PROFILE: JESS KOHL

Posted on January 16 2017

We first discovered Jess's work via a series called 'Friends of the Dead'- featuring portraits of individuals who work and volunteer in Londons' most famous Victorian cemeteries, known collectively as the 'Magnificent Seven'.
Instantly intrigued we reached out to Jess...

1. How did you get into photography & what inspires you?

I got into photography through wanting to capture and communicate to the world, photography seemed like the most natural way to do so. As i continued my practice i found the medium that worked best for me, which is currently black and white medium format photography; i process my film at home, and then scan in the negatives, and love the ability to do the whole process start to finish, it’s really satisfying.

 

2. The macabre quality in your work leaves a lasting impression, has this been something you have always been interested in and what draws you to it?

I have always been interested in the macabre, the darker side of things, since i was a kid and wanted to hear the same scary bedtime stories again and again. As i’ve grown older this has developed into a love for everything that surrounds death and mortality; particularly i am interested in memento mori objects like mourning jewellery and costume, i’m fascinated by cultures who celebrate or particularly fear death, hence my most recent project ‘Friends of the Dead’, which celebrates London’s beautiful Victorian cemeteries.

 I am moved by photographers and story tellers who capture death in their work, be this photographers like Nan Goldin, who documented the lives and deaths of her friends and community, or Robert Mapplethorpe who used skull imagery and esoteric symbolism in his work; i guess i’m interested in their ability to make me question my own mortality. I aim to do the same, whilst creating beautiful imagery. I think shooting on black and white automatically gives my work a kind of gothic quality. 

Shop Jess's picks online here