After winning 1st Place in the Landscape category of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards with her acclaimed series 'Land of Nothingness', Maroesjka Lavigne was one of the first ever Sony Grant recipients. She has spent the last year travelling and gathering images for a new series exploring the surfaces of Earth.
Maroesjka gained her Masters in Photography at Ghent University in the summer of 2012. Her work has been shown internationally at the Foam Talent exhibition in Amsterdam, The Robert Mann Gallery in New York, Galerie Hug in Paris and Museum Saint Guislain in Gent, Belgium, among others.
Hi Maroesjka. Thanks for chatting with us. How is the Sony Grant project coming along? Can you tell us a little about the series
I used the Sony Grant to photograph and travel for my new work that's coming out at the start of next year. The grant gave me the opportunity to research the surfaces of our earth more, a subject I've become more interested in after my project in Namibia. What makes up the colors of our earth what is the origin and use or meaning of those colors? I've travelled to the Puna Area in Northern Argentina, Lanzarote, and the Southwest of the states to see these extreme situations with my own eyes.
Your series 'Land of Nothingness' has been extremely well received in the photography world. Can you take us back to its beginning and tell us how the project came about?
After my series about Iceland I wanted to do something similar, unexploited and far away from society again. In a way I was expecting hot desert version of Iceland in Namibia, and thinking back on it I think it was very comparable and totally the opposite in a lot of different ways. Also I'm a big animal lover and always felt like a different approach on animal photography would be challenging and exciting.
Do you believe you have a style you try and stick to, or is your process more fluid and unexpected?
I definitely have an urge to 'clean up' images. If something is too messy I can't seem to live with it. I think that's a visual quality that would be hard for me to change. I do think there's still a lot of space to grow in the concept and the story I would like to tell. Although I do think I'll need an escape to a desolate place every once in a while for the rest of my life.
What advice would you give to those wanting to enter competitions, and also to get their work in front of fine art galleries and festivals?
Do your thing, keep doing your thing and make sure you love doing whatever you do. As for competitions it is always good to participate, why wouldn't you?
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
What comes next for you?
I will keep working on this new project for the rest of the year. I would love to get a more complete work by integrating people and/or animals into this series. The idea of making a book is also on the table and will hopefully be realized next year.