It’s fun to play with time when creating photography. This photograph of Carlotta Champagne I made is full of time playfulness. She and I were both looking to create something a little out of the ordinary.
I first saw Fritz Lang’s 1927 film, Metropolis, in my pre-teen years. It was a profound visual experience that greatly impacted me. I had never seen anything like it before. I’m sure my first viewing was very intense, which is why it stayed with me. And while those specific visuals never fully informed my photography work, they definitely took a permanent place in my mental reference library.
I was fortunate enough to visit Babelsberg Studio outside of Berlin about 20 years ago, walk the studio lots and even see a replica of the Maria robot, as sadly, the original Maschinenmensch, as it was called, was apparently destroyed during filming. It was a wonderful visit to have experienced.
Which is why, when Carlotta pulled this vintage 1920s romper from her suitcase during her last visit, I think it informed everything from her wonderfully inspired period makeup to my decision to head down to the basement of my studio to find a location with an appropriate feeling of dystopia.
I don’t know if Carlotta was channeling the Maria character specifically, but from my vantage point, visual references from Metropolis were definitely present in her performance and my framing of our shots. A beautifully unusual collaboration for both of us.