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Daniel Sannwald: Pluto & Charon

The German-born fashion photographer publishes his first book, showcasing work with stylists including Dazed's Katie Shillingford and Robbie Spencer

London-based fashion photographer Daniel Sannwald’s first monograph, Pluto & Charon, will be released this week by Ludion Editions. Originally from Germany and educated at the Royal Academy in Antwerp, Sannwald is known for his experimentation with surrealistic and cinematographic imagery, drawing frequent comparisons to seminal surrealist photographers Man Ray and Maurice Tabard  — not least because his own reputation in fashion circuits is firmly established. The book is a selection of over 75 photographs and four texts related to the mythical relationship between planetary bodies Pluto and Charon. Dazed chased Sannwald from London to Stockholm to find out more about his forthcoming book...

Dazed Digital: Please tell us a bit about what is inside this book. Which projects have you chosen to include?
Daniel Sannwald:  The book will be an edit of my fashion work from the past five years, including editorials for 032c, Dazed & Confused, i-D, Vogue Homme Japan, 10+ and others. It will show my favourite collaborations with stylists Nicola Formichetti, Katie Shillingford, Hector Castro, Robbie Spencer and Tamara Rothstein. I’ve also added a few samples of my work from when I was a student, to show my evolution from past to present.

DD: The title, Pluto & Charon, refers to the unusual relationship between the celestial body Pluto and its largest satellite. Tell us about this, and how it came to lend the theme to your book.
Daniel Sannwald:
Pluto and Charon are unusual among planetary systems in that each is tidally locked to the other: Charon always presents the same face to Pluto, and Pluto always presents the same face to Charon. My book plays with the concept of these two bodies ­– it’s a kind of a love letter to what will come, and what has already been. My goal was to create a book that would be both consistent and poetic.  

DD: There are four texts accompanying your photographs: essays by Christian Stephan-Otto and Enrique Giner de los Rios, a short story by Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai and a poem by Koen Sels. What are they about?
Daniel Sannwald: Each text deals in its own way about the magic and wonders of the universe. It was important to me not to have texts that would just praise me and my work, but would help support the concept of Pluto and Charon (as well as be wonderful texts to read). Each text is very different from the others, but each creates a similar mood. Krasznahorkai's story is about the sun; Sels wrote a cosmic poem; Giner de los Rios’ text is about the earth (Valencia in particular); and Stephan-Otto's text is about a dark universe.  

DD: I've read that you had a quite magical, almost unreal, childhood. What in your background prepared you for the work you do now?
Daniel Sannwald:
I guess we all had quite magical and unreal childhoods. Mine was spent on self-built space ships exploring other planets, in underwater ships searching for new animals, and in blanket tents on the top of far away mountains… It was a wonderful time. I grew up in a family that supported a lot dreaming and feeling. My father was an artist who worked a lot with film and photography. In the short time we had together, I must have picked up on his work. When I was young I never believed that my father was dead and I promised myself that as soon as I grew up I would search the world to find him. My book Pluto & Charon is dedicated to my father. 

'Pluto & Charon' is published this week on Ludion Editions

Text by Julie Cirelli