Hazy and hypnagogic, Fee-Gloria Grönemeyer turns a dreamy lens on the world
Working from New York, Paris, and currently based in Berlin, the photographer flits between art, portrait and fashion photography with a characteristically dreamy and documentary-style manner.
- Ayla Angelos
- 9 January 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Some of the best decisions are made during a fine flash of adventurousness. But taking the plunge is never really an easy one, especially if it means leaving behind your past career and heading for a completely new direction. That’s what Fee-Gloria Grönemeyer did, anyway.
Hailing from a non-creative background, Fee-Gloria started out by studying finance and marketing and it was during these years that she first picked up a camera and began to photograph her friends on the side. “It wasn’t until after my studies that I decided to give professional photography a try,” Fee-Gloria recalls of the exact moment four years ago. “I think photography was a way for me to express myself, which I felt like I couldn’t do with my business degree.”
Now working from New York, Paris, and currently based in Berlin, the freelance photographer flits between art, portrait and fashion with a characteristically dreamy and documentary-style manner. Despite finding it tricky to describe her own work due to the ever-changing nature and natural evolution of her style, she marks herself as one that’s drawn to the more hypnagogic side of things. “A constant that I always try to push in all my work is a sense of melancholy and surrealism,” she says. “I like staging scenes but also giving them a natural feel during the shoot, achieved by working with my surroundings.” To achieve as such, the location is imperative. Rather than utilising a studio set-up, Fee-Gloria turns to the readily available scenes of a river bank, roof top or sandy desert conveniently situated in an arm’s reach of her.
Fee-Gloria’s roster of clients include that of Interview magazine and Schön, with projects enabling her to travel across the board via Paris and Bangkok. When she’s not shooting or travelling however, most of the work is surprisingly achieved from her bed. “I like to wake up and get started right away; in the morning I usually get everything done that I have to, and the afternoons I use for brainstorming new ideas,” she explains. “When I don’t feel inspired I go out, meet friends or go to museums.” What’s more is that these interactions and day-to-day meanderings are of high importance to Fee-Gloria as a creative. “I think I get very inspired by my travel and the people I meet and work with,” she adds,” and I love architecture – especially Bauhaus – and I try to always find new and interesting locations that I can build into my stories.”
A recent project titled Beauty + Truth sees the photographer embark on an expedition across Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bangkok and Taipei for The September Issues’ latest theme of ‘transparency’. Fee-Gloria was planning to miss the women’s fashion week in order to travel to Asia, so it was suggested she combine her travels with the editorial piece. “The idea was to show a different side of the places I was travelling to while working with local brands, stylists and models in order to stay true to the identity of the location,” she says. The concept for the shoot evolved around the first page of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, a moment where the narrator describes a snake he had drawn – only to hear that the people observing it could only see a hat. This story forms the crux of the editorial, with the team working hard to deliver a piece that forces the viewer to question the notion of beauty and perception.
“I wanted to show the beauty of each of the places and bring out what makes each of them special and unique,” she continues. Soft tones and a hazy aesthetic are lavished throughout this series, with her subjects adorned with pearls, blush, tulle and flowing fabrics covering their faces. When asked of a favoured image, Fee-Gloria responds with difficulty. “I think it’s hard to pinpoint my favourite image because every one I take has a different idea,” she says, “and every person I work with and shoot is special to the story. My favourite images are usually the one’s I haven’t taken yet, or the projects that I’m planning and developing in my mind.” Instead, it’s the process of creation and collaboration that keeps Fee-Gloria’s process alive.