News   Reviews   Articles   Dates   Gallery   About   Community   Links   Contact
Katja Ruge
Hamburg (DE)
Last months have been arduous but successful for Katja Ruge – her lauded photo documentation "Fotoreportage 23 – In search of Ian Curtis" came out, she appeared in nearly every intro magazine with her pics, last but not least an exhibition consisting of her synthesizer photos will take place in Graz (just in the same time this interview is released). Besides her busy life behind the lenses Katja Ruge found time to answer some of our questions.

Skipping through your portfolio, looking at all the pictures, I’m wondering how you are able to combine your aesthetics with your growing amount of work?!

I can split my work quite well because I love to do various styles of photography. That makes it sometimes difficult for me to say I have a specific style. But I don`t care anymore, it was something that worried me a lot, now I take it as it is. Now I believe I have a special style because I´m so diverse. If you want to make a living with your photography you must be able to do your own stuff next to the commercial work.

Speaking of your latest portraits, for me they seem to be very much arranged - So, how do you arrange them? To what extent the artist is involved in the making of the picture?

The artist is very involved, by not knowing really. I never knew what I´m going to do until I see the person in real. Also the location is important, if it`s something interesting it get`s more in the photo, otherwise I`m more focused on the person. I see very structured, I love lines, even if you don`t see them.

What is the basic contrast between b/w and color portraits for you? And how do you use the differences?

Its just a different style. It`s an emotional decision.

I haven’t seen a single live-pic on your homepage? Aren’t you interested in this genre?

That`s a funny question, I started with just concert photography. But at that time beginning 90ties I was aloud to do more and there weren`t so many photographers in the pit. It`s so limited nowadays, so I just moved on. Last year I photographed a myspae secret show in Hamburg of the French band Justice which was mental. Though I love the energy while I´m taking live photos.

In May an exhibition of your synthesizer photos will take place in Graz. How did you get the idea for this project and what do you want to get around with this pictures?

My friend Sunny who runs the Synthesizerpark in Hamburg got the invitation for Graz and he ask me do join him and his beautiful Synthesizers. I don`t know why but I adore these “Machines”. They are special to me. I grew up in the 80ties with all this syhntishit going on, that probably says a lot. So we`re going to exibit a photosession with synthis which has been published in the magazine Groove.

Speaking of your films – In general, are films the logical extension for a photographer being tired of the limits of her medium?

I just did the musicvideo “The Moment” together with Kirian Scheuplein. She really fulfilled my idea to reanimate my photos. The song by Jori Hulkkonen had a wonderful text, which worked with the photos right from the start. It explained perfectly what I feel when it comes to taking photos. At the moment I`d be more interested in vjing with my own photos, with this you can build up unique atmosphere for a concert or a party.

Speaking of “Fotoreportage23” – can you tell us a bit about the complicated process of making and publishing the book?

The idea was born together with my friend Andy when we heard that there will be a film about Joy Division. We`re talking about autumn 2005. I´m a massive New Order fan and the dark past of this band always fascinated me. Also I have a very special connect to the north of England, especially to the city of Manchester, I lived there back the days. It has a huge music history from Jazz to Northern Soul , from Rave to BritPop.

So I just started to take pictures while I visited friends and immediately I was so into it, I just kept going. It was like taking a trip. Never thought that it`s gong to be a book, but a friend put me in contact with Töni Schifer from Monitorpop, he loved the project and we made the book together. I have to mention that without the great help of my friend Sonia (she edited the text) and especially Gareth Davis with the translation and the foreword for this book it wouldn`t be the same.

The worst part of making the book was to get in touch with all the people, it meant a lot of mails, explaining what I´m doing. And many musicians I ask don`t wanted to participate, that was quite disappointing. In the end I just let it flow, that`s why I have so many different people in the book.

It was very special to me when Annik Honore organized that I could do an exibition during a factory nigh in Brussels. That was last December when the book came out. Also I have to mention the great Mark Reeder who is the photographer of the coverphotos of Fotoreportage23. When he came up with the idea to give me these photos, they never have been published before... really a dream came true. Without him that book wouldn`t exist.

In general, does the book deal with searching or finding Ian Curtis?

Yes, I found him and it sounds maybe completely out of control (!!!) but the wonderful Johnny Marr said it in one sentence “Ian is a busy ghost”, and I`m sure he is.

I had the most weirdest moments with Fotoreportge23, sometimes I had to stop the whole story because I couldn`t take it anymore. If you get thrown out of a record store in Liverpool because that guy behind the desk hates everything that has to do with NO or JD. I took off and passed a clothesstore and in this moment” love will tear us apart” started to play.

People still have Ian Curtis in mind, especially the ones that where close. There have been some very emotional moments while I met and photographed the people, also their handwritten texts, most of them have written down something very beautiful.

I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be published the same time “control” came out, but how do you see the relation between the movie and your book?

It`s just the same subject really. Control is a film about Ian Curtis, he`s in the movie, he`s for real in a way. I made a book, I´m searching for him. I really want people to remember how influencial and wonderful JOY DIVISION and IAN CURTIS were and still are. It`s timeless music.

Katja Ruge
Katja Ruge

Hamburg (DE)

my partycrew the Lovegang, my friends and family, the citypark of Hamburg, music, good food, reading books, watching films and docus, history in general, biography`s, spending hours in exhibitions ...

Favorite motives
portrait, reportage, lifestyle, travel


canon d5, holga 120 cfn, Nikon fe2, lumix dmc-lx2