Digital FeaturesLightshipJanina Fleckhaus
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Lightship · Janina Fleckhaus 1 / 1


Janina Fleckhaus


PHOTOGRAPHY Janina Fleckhaus STYLING Gabriella Stival MAKEUP Billie Mckenzie HAIR Akiko Kawasaki SET DESIGN Nuha Mekki MODEL Eleanor CAMERA Leica SL with Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 f/2.8–4 ASPH.

Lightship 93, the old red lighthouse ship in London, has often been a source of inspiration for Janina Fleckhaus. The story she has just produced represents an interplay between her fantasy-nostalgic side and her rather temperamental one. With nonchalantly cool styling by Gabriella Stival, ‘Lightship’ is defined by a masterfully carefree narrative.

You chose a particular location in London for the new S magazine editorial spread. What makes it so special?
I actually have a special relationship to the location. I met the owners two years ago when I’d just moved to London. They gave me the key to the ship and whenever the two aren’t in London and the location hasn’t been booked for other photo productions, I look in on the place. So the first idea for this photo shoot is already nearly two years old.

What is the ‘Lightship’ story about?
The inspiration for the editorial came from ‘The Life Aquatic’ first of all, and from 'Moonrise Kingdom’. Wes Anderson was my first association with the ship. The ship is the perfect place for an adventure. If you are somewhere on a boat you are, to some degree, between two worlds. Everything is kind of dreamlike, and you fantasise about possible destinations.
The title also has a double meaning: first of all, Lightship 93 is the name of the ship, meaning that the title was already on hand; secondly, at the end of the day of the photo shoot, the fuse blew, so that we were stuck with candle light for a number of hours. In other words, we had no light for quite some time, but instead we had a real adventure.

What was special about the styling?
Gabi, my stylist, always manages to put together wonderful looks. Each look relates very particularly to the location so as to breathe life into the story. When we’re on the set we let our gut feeling decide what will suit best, and we’re always quick to agree on what we want to photograph. Gabi’s cool manner and my romantic nature complement each other perfectly. Speaking about our collaboration, Gabi says, “It flows with our feelings rather than trying too hard to be specific. It is wild and free.”

Viewers often find your photography nostalgic, melancholic. Do you agree?
I really am a very melancholic and nostalgic person. I like to listen to classical music and watch movies set in other eras. I often long to be in other places. So, my character is always reflected in my work. I also love to work with people who are quite the contrary to me, so as to avoid landing in a kitschy nostalgia film.

Your protagonists often appear natural and girlish. Is that the type that you prefer?
I fell in love with Eleanor straight away, for example; because she reminded me of the princess in the Never Ending Story – a classic I’ve loved since I was a child! In this case it was a personal association, but I generally look for girls who have that something special. It could be their look or their cool character, and you can recognise it in the photos.

Which camera did you use for the photo shoot?
I photographed for the first time with the Leica SL.

You’ve now worked with the S and the SL. How would you compare the two?
I was immediately delighted with the SL. I’m more of a fan of mirror-less camera systems. Its light weight is definitely a plus. The other super thing is that you can set the focus point directly on the touchscreen. This means that I can be sure that the focus is exactly where I want it to be. I often had to battle with the few focus points on the S; and also the weight of the S by the end of a day’s shooting is not to be underestimated. I like the results both systems produce very much, but, because of the handling, I would opt preferably for the SL.

This time you also made a video for the story. Was that your first film?
I already made a film when I was studying, but it was without people, a sort of cinematic poem and very conceptual. Consequently, it was a completely new area for me; but I had a great Director of Photography Michael Kinselle-Perks who gave me fantastic support. The work process for film is very different to photography and a lot more complex. While as a photographer, you can work pretty well as a one-woman-show, the roles in film-making are much more distributed, which I find super. I must say that I was very taken with the whole thing, and I’m already planning the next small film project.