who’s that girl?
an introduction series profiling contemporary peculiar women + their brands with a sneak peek on how they curate their lives via conversation and photos.
location: london by way of spain
cristina de middel is a photojournalist + eccentric storyteller + explorer of peculiar subjects.
I. as a global citizen, what little-known u.s. historical event would you have loved to document as a photojournalist? why?
c: well, maybe because i am really into it now, i would have loved to make a story about marine test-pilots when nasa was beginning to make big improvements in the design of their rockets. apart from that, i think I would feel accomplished as a photojournalist if i was the first one capturing the image of a chupacabras or big foot.
write an eccentric story caption for this picture:
mayango, one of the II trained cats involved in the zambian space program, performs an [gravity defying] double jump at the f.p.p.f (fabric padded philosophical facility) proving the extreme adaptation of his species to alien environment.
cristina the storyteller:
I. how does your brand, cristina de middel photography, bridge tradition and innovation?
c: i guess, technically i am not bringing any innovation. i just try to stretch the possibilities of photography as much as i can and overcome the boundaries that i have brought with me all the way long from photojournalism. documenting past events with a tool that is trusted to convey immediate and real facts and playing, by doing so, with the veracity load of photography is something that I love to do.
so, if i had to state what I pretend with my work, i would not say i am innovating; but, rather i am bringing photography closer to cinematography…mixing things in a creative way.
I. if you were an astronaut what planet would you explore and why?
c: definitely the moon. i would love to see what the earth looks like from there.
I. photography is_______________.
c: answering yourself this question again and again.
a behind the scenes photo of “afronauts”
I. your “the afronauts” series is a re-imagining and re-contextualization of the 1964 zambia space program. as a photojournalist, how do you navigate the ethical professional boundaries of authentic documentation while remaining true to the innate, creative, personal photographer self, who has an intuition for the eccentric art of fictional storytelling?
c: for me, it has worked almost as a therapy. it is something i needed to do because after more than X years working for the news—i stopped believing. I didn’t trust photography anymore as something you can rely on to understand the world we live in because the system is corrupted. so, i decided to deliberately break the rules and one by one and raise the debate on photography itself. also, i wanted to give a positive image of africa. away from the well-known famine, war and draught features. i wanted to talk about dreamers, willpower and aspirations in the continent.
i believe this optimistic approach to africa, rather than using present tense to talk about past facts, is what stands as more edgy or irreverent regarding the photojournalism basis.
favorite photojournalist or photographer and why?:
diane arbus and duane michals…they were my inspirations at the beginning, when i had not even started with photojournalism. now, that i am back into worrying about story-telling and the mystics of the odd world i guess i embrace them again.
[diane arbus is known for her awesome black + white photography.]
[duane michals is noted for his innovation and artistry in photography of telling a story in a sequence of photos then later adding text to the work.]
photos in set + featured in interview courtesy of cristina de middle photography
click photos for other photography sources
afronauts [sold out hoping cristina will produce a second edition please!]
I: tanekeya word
creative + art director
& literature and culture editor
how do you curate your life?
if you are a peculiar woman and are interested in being profiled in the “who’s that girl?” series please contact tanekeya@neonVmag.com with the subject: “who’s that girl inquiry” please provide a link to your brand and why you are interested in being profiled by neonV mag.