Welcome to the world of Grete Ulman! Into the dark, mystical, elusive and sensitive. Grete’s photographic footprint is extraordinary, she tells her own story and doesn’t just photograph people/things. That’s how Tanel’s work became a tool that helped to open the door into Grete’s world. And when the eyes started seeing, ghostly scenes stared back…
Photo: Grete Ulman
Please tell us about your background. How did you find your pictorial language? What has influenced you?
I have been creative all my life. I used to draw more, but many years ago I also became attracted to photography and the possibilities related to it. I have always been an experimenter and a curious person at heart. It is not enough for me that the photo is just beautiful. Rather, let it be poetic, strange, ugly or absurd. Creating like this is how handwriting has come into being.
Please describe your work process. How much do you plan/think ahead and how much happens by chance and on the spot?
To some extent, I collect ideas in advance and play different shots in my head. But they are usually a warm-up before I start shooting. For me, the most favourite photos are still created during the activity, through constant experimentation and pushing the boundaries.
Tanel's masks add mystery to Grete Ulman's photos
Tell us about the house where you take pictures...what is your connection with the place? How important is the spirit of a place to you?
This is another project where I can let everything out of myself. Namely, by putting my fantasy into play, I restore a house, and for that, I reuse old materials and old things. Buildings that have been destroyed by time have always been close to my heart, and so is this place. When restoring the house, I want to achieve a result that does not conform to the general rules, but which in its strangeness is still inspiring and memorable.
Do you believe in magic behind the mirror? Into the supernatural, spirits?
I don’t believe that the world consists only of what we can see or touch…
What are you like as a person? How similar are you to the ghosts in your pictures?
When I take photographs, my aim is not to depict the “spirit world”, although it may seem that way. The shadows in my pictures symbolize more the inner world of a person, his struggles, trials, sadness, and joy. I like to capture it all as poetically as possible. As a person, I’ve always been more of an introvert who tends to wander off into my imaginary world in my head.
Tanel's masks and caftans in the idyllic Grete's time-worn building
Photos: Grete Ulman
Please describe your relationship with jewelry ... do you have any accessories with a story and power?
The thing about jewelry is that I like all kinds of beautiful things that can be hung on my body or around my neck, but for some reason I do it very little. Probably the reason is comfortness.
What is your relationship with colors? Both as an artist and as just a woman standing in front of the wardrobe in the morning 🙂
I have loved black most of my life. Only in the next few years have I learned to wear and appreciate colours more, it has been a very exciting process. As an artist, I appreciate blues and greys and I will probably never get over black and white photography!
Photos: Grete Ulman
The kaftans worn by model Meisi Volt are also available in our online store. 🙂