Katja Ruge, what a woman! She definitely deserves a BIG post here on the 20. She is German and so wonderfully represents all of the things that we LOVE. Art & Music and everything that comes along with this. She does it so well that we are lost for words. She follows her dreams and stays true to her art. She has been doing this for a good while now so this is our homage to Katja. (Also known as the Russian Synth Cleaner!) We are very proud to introduce her and her work to you.
Katja Ruge (Camera Visionary & DJ Gansta!)
Your first job?
I worked in a photo lab, then in photo agencies. I started to photograph people in the music industry when I was 19.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the country side near Hamburg but moved into town when I was 17. I was still located in Hamburg but in between I stopped by Manchester and Cologne.
What are you doing now and where would you like to be in 5 years?
I still do photography and love it. I also do commercial work and travel documentaries. I couldn’t imagine my life without a camera. Basically I just wanna keep going as a photographer with the opportunity to work on my special projects such as books, exhibitions and collaborations with great people; musicians, visual artists and so on…
How come you’re so creative?
Actually I knew very early that I wanted do something creative. I always lived in my own world, listening to music with headphones while my parents watched tv. I used to do horse riding when I was younger and would always ride with the soundtrack I taped from the radio or from my mum`s old records. Today my favorite is the autobahn between Hamburg and Berlin, perfect route for a creative music ride… ! Music and pictures (no matter what it is) just work very good together. It fascinates me because it creates a unique space. When I take pictures I get inspired a lot from the locations I work in. This can be a nasty wall with a grey sky. But then the light falls into it, the person gets into the picture and I try to get everything together. This is a wonderful process.
How did you first discover house music?
I always liked beat driven music something to dance to, uplifting sounds. Actually it came a lot from the soul all nighters I’ve been to when I was around 16-17, driving my scooter around Germany with my gang at the time. Spinning all the classic northern soul stuff but also played tracks like Greg Perry`s – It takes heart, which is very disco. Then I ended up in Miami. Holiday with my parents, I got sick there and while spending time in bed I listened with my Walkman to the radio. The recording function was the key, at night they played house music and I taped it. I still have the tape… Back in Hamburg I wanted to know where they play this type of music and I ended up at the club The front. It`s a legendary, it was gay, dark, sexy, hot, metal. I can`t start to explain how many magical music moments I had there. It wasn’t very important to know who did the song, but house music was much more mysterious to me that time. Today we play some of that music at our Lovegang party`s in Hamburg and I still can`t get enough of that!
Play it forward! Please pick a track and tell us why you choose just this.
Of course a difficult one…I have chosen my first love, the Human League song Sound of the Crowd, I had to order the album Dare! and wait for weeks. I was 11 years then and still love the album to death and really hope they make a new great record on Wall of Sound this year.
Human League - Sound of the Crowd
Please tell us about the art work you have chosen and why you have chosen just this.
I decided to give you the photo of Tony Wilson from my book Fotoreportage23-in search of Ian Curtis. He`s a legend, one of the great people in music history and I still can`t believe he died during the making of the book a few years ago. I still feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to photograph him twice. This year it`s the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis death. A little morbid maybe, but we just cant thank him and his band enough. So many people got inspired by them and they still do.
I´m having an exhibition in Hamburg with the book from the 18/5 – 6/6 at Gallery Kulturreich, please people come along! Stay tuned for more information, there will be some great stuff going on during the exhibition.
Check out more of Katjas work and projects here :