This post is part of the “Broad Strokes” series, highlighting the work of female photographers and Leica. This exhibition will take place at the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles, from April 2nd until May 2nd as the Official Exhibition of Month of Photography Los Angeles. It includes works from Tanya Alexis, Lesa Amoore, Cira Crowell, Sandra de Keller, Lisa Leone, Eva Napp and Tasya van Ree. Here’s a brief overview of Sandra’s work and her involvement with Broad Strokes, her fascination for the epic Renault 4 and her studio on wheels.
Having a multicultural background, speaking the languages of the countries she travels to, and being a curious and creative photographer, Sandra de Keller is proud of what many consider it to be a relic: The epic vehicle created by Renault, the R4, which is the world’s third best-selling vehicle after the Volkswagen Beetle and the Fort Model T. Why? She explains, “The nostalgia I feel towards my first car, the Renault 4, inspired me to use the real back doors to frame black and white photographs, driving around the island of Ibiza (Spain) with an R4 as my studio”.
All the pictures she will be showing at the prestigious Leica Gallery in Los Angeles through this month of April were shot with the Renault 4 as the underlying subject of each image. She refers to it as her “studio on wheels”, definitely proving to be a very reliable one. “Driving around is when I feel the best and get my ideas. I get more inspired by reading about Wabi Sabi than looking at other people’s work,” de Keller clarifies.
A Geneva-born artist, Sandra grew up in Salzburg and Ibiza. She studied design at Elisava in Barcelona and worked freelance as a stylist and agent for architectural and design printed media, before fully committing to photography in 2009. Being sucked into the digital world, she sprung back to analog when purchasing her Leica M6 after seeing it in a window shop back in 2008. She confesses it was “love at first sight”. Having this mixture of elements and life experiences, de Keller shows this series as captured through her 35 mm lens, mentioning her initial inspirations come from simplicity, naturalness and the acceptance of the inevitable. De Keller continues, “They derive from the atmosphere of desolation, melancholy and the expression of minimalism.”
Going into detail about starting this project, the photographer recalls why she has been so emotionally attached to this car. After all, it was her first car back when she was only 19 years of age. Here’s her description of how it came to be:
“One day driving around the island of Ibiza I saw an old Renault 4 car door in the rubbish and stopped and took it home with me (I love stopping at these types of places). At home I looked at it and thought it was the perfect frame. Next day I immediately started the project driving around with a Renault 4 taking portraits of friends. Then I started to collect more doors by asking farmers if they would sell me their old abandoned doors… So they did and I went on and on with my project. God, I had so much fun doing this. So far I have been collecting more then 40 doors in all kinds of colours and states… it became an addiction (she smiles). There is a lot of passion behind all of this.”
Sandra, after participating at the Paris Photo program at Fitzpatrik – Leland House in LA, she urged to get the opportunity to exhibit at the Leica Gallery. So, she decided to walk right up into the Gallery with one of her (Renault) doors and show her idea. She met there with Paris Chong, curator for the Broad Strokes exhibition.
To know more about Sandra de Keller, please visit her official website.