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INTO MIDLANDS - Amira Fritz
A Possible Journey from Shanghai to Paris
WORDS BY RAPHAËLLE STOPIN
Exploring the territories you pass through, letting yourself be penetrated by what they bear. Dropping all your plans to follow the road from Shanghai to Paris—on foot, by car, by train, whatever, as long as the land remains within reach of experience, in the eye and in the flesh.
Amira Fritz makes no exception to the route she has set herself. With her at all times—for daytime shoots, at night around the fire—a team, in the full sense: a stylist, a set designer, and a hairdresser, all willing to share the two-month voyage she has set out on.
Shanghai offers its sweltering heat, Beijing its suffocating smog, Mongolia its polar nights, hot springs and bare landscapes; Russia, after Lake Baikal, a foretaste of the West; and finally Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, with their familiar faces, gradually overcoming the silence of the steppe. In their luggage, twenty years of work from Lin Li’s label JNBY. Successive collections of minimalist clothing, streamlined styles and fabrics form a timeless wardrobe—variations on a theme.
The photographer trusts the land to give them substance. All she brings along with her is her analog 6x7 camera and her suitcase. The scenery does the rest: no professional models, only chance meetings in villages they pass through. The faces of strangers, attracted by the seemingly lost band of Europeans. To bear witness of the experience, however, no documentary image exists. We are to know nothing of these people, or their lives. No artefact in the image, apart from the clothes themselves. Only their faces, bodies, expressions—and woodland, striped tree barks, green moss, red soil and the sun that rises and sets.
Amira Fritz embarked on a photographic mission with fashion in her bags and romance in her head. From these other, distant places, experienced in the flesh, she has returned with evanescent images steeped in fantastical fog, and that’s precisely where her path joins ours.