Embarking on a collaborative journey, Vixtoria Salomonsen & Lola van Grootel delve into womanhood, relationships, and challenge societal assumptions through self-portraits, stills, and video work. The serendipitous meeting in 2019 at Lola’s vintage shop sparked a 24-hour photography assignment, laying the foundation for a profound 4-year collaboration that unveils a world of beauty defying stereotypes.
When I started photographing Lola she could barely look at the images, it was so strange to her. But at our last photoshoot I asked her what she takes out of this project and she said: “You taught me to look at myself.”
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: “To Lola, her first real home was her first real love. This relationship was young, and full of passion and dangerous addiction. It took her years of hard decisions to move away from that home. She made the journey by herself; she has invented her lifestyle from scratch. A paradise that fits her and only her in Prins Hendrikstraat in the Hague. A colorful, energetic mess of clothes, glittering pearls, 14 birds flying around, and throbbing techno beats. This story is about love. The love that had to go and the one that exists right here; for people, for animals, for beauty and found objects.”
In August 2019 I had just moved to the Hague and I was out for a walk. I approached a vintage shop – Lola Stola, I could hear music flowing out. Curiously I looked inside and there she was – Lola. In the middle of colorful lights, birds cruising in the air and with an incredible archive of clothes she has collected over the years. I called her that upcoming week to ask if she wanted to spend 24 hours with me for a photography assignment for my school. In those hours she let me in to see so much beauty around her. Beauty as impressive presence and an appearance that defies whatever preassumptions people might have about the look of a woman in her sixties. The 24 hours became the beginning of 4 years of collaboration.
As we started, with me pointing my camera at her in the short film, showing her universe, it felt as if something was missing. We realized that it was our relation that we needed to show, so I started to enter slowly into the images, as Lola started pointing the camera at me. Letting the images become an extension of us, showing our relation that started from the camera.
Through our exchange of photographs, drawings, and texts, a coming-of-age love story seeing beauty, mirroring, and finding a role model in each other is taking shape. Photographed with care and embracing each other’s characters with patience. Lola starts looking at herself, but she is also gazing back, photographing, allowing me to see myself.