German visual artist, a photographer documenting, and filmmaker Alexandra Lear integrate analog and digital aspects of her profession to transport the viewer into a world immersed in its captivating narrative. Best known for her photography, Lier’s incredible work has appeared in a variety of print media on the Internet. She has also published her photos in two fine art books and is now working on a third book, titled Metamorphic Vehicles. This latest project is centered around Burning Man’s other amazing and cosmopolitan “metamorphic vehicles”. It collects surreal images of these wonderful machines in one interactive book and house drawing.
With her love for the desert and her fascination with cars and motorcycles, Lier didn’t take long to plunge into this unique and unpredictable world. As a result, I was able to get to know the artists, designers, and engineers behind these amazing machines. Now, Mutant Vehicles stands as a tribute to their incredible work, sharing their artwork and providing a close-up experience for viewers everywhere.
We had the opportunity to chat with Lier and learn more about her latest project, Mutant Vehicles, and her experiences on Burning Man. Read on for an exclusive interview for My Modern Met.
How did you get the idea of transforming vehicles?
I was fascinated by cars and motorcycles even as a kid. You have played with Hot Wheels instead of Barbie dolls. On the one hand, this led me to start using old cars and motorcycles at a young age, and on the other hand, I was interested in auto culture, history, and design. All my artistic projects are based on this passion. Generally speaking, I have been working on my projects for several years. I like to understand and get to know people and culture. I can then incorporate this into my photos or films.
What is the process of bringing your thoughts to life?
Since 2014, I have been working extensively with Mutant Vehicles. I took pictures and got to know the artists. It was important to me that I also visited the artists in their garage to capture where and how the magic happened. There are often years of intense work, a lot of creativity, and a lot of passion in the artwork. It was a must to be well prepared to participate in the Burning Man festivals. On-site, you need to be focused and diligent as well as flexible and spontaneous. Only in this way was it possible to shoot at the chariots in the desert at the perfect moment.
The pictures I’ve taken seem to come from another world – as if they came from some imagination. How did you start capturing this feeling in a single shot and transporting it across the pages of your book?
Most of my photos are directing. The hardest part was convincing the trans-vehicle artists, in such an ever-changing automatic location, to take the vehicle to a specific location for a unique shot. Because only in a specific place and time was it possible to capture a perfect dust cloud, use a flashlight, or capture a specific light. The background is very important. It is preferring that the car park freely anywhere. I try to capture the same moment as I do with an analog camera so minimal post-production is essential. Usually, I adjust the color of the sky and work the details so that the surreal effect is enhancing.
What was the most surprising, exciting, or fulfilling part of the process for you?
I love top gear, deserts, Star Wars, and creative festivals. So combining these unique compounds in the dusty desert with extraordinarily creative people is an almost perfect setting for me. In taking every photo, I was totally dazzling and exciting. The environment and weather in the Black Rock Desert change every moment. I love it when clouds of dust appear out of nowhere and almost surreal change the picture. I have had the opportunity to ride a lot of mutant vehicles – getting to know the people and the stories behind them, and listening to the stories makes my heart soar so much because there is so much energy and creativity in the artifacts. Then the quiet, secluded part of the work happens at my desk. This is quiet, but exciting because, in post-production, each photo gets the special touch it deserves the soft roots.