Interview with Sandra Minten

I allow myself to be enriched by the other and try to understand my own life and history this way.”

“You can’t just look around for a bit and make a choice and look where you would go, you have sunk into life up to your neck, at least I am.”
– Nuns and soldiers by Iris Murdoch.

I am a storyteller who uses both still and moving images as well as text. I like to make long-term engagements with my subjects, immerse myself in their lives and explore the space the main characters occupy in life and how everyone within their respective spaces tries to make the best of it. What does it mean to be autonomous, to be absorbed into those spaces with rules, relationships and obligations, while determining your own life? I photograph with an unsentimental, loving eye. There is no softness for the sake of softness when it comes to love. In fact, love is truth; defining boundaries, accepting where the pain is, and understanding the incomprehensible. I allow myself to be enriched by the other and try to understand my own life and history this way.

Can you say something about the editing of your book?

Ever since the beginning of this story photographer and mentor Nicole Segers has been on my side. We shared so many thoughts that is was only logical she was involved in editing this story. Together with Ellen Sanders, editor and photography coach the three of us made the final edit. Designer Suze Swarte did the book design. The four of us worked together perfectly.

Can you find 3 words that describe what your book is about?

Family – choice – love

Knowing that every detail is important, could you mention some technical detail that was of special importance for the realization of the final product?

Right from the start, two things were very important to me: the black and white photographs had to be printed perfectly and in order to be able to take a good look at the photo’s the book had to open very well. Besides that, I am very happy with the varnish covering the prints of the polaroids. This way you get close to the feel of an original. The book cover material has been an issue until the very last moment. Touching a book, the first encounter with the subject and story, conveys a first feeling. The dummy’s book cover hit me with a cold feeling, which was not what I had in mind. I left no stone unturned and found a solution in a soft touch layer for the cover. This evoked a warm skin-like feeling, exactly the way I wanted to lead the viewer into the book. I desired to drag the audience into the story and bring them as close as possible to my subjects, so close you can feel and almost touch them.

What did you enjoy most about making this book?

To go from single photos to a book in a few steps is something magical. With every step you take, and with the skillfulness of various experts, your work is lifted into a wonderful product; a book to be experienced with all senses, a book to be browsed through at one’s own pace and in any order one prefers, time after time. I find that very special.


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