From the Faces issue
From the images of her sister Britt whom she photographed for 15 years, to her brilliant fashion portraits, the Dutch photographer Liv Liberg tells us about casting, strangeness, and disguise. From her childhood on a farm in the Dutch countryside, Liv Liberg has always been immersed in art, music and design. At the age of 10, she secretly began to “borrow” from her parents’ incredible collection of clothes, and finding girls to shoot from among her friends. “I had my own weird model agency,” she admits, laughing. Two decades later, Liv continues to immortalise the faces in fashion in the colourful, off-kilter style which is entirely her own, with the same joy we can see in the first portraits from her childhood.
Over the course of 15 years you took pictures of your sister Britt, from childhood to womanhood, and you’ve made a book of these images – Sister Sister.
Yes. It was a very organic long term project. Seeing this book at the end, it was quite strange as I had the impression that her face had stayed the same. It hadn’t really changed. I discovered Britt as I had always known her.
The styling was already very precise in the images that you were shooting as a child. Have you always been interested in fashion?
I come from an artistic family and I inherited this love of clothes from my parents. They always had amazing vintage pieces from Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and Kenzo. When my sister and I were little we loved rooting around in their wardrobe to find amazing items to dress up in. Unconsciously that definitely had an impact on the way I see fashion and design.
What is it that draws your attention to a particular face?
It’s very instinctive. I know immediately when a face appeals to me. Casting plays an essential role in my creative process. A face gives me a vibe – a creative direction – and it’s my main source of inspiration.
Your work is oriented around the female figure – why is this?
I don’t really have any interest in photographing men. I prefer women. I’m interested in the movements of their body, their sensuality. I’m also inspired by the world of ballet. My models are a mirror for who I am and what I feel. Photography is like intimate quest to discover the woman whose image I’m capturing.
Who are the photographers who’ve influenced you?
All the classics. Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann and Juergen Teller, obviously. Your portraits are a mix of proud, mischievous female figures oscillating between reality, artificiality and extravagance. I like this clash between the real and the extravagant. I’m looking for this “weird tension” when I direct a model. I like to shoot in authentic places to find this element of reelness and messiness, like at my house, for example, all the while creating an extraordinary atmosphere with a look that’s really outré or with totally crazy make up.
Could you tell us about a portrait that you like particularly?
I loved shooting the model and photographer Guinevere van Seenus.
She’s amazing! And what about self-portraits?
I’ve hardly ever done any, but I’ve actually just been thinking about it. I think it’s an interesting exercise. It can help you to overcome a certain kind of timidity or insecurity.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my next book: the archives of my teenage years, unseen photos. I’m finding weird shoots that I did with friends. It’s great. It’s a very different process to what I do on a daily basis with publications or brands. I can take my time.