During her work for the likes of Mary Ellen Mark and Patrick Demarchelier, Nina Mouritzen was simultaneously labouring over her own projects that centered around downtown New York in the early noughties. Since then she has continued to document many figures of the music scenes via portraiture as well as self portraits and cityscapes. Mouritzen's photographs tend to have a journalistic or diary-like atmosphere to them, where her portraits vary from musicians like Trentemoller and Kasper Bjorke from her hometown, to international popstresses like Santigold and Feist.
Where are you from/based?
I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1980. I moved to New York in 1999. Currently, I divide my time between Copenhagen and New York.
What's your background as a photographer?
No art or photo related school background, but I began taking photo's when I was very young, and I had the great pleasure and privilege of interning and working for Mary Ellen Mark for a year, when I first moved to New York, and after that, I assisted Patrick Demarchelier for a year. I have always worked on my own projects simultaneously, but especially Mary Ellen Mark inspired tremendously.
Are you inspired by any particular films? Art? Literature?
I'm very inspired by music, which may seem odd, but a lot of songs put visiuals in my head, as I think it does a lot of visual artists. Art, I like a lot of contemporary art. Public art/street art... whatever the proper term is, but things you can see out and about. I like zines and home made things, and I love documentary movies, and experimental films. I don't bother with books that have more words than images!
What about other photographers?
I'm inspired by documentary photography, and regard Mary Ellen Mark as a huge inspiration. I love photographers like Richard Avedon, Michael Ackerman, Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Robert Mapplethorpe, Corinne Day, Ryan McGinley, Larry Clark, David Wojnarowicz, Gerard Malanga... the list is very long!
Do you have any current projects? If so, what are they about?
I just spend a month in Morocco, photographing Theatre Darna, which is a theater troupe that consists of teenage boys that live at The Darna Civic Center in Tangier. I documented their lives at the theater and it was tremendously interesting and a group of very gifted and interesting young people. I hope to turn it into a publication and a exhibition.
This past Spring, I went to New Orleans with a friend, and I photographed and he recorded buskers in New Orleans for a few weeks. The pictures and the sounds we recorded, we're currently editing and it will turn into a publication with a soundtrack on vinyl later this year.
What equipment/film do you use? What do you like about the equipment/film you use?
I only shoot analog. No digital ever. I use 35mm cameras. I have a bunch, but shoot mostly Canon and Contax. I don't like too much equipment. It feels restricting and invasive. It doesn't matter if I'm on assignment or am cramped in a corner of a theater in Tangier, it works best for me to have a simple set-up.
How do you choose your locations?
In general I like textures and environments. I don't particular care about white cycs and studios and only use it on occasion or if a job requires it. I guess I stumble upon locations almost daily and make a mental note, and then when a shoot comes around, I have a bunch of locations that will come to mind. I like going to people's houses, studios or rehearsal spaces as well, it feels like an extension of them a lot of times and provide a good backdrop.
What kind of feelings do you try to evoke with your photos?
I'm drawn to pictures that are usually slightly off. I'm interested in intimacy and an honesty, if you can say that... I shoot with a 28 or 35mm lens, which means, that I physically have to move in really close, and I think my pictures reflect that.
I have been accused at times, of sometimes taking pictures with a lot of loneliness.... I don't know. Those are other people's words!
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