I feel like Leeloo
Joanna legid or joanna catherine schröder is a fashion photographer based in berlin. Joanna was born in rwanda, grew up in burkina faso, studied in paris and today lives and creates in berlin still keeping the love for traveling, enjoying nature and especially volcanos. Her passion is shooting on analog cameras, casting the right personality for the project that enables to create soft portraits with a fierce and honest aspect to the person captured. Joanna’s works reveal something beyond the physical body, the cultural and authentic element of the inner beauty shining through by the medium of fashion. Conscious about the surrounding element joanna is currently working on her mutual project with anna baur heart work.
We speak about developing your own style, keeping an individual touch while working on commercial projects, developing a connection with the casted talent, music, humanity, and the fifth element. As joanna finishes the sentence, summarizing the main goal, “we have to be more… woke, soft, vulnerable, loving.”
"I seem like an extrovert, but I’m pretty much an introvert. A curious introvert. Which is a contradiction in itself right? The camera is my shield."
Hi Joanna, tell about yourself and how is it to live and enjoy so far away places like Rwanda and Berlin.
Hey, I didn’t really get to enjoy Rwanda. I was born there and lived there for the first five years of my life. I grew up in Burkina Faso, which was the best childhood I could have had. When I turned 12, we moved to Freiburg, Germany and it was kind of a cultural shock! I lived there for six years and then moved to Paris to study.
BERLIN ALSO WASN'T LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. I WAS LIVING IN PARIS AND CAME HERE FOR AN ERASMUS YEAR. IT WAS WINTER, -20°, I HAD NO FRIENDS, AND IT WAS REALLY HARD TO START A LIFE. BUT THEN SUMMER CAME, AND THE CITY CHANGED COMPLETELY. I FELT IT ALL, I FELT FREE. LIKE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, AND IT’S BECAUSE OF THIS FEELING THAT I DECIDED TO STAY.
How did you develop your style a part of which is also a decision to photograph on analog?
Mmm. I guess it’s by trusting my intuition. I like working with people I know and people I don’t know but when I feel a connection. Even for commercial jobs, I like and need to have a certain intimacy, exchange with my models. This connection, this is what people see in the result. I like to show people in a vulnerable way somehow. It took a while.
First, I would photograph my friends because obviously, I trust them. Going out there and photographing strangers was a challenge at first. I seem like an extrovert, but I’m pretty much an introvert. A curious introvert. Which is a contradiction in itself right? The camera is my shield. It allows me to approach people and touch their soul without having to talk.
Tell about HEART WORK platform your mutual project with Anna Baur. How did you meet and where this idea came from?
HEART WORK is launching in May/June. We’ve been working on this project for two years now, and we are almost ready to go.
It’s quite exciting. I met Anna (literally my partner in crime) in Hamburg where I was working for a magazine. She was my boss. Then we went on a holiday together in April 2016, and I remember that moment when we were walking near Belém in Lissabon, and we talked about the future and realised, we could do something together. One year later we both quit our jobs, moved back to Berlin, took our chance and are working since then on this “something” which is taking shape more and more.
It’s a process…but we are almost there!
What inspires you for the new photoshoots? Is it daily life, fashion magazines, dreams, conversations?
Music… I never really realised it until lately. Music is everything to me... I can cry sometimes in the U-Bahn or at random places because I feel it all. Also, I have a very visual memory. So sometimes I’m also just inspired by things I see, light, people, images on Instagram, movies, conversations, etc.
"I FEEL LIKE LEELOO IN THE FIFTH ELEMENT WHO IS READING ABOUT THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY AND ENDS UP CRYING AND NOT UNDERSTANDING, WHY SHE SHOULD SAVE HUMANITY".
What is the topic or narrative that is important for you but you haven’t yet had a chance to address with your works?
Climate change? Lol.
No actually I think... considering my photography is in a way me, my therapy, the topic would be something addressing humanity. Somehow I seem to read a lot about all kind of phenomenons (I’m talking about real fucked up shit), and I can’t find a way to process it... It’s like those images are stuck in my head, maybe childhood memories too, traumatic experiences, images I’ve seen in the news (war, the refugee crisis, violence against women and queer people, etc.). I feel like Leeloo in The Fifth Element who is reading about the history of humanity and ends up crying and not understanding, why she should save humanity.
That’s the feeling. That’s the feeling I need to put into my work. How do we save humanity from itself?
How do you stay true to your ideas and motivation when shooting a commercial project?
Through casting. That’s really my only and main condition, I choose who I work with/photograph. So I keep the intimacy and trust and thus the authentic result.
Your portraits are truthful and honest. Who was the talent you feel you had the best communication with on a personal level of understanding that showed in the images?
Hard to say, when I think about it I have a connection/exchange with everyone I shot. With women obviously, it’s a bit easier. I feel like I shoot women who are a kind of reflection of myself in a way and from whom I can learn a lot while shooting them. So my mom, my sister, my friends but also all kind of women I see on Instagram or meet in real life and feel that they could inspire, challenge me. Make me grow. Last Monday I shot with a guy, and the connection was insane! We went out on Tempelhofer Feld and had so much fun shooting. So... it’s really just a vibe thing.
I’m so looking forward to seeing the result (waiting impatiently for the negatives to be developed).
Complete the sentence, ‘we have to be more..’
woke, soft, vulnerable, loving.
You have a post on Instagram with Sade, I guess we share love for this artist. What’s your favorite song of hers?
But I’m also REALLY obsessed with Solange. Everything about her. Her visuals, her voice, her aesthetics.
You’re shooting outdoors and inside, sometimes combining location in editorial sets. What do you prefer and why?
Definitely outside. Why? Because the inner child in me just loves to play outside ;)
I also have nature around me. In Rwanda, in Burkina and even in Freiburg (the black forest). I spent all my childhood outside and living in the city makes me depressed when I spend too much inside. I NEED to go out. So yeah, this also plays a role in my photography. I need nature around me, the sunlight. When I don’t have a choice, I shoot inside, but with extra stuff to play around with!
Tell about your travels? What was the most fascinating adventure or event you can share from one of the journies?
I guess going back to Rwanda with my brother in 2013. I joined him there, we travelled all the way to the north, the volcano region and my birthplace to visit my grandparents and spend a few weeks in Kigali.
It was… really intense in a good way. I flew back with an open wound in my hand, but the memory is now part of me.
Also, Tenerife with my ex-boyfriend. I’m obsessed with volcanoes, and we took a car and drive to the top of the Teide Volcano. It was sunset, and it was mind-blowing, I can’t even describe the feeling. It looked like mars. Like you are not on earth… it was insane. I had to shout out loud because I couldn’t take all that amazing energy.
And my film was full, and I will regret this forever.
What next in 2019?
More HEART WORK and hopefully some next level shit :)
I just keep on doing what I do, and the rest will follow.