Mutterliebe by Stefan Rappo

Stefan Rappo is a Paris based photographer with a modern look on frame coloring and scenes. Here is our short interview with him about his series, Mutterliebe.

Where did idea come from for the series ?

Before my story “Mutterliebe” I shot the story “Room 42”. I really enjoyed it and I loved shooting with people who are more actors than models, so I wanted to work on a new project. I dont know how other people work, but for me most of the time it starts with a little détail, which I continue to develop.

The first idea was to shoot in a house with plenty of crazy people. Everybody has its room, and I started to imagine different situations. I quickly found the perfect location, a house in Paris. But somehow as I was putting things together, the story felt close to my Room 42 story, interesting, but more a scene by scene concept again.

So I’ve changed the concept to a family story. Over several weeks the story was “turning” over in my mind, and every day I added something, or took something off, and worked on the characters. For me this was really important, to define the personality of each person in the house. To work on actions, and reactions, and possible leads. I have to say that for me it’s also the most interesting part, to go into the mind of somebody and start playing.

2. We really like that the series looks like screenshots from an art film. Why this way?

I mean the question was how can I tell a story with stills, without having 200 pictures and without going in to every single detail, and at the same time keep the story understandable for people.

In my mind the story was really clear, but again the difficulty was to tell it in a few pictures. That's also why the scenes are quite big at each time and quite general. It was also really important to me that every picture stand for itself. I wanted to avoid to have boring pictures in the story just to explain something. Also I love when not everything is clear, when there is space left for interpretation. And I’m always really curious to listen to people when they try to imagine details that aren't necessarily there explicitly.

3. Are there any personal experiences involved?

I guess yes, but more in a general way and not so dramatic. I hate when people are possessive, and want to take control over the lives of other people. For me to be free and not to depend on other people is the most important thing.

In my story it’s a mother (Mutterliebe) who doesn’t want to let go of her son. You know the issue of the story… But you can put the same pattern on religion, couples, politics etc.

As just for the personal experience. I grew up in Switzerland. So kind of cold winters and always when I was about to leave the house with my jacket on I’d hear my mother shouting from the kitchen “don't forget your jacket !!!”. I would be so pissed and feeing strangled in my liberty to make my own decisions that I left the jacket behind… and, of course, got sick ;). So I guess when it’s not particularly demanding it’s wise to listen to people.

4. How long did it take you to shoot the whole series?

The preparation was quite long, 3-4 months. I had something in mind that I kept on developing until I was happy. The shoot itself took 2 days in a house in Paris.

All photos by Stefan Rappo