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Sugar WOW!

Jan von Holleben

August 4, 2022

Small things, large presence: for his new series, the Berlin photographer not only produced a series of pictures; he also activated some of the sweet treats, to grant them an animated life of their own.
What happens if you are surrounded by sweet things all day long, and close to suffering from a sugar overload? The Sugar WOW series of pictures, created by the Berlin photographer over the last few months, offers one answer; as do the stop-motion films he produced at the same time as the photos.

The impulse for the project came from a request by the »horizons zingst« Environmental Festival curator, Edda Fahrenhorst, who wanted a series dealing with the subject of sugar to complement the 2022 festival motto: “Eat It – About Food”. The props were ordered, and ideas for the series soon began to bubble up: the diversity of possibilities for creative imagery, was as colourful, sweet and often sticky as the material itself.

Quite incidentally, while working on the pictures, a few short, stop-motion films also emerged. Jan von Holleben spent a lot of time moving individual sweets slowly across the paper, then patiently pressed the shutter release of his camera after each movement. Most of the time, he only needed to film a sequence once, because, as he himself explains, he is an enthusiastic advocate of the first idea concept. "The videos have between roughly 90 and 200 frames, and the small intermission clips around 20 to 60 individual shots. Once everything has been set up and prepared, the production takes from five to 30 minutes, sometimes maybe as much as 45 minutes. By then, however, I'm physically unable to deal with more, because I barely change position and only my arms are moving.” The effort was well worth it! Delicious stories have emerged!
Ulrich Rüter
Video: © Jan von Holleben

LFI 6/2022+-

A portfolio dedicated to this series can be found in LFI 6/2022.

Jan von Holleben+-

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© Anna Schäflein

Born in 1977, Von Holleben began taking photographs when he was just 13. He first studied Disability Education, then graduated in Theory and History of Photography from the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in London. He was a photo editor and artistic director, and set up two photographer groups, before returning himself to photography, causing a sensation, in particular, with his distinctive layered work. His best known series is Dreams of Flying. He lives with his family in Berlin. More