In 1991 Sven Hagolani moved to the newly reunited Berlin and studied photography at Lette Verein. Today Sven choreographs his own scenes. The world in his portfolio is reminiscent of cut diamond, offering refuge to multi-layered characters and bizarre landscapes. Sven awakens intuitive space in complex presentations and, with humorous serenity, creates lively imagery.
Ask: You are said to be the right guy for complicated or technically demanding images. Why is that? Sven: I am a tinkerer, on set and at the computer. I started with photography long before digital cameras and Photoshop were around, and I’ve been working with Photoshop ever since it was launched. I know quite well how to photograph something in order to speed up the work at the computer later on. Ask: In one of your pieces you morphed three male faces. How did you come up with this idea? What was difficult about it? Sven: Anyone who knows the band and has seen them live will understand why I morphed them. After I had decided on the individuals’ parts for the shared head, the collage was finished quickly. Ask: Do you normally convince your clients when you think an image should look different or do you give in and think “Ok, let’s do it your way. The client is always right“. Sven: If I think an image should differ from the client’s brief, I might not have fully understood his idea. I will then ask my client to talk me through the concept once more. This helps eliminate ambiguities. Sometimes new ideas for an image will evolve as well. From time to time, my clients give me complete freedom in the development of the concept and its realisation. Swatch and G-Shock, for instance, let me decide on the photos and the layout for magazine double spread adverts. The band Ohrbooten and their label JKP adopted my concept for images for the album “Babylon bei Boot” and the fashion designer at 3000 gave me a carte blanche for their campaign. Ask: Where do your visual influences come from? Anything in particular? Is there anyone you’d like to work with? Sven: I am fascinated by films, amongst others those by Charlie Chaplin, Federico Fellini and Peter Greenaway. I could watch their films image by image at a time. They are immensely rich in ideas, unconventional characters and brilliant choreography. Very inspiring. I might work with Fellini – sadly not in this world. I could, however, see myself accompanying Angela Merkel during her next election campaign, portraying Marianne Sägebrecht for the magazine Interview, designing Lady Gaga’s new album cover, shooting a Nike campaign with Dirk Nowitzki or staging scenes from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with children. Ask: You lived in Japan for a long time. What do you find fascinating about the country? Do you enjoy travelling there? Sven: Well, “for a long time” is a bit of an exaggeration. In the past ten years, I visited several times for one to two months at a time. I do have a special bond with Japan though. I was married to a Japanese lady and my son is half Japanese. On a rational basis, the Japanese culture seems incomprehensible. Just when you think you understood something, you are faced with five new questions. The Japanese, by the way, feel exactly the same about their own culture; they just don’t wrack their brains over it. They smile wisely and at the same time are so wonderfully superstitious. I like that. I like being in Japan. I have a lot of friends there and a reliable team I like working with. Ask: What’s your trademark? Sven: My name. Ask: What makes you happy? Sven: Serenity. Ask: Thanks a lot for the interview, Sven!