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Artist Interview: Madde Pontin

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Artist Interview: Madde Pontin

Daughter Runs

Madde Pontin

Location: Boston, MA

maddepontin.com • Instagram

Today I'm interviewing the other half of Daughter Runs. You've seen Madde all over the site, taking pride in the little things: Aesop hand lotion, Blackbird doughnuts, and cacti. Holding prominent roots in Sweden, she's been able to translate European ideals into Boston dreams. With an exciting future ahead at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, this gal just won't stop moving.  

Madde's work is as pristine as a fresh acai bowl. Sometimes referred to as "conceptual street photography", her photographs demonstrate her personal perspective and relationship to her environment. I'll let you see for yourself.

-Sam


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DAUGHTER RUNS: What does a photograph mean to you?

Madde: To me, a photograph is a representation of a feeling during a particular moment. When I take a photograph it's because I feel like there's something interesting and appealing to me about a certain instant in time. I find my best photographs to be the one’s that I can look back on and remember why I took, remember the feeling I had. A photograph is something that can say so much and reflect so much without needing any words. This is something that I find to be so inspiring and beautiful. That one image can say so much, without actually having to say anything at all.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Do you think environment plays a large role in creativity and ambition?

Madde: I think environment is everything. When i'm somewhere that I feel like I have a connection with I will never stop taking pictures. There is this instant attraction with my environment that I can’t describe. I can look around and see things that I want to shape and explore. In a lot of my work I like to take a moment and try to make it into something unique. The way a certain wall looks, the way something is on the pavement, the way my friend is standing in the street. All these things interest me because they're things people wouldn’t typically notice. Things that if I didn’t photograph could easily be overlooked. I think that's why to me, environment plays such a major role. 

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DAUGHTER RUNS: Where do you stand on the film vs. digital debate?

Madde: My answer to this question is always going to be film. There's nothing i'm more passionate about than film photography. This doesn’t mean I never shoot digital, I do, but the feeling I get when I take a digital photograph will never match the feeling I get after looking at a contact sheet. There's something so romantic about using film. When I look through the viewfinder I feel like there's a much more personal relationship between me and the subject i'm shooting, than there could ever be with digital. The fact that how I adjust the shutter speed, the aperture, and the way that I compose the photograph will make or break the image, is so inspiring to me. When I look at these images after making a contact sheet I feel like I have worked for something. These images all have a significant meaning to me. I know what I thought and what I felt when I was taking them. The click of the shutter is the most powerful feeling in the world to me because it's one less on a roll of about thirty images. I put so much effort and thought into every shot knowing that if I mess it up the moment will be gone forever. That feeling I get can never be repeated and there's just something so unbelievably amazing about not knowing if you got the shot until you get those negatives. Although you sometimes miss the shot, it just makes all the ones you got so much more powerful and so much more meaningful, making the image have more of an emotional feel. Film allows me to have a closer relationship with my work, and what i'm trying to accomplish through my photographs, than I ever could with digital.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Your most recent series, “Untitled”, emphasizes tones of white and green in the environment. Where is the curiosity to explore this coming from?

Madde: There's this line that exists in our society between what we have built in our environment and what exists naturally. I was drawn towards the artificial aspects of what I was seeing while also seeing the natural elements of the environment. It was very clear that these two things exist together in the world we live in. We have the living plants, while we also have the white cement and the artificial elements that we have created on our own. I found an interest in this because this idea of coexistence is something that can be applied to a larger picture in society. 

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DAUGHTER RUNS: Regarding your conceptual series, do you ever run into conflict when trying to fulfill the primary idea you had? 

Madde: Of course. I think one of the most important things with any art form is being able to adapt to your situation. There are always going to be problems, whether it’s with lighting, props, or a conflict with the subject matter. In order to put less pressure on the situation, I  always go in with a general idea of what i’m trying to say without having an exact plan of how every shot will go. I work along the way with my subject in order to create the idea I want to portray. I often look at my photographs after and find new ways my photographs can say what I want, that I didn’t originally notice.

DAUGHTER RUNS: Who do you continuously find yourself looking to for inspiration?

Madde: Stephen Shore. I have about three or four Stephen Shore books and have read many interviews on him. I love to read about his work and the way he describes it. I enjoy the way his photographs depict his mood towards his environment. This is something I find to be very intriguing in photography. I'm always interested in the way people interact with their environment and the way it comes across. Stephen Shore’s work demonstrates this very well and always gives me inspiration to do so in my own work.

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DAUGHTER RUNS: Other than photography, what do you like to do in your free time?

Madde: When i’m not taking pictures, I spend a lot of time looking at other peoples work. I like to do this to keep me inspired. I think it’s a good way to stay motivated and to get inspiration. I love reading interviews and what people have to say about their work because there's always a reason behind what they do and why they do it. Reading those reasons and how they describe their own work is so interesting because it gives one a greater insight to the meaning behind their work. Whenever I finish reading something or looking at a new book, I always reflect on my own work. Doing this is a major part of my creative process and it keeps me thinking about how I can better explore my own work.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What is the last film you watched?

Madde: Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson. I've seen this film several times and every time I watch it, I like it more. This movie reflects the idea of adolescence in a beautiful way and if you haven't seen it I highly recommend watching it. It will make you laugh and cry and leave you feeling inspired. 

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DAUGHTER RUNS: Favorite album right now?

Madde: Evil Friends by Portugal. The Man. It’s beautiful and I can listen to it for hours on repeat.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What is the best meal you’ve discovered within the past month?

Madde: I go to this japanese restaurant about three times a week. I always order the same thing, but to switch it up I decided to try the spicy beef soup with soba noodles. Now I order that every time I go.

DAUGHTER RUNS: What does “Daughter Runs” mean to you?

Madde: “Daughter Runs” makes me think of motivation and ambition towards something that someone loves. This desire one has to run towards their goal until they finally get where they want to be. When one is doing this they're often going to fall down, whether this means they are told they can’t do it, or they run into a wall. To me, daughter runs represents the action and dedication towards achieving the one thing that makes one happy and satisfied. The act of running towards this accomplishment or state of satisfaction is what keeps us motivated, it’s what makes the end all worth it. No matter how many times one falls down or is told they can’t do it, they just keep on running because they know they can. This meaning to me, is what makes it the perfect name for what we do here on our website. We want to be a place that inspires others to be their best and to search for the beauty in the world through art and culture. A place that allows one to keep on running towards that one thing they’ve always wanted.

all photos © copyright Madde Pontin