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Silverprint Hotel
La galerie nomade
“Lipstick, Champagne and Rock & Roll”
by Ursula Moutin-Katzenmeier

Lipstick, high heels, silk, sand, snow, Champagne, Paris, New York, hotel, butterflies, strawberries, whipped cream, garter belt, Chelsea, art openings, chocolate, Chanel no.5, cinema, scallops, stars, tipsy, lingerie, blue, Rock & Roll…

This is an incomplete list of words that I like, for reasons that don’t really matter. They represent sensuality, voluptuousness, freedom, passion, and desire, and therefore act as the perfect accompaniment to my photographs…

"Jazz married"
Silverprints by Ursula Moutin-Katzenmeier

More shade than light, more obstacles than space, the stage is a delicate place, where the photographer should be invisible to keep the magic going. Despite of these restrictions, I try to catch a glance, a note, a musical gesture to show the pleasure and the emotion a musician can feel in the urgency of playing and in the sensual relationship with his instrument. These portraits of musicians I saw through my lens, I’m eager to share them with jazz fans, fine art-lovers or just curious people. Add the exposure time of all these portraits, you won’t get half a second of rejoicing, intense and magical moments. Have a look...

"A fleur de peau"
Silverprints by Ursula Moutin-Katzenmeier

In the 1970s, my father bought a Rolleiflex SL 35 along with every imaginable accessory: three Carl Zeiss lenses, an external flash, and a collection of macro rings. In the end though, he never really made much use of it, and he finally passed it on to me in 1990 to celebrate the birth of my first daughter. Seven years later, I was pregnant with my fourth child and we bought a small detached house with a garden in the Paris suburbs.

When we moved in to our new home, the only plants in the garden were an old honeysuckle, a climbing rose, and a gigantic, majestic Judas tree. Apart from these, everything was lawn. The following spring, I planted three butterfly bushes; one a golden yellow, one white, and one purple. Over the next few years I added three magnolia trees and planted scented roses along with lilies, hibiscus, lilacs, peonies, bamboo, ferns, thyme, and rosemary. Olive, date, and Japanese plum trees now make up part of the garden, which would be more accurately described as a tropical jungle.

These days, this multicolored jungle has become my playground. Little by little, I have taken tiny pieces of it, capturing them on rolls of color film and preserving them forever. My goal was to create images that blurred the line between the figurative and the abstract, employing an infinitely small depth of field. I wanted the flowers to be out of focus yet still recognizable as what they are. My photographs were to serve as an invitation to travel through the unlimited realm that is nature in all of its glorious forms and colors, a world where reality becomes a dream….

"Kids & Company"
Silverprints by Ursula Moutin-Katzenmeier

The children featured in my work, with their wide eyes and serious faces, are rarely smiling. This makes my photos different to those normally seen in advertising or in your average family album, where the happy, carefree side of childhood usually takes priority.

Why is it that I find myself drawn to these serious expressions, these looks of concentration bordering on suspicion, over faces so clearly full of joy? I honestly have no idea, although perhaps my own story can offer a little insight. When I think back to my own childhood, I see a pretty little girl with curly blond hair, staring into space, absent and dreamy with a toy suitcase in her hand. I see a reserved young girl looking for meaning in the world, standing beside her twin sister who, unlike herself, is full of life and energy.

I watched. I observed the world. And then later, I began to photograph my own version of it. With the help of my old Rolleiflex, this was my way of taking ownership of the colorful universe that surrounded me; a way to reconnect with my own childhood….

"Honey what happened?"
by Ursula Moutin-Katzenmeier

Around a year ago in Paris, I was on a train on line 6 of the metro, traveling from Gare de Lyon to Gare Montparnasse. I was lucky enough to get a seat in the busy carriage and sat down across from an American man in his forties, who was chatting away on his cell phone.

All of a sudden, a strange tone of shock in his voice, the man uttered these simple words, words that resonated in my head for a long time afterwards: “Honey what happened?”

It wasn’t so much the words themselves as the way he said them. His intonation and expression added something dramatic, almost theatrical, to this otherwise banal   question.   I  couldn’t   help  myself  and  my  mind

instantly set to work searching for a narrative to accompany it. A back-story to satisfy my curiosity, to fill in the gaps of the phone conversation I was never supposed to hear.

Who was on the other end of the line? A woman? A wife? A mistress? Where was she? In a hotel in Paris? In an average town, far away in the United States? But most importantly, what really had happened?

Awakening the imagination is one of the effects that photography has on me. Photos ask questions, create stories, express wishes, and reveal or awaken desires. They give the viewer a mere glimpse of reality, leaving us scrambling to fill in the gaps, to imagine what is happening on the periphery of the scene that is represented. The viewer has no idea why or for whom the artist took the photograph.

In this portfolio I tell the stories, real or invented, behind my photos. I would be delighted to think that someone who sees my work might get one of them stuck in their heads, that I might have touched their imaginations in the same way that that simple exclamation did with me: “Honey what happened?”

by Ursula Moutin-Katzenmeier

The “Wallpapers” series is a varied collection of photos that have only their format and potential use in common. Each photo was taken in landscape and is ideal for use as wallpaper on a computer screen. Many of them come with their own story, like the caramel-colored kitten sitting in the engine of an old Citroën, staring so seriously out at the viewer. This has been my own screensaver for years.

If you would like to do the same with one of my photos, then please get in touch with me. Just let me know what it is about the photo that you like and I’ll send it over to you!