Sylvie Blum was born in 1967 in Taxenbach, Austria, later moving to Germany. She embarked on a career travelling the globe as a model in the worlds of art and fashion. In her world travels, she met the erotic photographer Guenter Blum in 1991, becoming his model, then his muse before they married in 1995. At his side she learned the techniques of photography, composition and light. From a young age she felt drawn to art, developing interests in fashion, architecture, design, pop art, music, film making, and especially photography, which would become the passion of her life. She worked with some of the giants of photography; Helmut Newton, Jean-Loup Sieff, and Jan Saudek.
On the death of Guenter in 1997, Sylvie moved into an old factory that she used as a photo studio. She found fame, building a name for herself with several artistic publications then moved to California. She now lives and works in Los Angeles in her studio The White Box. Her book Naked Beauty was published by teNeues and distributed worldwide. In 2012, she launched a show with the iconic photographer Herb Ritts at the Fahey Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.
Why did you become a photographer after being a model?
Since the age of four I knew I wanted to become an artist. I worked over 16 years as a model. Photography always interested me. The transition came naturally and felt like I never did anything else.
It is often said that the point of view is different in front of and behind the camera, is that the case for you too?
Of course, but knowing how it feels in front of a camera helps a lot to know how a model feels. It helps to create a brief relationship between photographer and model, and it helps to motivate a model to find her character for the day of the shoot. I consider my model an important part of my team, rather than just being an object I photograph.
How would you describe your approach in photography?
Minimalism is essential to my work. I love clear lines and a non-chaotic order. Sometimes I play head games to bring order to something that is very distracting. I separate shadows, lines, textures, colors, etc. from a scenery and try to break them into a level that leads me into a certain kind of order.
Which are your main influences in terms of art, music, literature and cinema?
I love architecture, especially Katsufumi Kubota's work. The way he manages space, form and material takes my breath away. I need dark electronic music in the studio all day and love the director David Lynch. My main inspiration behind my work comes by the things I am surrounded with in my everyday life. Sometimes it can be that shadow on my studio wall which gives me that kick.
According to you, what is a good image?
An image that has an iconic feel to it and will fascinate you for a long time.
How do you choose THE good image?
It's something I feel, something that excites me by looking at it and at the end the decision comes naturally.
- Meet Sylvie Blum in Normal Magazine n°3 & n°9 -