In some way my whole childhood memory exists in these images, of semi-staged moments where Marilène, my mother, was the photographer who handled the scenery and the lighting and where I had all freedom to be any character I wanted to be. An analog series by memymom.
Who are you?
We are mother (Marilène Coolens) and daughter (Lisa De Boeck), a Belgian based photography duo. Short: memymom.
What inspires your art?
Mainly intuition. If you don’t follow that, you don’t get the right inspiration. It’s your intuition that guides you towards the right people to work with and whom inspires your art. Also our freedom and unconventionality as ‘autodidacts’ and the capability of creating stories and actually live in them.
Can you tell us more about “Hangover from the past”?
My mother always made sure that I was expressing myself as a child, she made me dance, dress up and invent my own kind of plays. So our collaboration was not really a choice, it was a natural thing that just happened and luckily continues up till now. In some way my whole childhood memories exists in these images, of semi-staged moments where Marilène, my mother, was the photographer who handled the scenery and the lighting and where I had all freedom to be any character I wanted to be (an old woman when I was 9 years old, Cat Woman with a self made suite, an arrogant prostitute with a wig, playing dead in my favorite pink dress, using ketchup as fake blood for the shower shoots…). We had our amusement and exercise back then and we are still doing it…
But the essence of our nowadays work can be found in this hangover from the past. We named it ‘The analog archives’ and it counts over ten years of images that are rough and honest with all their imperfections. For example, my mom’s toes visible in some images, my real hair appearing from underneath the wig etc. These details are what make these images pretty unique.
This is an old film project, do you still use analog cameras?
Since we entered the digital era, we quickly started working with new cameras and experimenting with post-production. So this project actually represents the first decade of ‘memymom’ which was completely analog. We just softly evolved along with the technology.
Something we can’t forget from our ‘analog’ days was developing the film rolls in a supermarket near our house. The excitement that grew whilst waiting for a week or so to see the result of our shoots, what a thrill…
You are an unusual team, mother and daughter, do you love each other?
A rhetorical question in our case. We often hear people acting weirdly or surprised when they figure out we’re not only mother/daughter but also colleagues, they always say: “I love my mother, but working with her, that’s a whole different thing”.
While for us it’s one of the easiest thing to do. We trust each other, we both know in which direction we’re going. There’s a beautiful ‘clash’ between two different personalities that get along just fine.
The thing is, that we are work alone, doing all ourselves (styling, photography, light, scenery, models, post-production) and this intimate and stubborn way creates our images. It’s a specific personal atmosphere that we both love and that we are not willing to change.
What about future projects?
A series still in progress called ‘Whodunnit’ (a never-ending Modern greek tragedy where I play all the characters), that also indirectly emphasises our ‘collaboration’ of the past. Then we have ‘Nunsense’, another series that reminds of some atmospheres of the ‘hangover from the past’, with the imaginary life of two cloistered nuns (with photographer Julie Scheurweghs and dancer Sabine Molenaar in the role of the ‘nuns’) of which we recently released a preview online but it’s still a work in progress.
So much more actually… maybe also a book of ‘The analog archives’ and afterwards ‘The Digital Decade’ by memymom?