Frankfurt: in the heart of the city.
Frankfurt might or might not need another article praising its hidden advantages and proving how underrated it is as home for creative, internationally successful people. Although repetition for emphasis never hurts. Rather, this is a case for living where your friends and family are, where you feel good, so that you can be most productive in your artistic endeavours. Not in that tortured, miserable sort of way but in a happy, balanced state of mind. It is easy to feel left out when not living in an obvious cultural and creative epicentre such as New York, London or Los Angeles or a laid back home to artists and hipsters like Berlin, Portland or Melbourne. There is much to be said, however, for being able to have it all.
A safe haven, a home base to come back to – because let’s face it, some cities lacking the obvious coolness factor have very cool airports for quick getaways – and the backdrop to building a career that is compatible with life, not vice versa.
Interview with the photographer.
Former model, stylist, self-taught photographer, Korres shop owner – and mum of two – Nada Lottermann was born and raised in Frankfurt and despite brief stunts in other, more fashionable cities such as Paris and Athens, has stayed and, in a less conventional way, built a successful career in this international hub of finance and business.
We speak to the multitasking talent about cameras, roadtrips and her love of the city, where we go on a drive in her stylish old Mercedes-Benz SL and where she introduces us to her favourite spots and close friend and business partner Vanessa Fuentes.
You have already done a lot in the course of your career and don’t like being pinned down, something we have in common. Tell me how you ended up being a photographer.
In a roundabout sort of way, although when I was a young girl, I would already organize photo shoots at home with friends and my younger cousins. I would dress them up and have them pose in front of a wall, just like the real thing. I suppose that was when it all started.
So that was your first attempt at styling too?
Yes, exactly. But back then, I wasn’t planning on a career in photography or styling. When I was 15, I was asked whether I wanted to model. So I did that for ten years, but I never had any great ambition, I saw it more as a sideline. It meant I was already earning my own money at that age which enabled me to do a lot, but I also missed quite a lot of school time. I found it all too tedious. I wanted things to happen quickly. Luckily, my parents were very liberal.
After that, I started up an agency with my boyfriend at the time, a graphic designer, and tried to publish art photographs in magazines. Then we launched our own magazine.
What was it called?
Neue Mode Magazine. It started off as a local project in Frankfurt, then we went national, and at some point we were ready to go international. That was a really great time. At some point I was so involved in this magazine business that I lost interest in standing in front of the camera and travelling so much.
So you began working as a stylist. How did you begin?
I applied to agencies that represent stylists and ended up with Nina Klein in Cologne. I have been with her for almost 16 years now. It was a great way to get started, because they did everything for me, from organizing go-sees to writing invoices and negotiating salaries … I was able to focus on the creative side of things while somebody else managed the business. We could have done with that kind of support with our magazine.
And how did you end up doing photography?
At first, my agent encouraged me to get into art direction but at some point she said, “You really should buy a camera and start shooting.” I just thought “I’ve got no training in photography, I don’t know the first thing about it.” But I had a Polaroid, a SX70, and just started taking lots of photos with it. With a Polaroid, you have to think more before you shoot a picture, you wait for the right moment instead of picking out the perfect image from hundreds later on – I loved that aspect of it.