Berlin-based photographer Djamila Grossman had mostly worked as a photojournalist for publications such as Stern and The New York Times until her professor at the Ostkreuz photo school invited her to participate in a workshop in which photographers were paired up with students at a fashion school in Halle, Germany. When discussing the shoot that ultimately became her series, “I Hate That I Don’t Hate You,” Grossman says, “It turned out to be a lot of fun.”
She was paired with Tra My Nguyen, a designer whose luxe garments are embroidered with the word “love.” “She wanted to transmit how in society, love is blown up to be this wonderful thing, and that you’re supposed to live happily ever after with it, but in actuality it can be really difficult and painful,” Grossman explains.
They shot the lookbook for the collection in a hotel in Halle. “We liked that in a hotel, there’s a natural divide between the smooth, flawless surface and the reality, which can sometimes be quite lonely.” The resulting images in the series are cinematic and offbeat, recalling the films of Wong Kar-wai and the television series Twin Peaks, which Grossman says served as an inspiration.
The series, which was recognized in PDN’s The Look competition in 2015, was a departure for Grossman, and it’s opening new outlets for her creativity. She says: “I studied journalism, and for a long time that was all I knew. I never thought about the different types of photography that were within me. Now, in order to grow, I’m trying to forget everything I know and follow my instincts.” —Brienne Walsh
PDN’s The Look fashion and beauty competition is open for entries through June 16. Enter at pdnthelook.com.
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