Lotta van Droom is an Ireland-based (Germany-born) photographer whose otherworldly images explore the landscapes of bodies and dreams. Inspired by artists such as Andy Warhol and Francisco de Goya, Lotta’s style is a beautiful mix of surrealism and romanticism. Characterizing her work are unnatural portraits and dream-like scenes, such as a man with hands smothering his face, and a woman with ghostly, skeletal wings and a collection of spherical eyes. Lotta’s nude photographs are similarly unconventional; draped in sheets resembling funeral shrouds, her mysterious subjects twist and struggle against their coverings, like resurrected beings, or butterflies about to erupt from a cocoon. When I asked Lotta how she would identify her style, she explained:
“I think my photographic style is surreal […]. Many of my photos are the result of stories, formed in my mind. They are little excerpts of my thoughts which I try to reflect this way. It’s not important for me to show reality. I want to show my world of fantasy and wishes.”
By not striving to portray the material real-world, Lotta’s goal is to inspire the imagination and trigger alternative perceptions. Her nude photographs, for example, are not about objectified sex and desire, but instead an exploration of the body’s architecture. “The human body is an outstanding construction and it would be sad if nudity is only associated with sexuality,” she writes. “The sheets are a medium to hide the absolute nudity to create an unreal character. The form becomes perfected or alienated, so the bodies look like sculptures.” By obscuring the faces, Lotta allows us to perceive the divine symmetry and strength of the human form.
The surrealist Dreamworld photos likewise stimulate the mind. By altering reality, Lotta uncovers a hidden emotional world that exists inside all of us. Just like the strange and beautiful images we see in our sleep, her photographs encourage subjective interpretation. In “Mitternachtstheater,” for example, some may see a death, while others, a resurrection; the character in “sector absorption” may be seen as frightening, impassive, or melancholic. This is Lotta’s intention, as she explains: “I hope when people look at my work, they could descend into their own dreamworlds.”