unknown beauty marks girl

Interview with Isa Gelb
by Abel Ibáñez G.

What camera and other tools did you use to shoot this photograph?
A Contax G2 with a Contax TLA 200 flash.

Tell us about the place and time when this photograph was taken. What were you doing there that day?
This picture was taken during a rehearsal of a classical music women’s choir in a protestant church. On that cold day of February, my plan was staying home watching a movie but I got a call from a friend chorister asking me to come shooting the rehearsal. I must say that I wasn’t very willing to go but I did. That place was completely unexpected for me, the light was very low and the atmosphere cold but calm and mystical. Kinda great actually.

What do you like the most about this photograph and why?
I love the shape of her dress which shows her moles on her back and her shiny hair.
I also see a kind of sweetness that emanated from this photo. I regret not knowing anything about this chorister, neither her name nor her vocal range. So I call her the unknown beauty marks girl.

Is there a title for this photo? If so, why did you choose it? If not, what would be a good title for it?
I’m not a documentary photographer so giving a title to my photos doesn’t make sense to me. I tend to believe that it is better not to give the viewers a clue. This way they can create their own story.

Was there anything that you can consider an influence or source of inspiration to create this photo?
I was greatly influenced by William Eggleston’s way of framing. I like to crop subjects. It affects how you interpret that image.

Tell us something fun, interesting, weird or intense that happened at any point during the process of making this photo.
The strangest thing was that I didn’t feel comfortable making noise while the girls were getting ready for rehearsal. They were all completely focused on their score so I tried to act like an invisible person to not disturb them. Quite difficult because the shutter of analog cameras is quite noisy. So I felt like an elephant in a porcelain store as we say in French, in English I believe it’s like an elephant in a China shop.

For this photo, did you do something completely different to what you normally do for other photos?
Shooting people is not what I normally do and even less in this low light conditions, so I tried to be more careful setting the camera than I usually do.

Did you learn something during the process of shooting this photo?
Yes! I realized that I shouldn’t have been so shy in my approach to singers to get better pictures.

Where and in which format would you like this photo to be exhibited?
In a small format on one of the walls of that protestant church would be great.