artist, who lives alternately in Berlin and Los Angeles, continues to work on her filmography. At the moment she is developing along with Marc Forster a concept of transferring her typical photographic aesthetic into moving pictures. The working title is 29 Palms CA. A genuine feature film, with the Hollywood star Radha Mitchel (Melinda and Melinda) in a leading role, but characterized by Indie charm. There is no hierarchy. Screenplay, direction and filming were realized in a collaborative endeavor. Thus 29 Palms CA is a continuation of the working mode typical of Hitchhikers. Here as well, a storyboard provided a conventional framework which, however, could be extended by the female actresses almost at will.

In spite of all joy in experimentation, 29 Palms CA is intended for the cinemas. Schneider doesn't want to become stuck in the aloof world of art. "I'm sure that Marc Forster can come up with the financing," she laughs, full of confidence in the driving power of the Oscar nominee. She will talk, and Hollywood will listen.