photo by Laura Schleder
Pepper Levain was born in Düsseldorf, Germany and spent her youth there as well as in New Zealand and Northern Ireland. Aged 23 she moved to Brighton, UK to study Performance Art and to create experimental stage performances. After four years, back in Germany she went to film and art school in Cologne (KHM) to start writing on a psychedelic essay film. During a long research journey she created a large portfolio of polaroids and 35mm shots mainly taken within the LGBTQIA community – so far in New York, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Paris, London and Berlin – and has not stopped photographing since. Pepper describes the queer nightlife scene as her home and artistic playground. While being an observer and documenter she also creates very own characters to film and photograph. The work’s content opens not only a contemporary dialogue relating to subjects such as gay movement and the meaning of queerness, gender and beauty. It offers a visual landscape that instead of victimizing a subculture, captures a strength and proof of self empowerment of a highly diverse scene, that may be applied to being a symbolical statement for freedom of self expression and an act of social emancipation at all. Pepper currently lives in Berlin where she works as artist and photographer as well as author for several magazines.
words by Omid Tabari