Sunday, 28 August 2011

Cristina Altieri

Cristina Altieri
Milan, Italy

When looking through your latest projects, it seems that you are fascinated with the female body. What do you find most aesthetic about it?

I don’t think that it’s a matter of aesthetics. My point of view starts from a more intimate approach. I try to create a connection between my inner world and those of the people I portray, so that they can recognize themselves through my eyes and - at the same time - I can satisfy my need of expressing what I feel. I try to capture the story of an emotion in a particular instant. Bodies became a sort of shell of a more spiritual side of us, which needs to be seen through in order to find the essence beyond the appearance. It’s easier for me to do it with girls because their feelings are so familiar and well-known to me.

Do you have any plans or projects in mind involving male models? If so, what are you thinking of?

I’m thinking about it very often lately. I’m very fascinated by the ‘male universe’. Because, to me, it’s like a land to explore anew every time I meet someone new. It never stops to surprise me. So I’m planning to take some pictures that will show what I see in them, and not what I feel through them.

On a theoretical basis: are you more interested in embedding symbols and messages into your work, or do you want to portray things and people 'as they are'?

First one. But it’s not a choice. It’s just my way. Even if, as I told in the previous answer, I’m going to try to experience something different.

Where do you think does your interest in photography or visual arts in general come from?

It comes from my research of answers and consciousness first - and from a need to manage all the light and the darkness that surround me as well.

And are there any other art forms that you are engaging in?

Music. I can’t live without it.

If you could choose a gallery or simply a place (this could be anywhere!) for your first exhibition, where would it be and why?

I’ve already had the chance to arrange a personal exhibition in Bologna. But on a theoretical basis I’d love to have the next one in Milano. Everything has started from here and with the people there. It would be my way to say thanks.

When you're working, do you follow emotional or rational choices more often?

Rational ones until that moment when I look through the lens. From that moment on, it’s not easy to explain, but I start to look at things differently and it is completely emotional.

Would you label your engagement in photography as 'work' at all? If not, how do you see it?

Not at all. At the moment photography is my great escape.

As far as I am concerned, good food makes the world go round. Do you enjoy going to restaurant serving elegant, small portions of delicatessen, or do you prefer restaurants with good tasting food of proper portions?

I prefer quality to quantity. This is one of the major leitmotifs in my life.

What is time to you?

A Gift.

Female insights. Take a look at her work!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Nicholas Lynch

Nicholas Lynch
London, UK

I seem to always ask what initially made photographers want to become the artists that they are. Let me ask you: What actually makes you keep doing what you're doing?

Partially habit, for sure. If you always have a camera around, you can't really help but use it, you know? But also, I'm interested to see what I can create and what images I can find and capture. It's exciting going to new places and even new parts of town and exploring. It's the same feeling I had when I was a little kid, running around in the forest behind my house, touching, smelling and looking at everything. I approach photography the same sort of way.

Has a photograph ever really 'hypnotized' you? Which was it and why did you like it?

I'm not sure about one single photograph but there are certain photographers whose work usually hypnotizes me. Tillmans, Eggleston, Engstrom, Templeton, Shore, Paul Graham, Tim Barber, Alec Soth, Larry Clark, the list goes on. All of these people take pictures that just stop me in my tracks. Culturally, we're so overloaded with images that it's very easy just to breeze past a photograph, even a half decent one. But with those artists, there work always seems to make me stop and think, all for different reasons. With Larry Clark, it's the honesty and with Templeton, it's the way he makes you feel that you've experienced what's in the picture. Etc. Etc.

Would you generally say that the art says a lot about the artist? How is it with you?

Of course, I think that you can't help but put a bit of yourself into your work, even if you try not to. But, I like when artwork has a sort of visual signature on it though, where you can tell who made it. I think it adds to the authenticity.

Have you always been living in London?

I've lived in London for the past year now, before that I was in Copenhagen for 4 months and then New York City, where I'm originally from.

If you were to guide an 'art tour' through the city, which places would be on top of your must-see-list?

In London: The Whitechapel Gallery usually has something good going on. The New Gallery in Peckham, ICA, Beach London, Claire de Rouen bookstore on Charing Cross Road is fantasic for photo books. There are some nice tiny galleries in Deptford like The Old Police Station. Magma, X Marks the Bokship, & Donlon are all really interesting shops as well.

Something in art that you feel is being overrated?

Irony. I like irony though, really, its just that its just becoming played out. I just find it a bit boring to be honest. I think people mistake pictures that are ironic and perhaps funny or clever for being automatically good photographs & that's not really true.

Which camera(s) do you use most often?

Right now, I'm using my girlfriend's old Canon Prima Mini point and shoot. I also have a Kodak S100, Nikon FE, a Olympus Trip, and a super old Ilford medium format. But I'm not loyal at all; I'll use any camera. The simpler, the better though.

Which words/adjectives would you like to see connected to your artistic work?

Whatever words the pictures conjure up, I guess. It would be nice to hear words like 'intriguing' or 'resonant' or 'powerful' but I don't have any control over what people feel, you know? So all I can do is show them my work and hopefully they enjoy it for their own very unique reason.

Is there anything you really have no interest in photographing?

I'll pretty much take pictures of anything. I'm not huge on photos of graffiti, or kids holding guns, or things like that. It's not that I don't like those things; it's more that it just doesn't interest me in that sort of way.

And anything, anyplace or anyone you could take pictures over and over again?

I can take pictures of my girlfriend Tine (who is a much better photographer then me) all day and every day. If I'm standing in a room and she's in it, I always just end up taking shots of her. I can't help it.

The new age. Take a look at his work!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Elena Ayllon

Elena Ayllon
Madrid, Spain

At what age did you start taking photographs? What lit your interest back then?

I started to think about photography when I discovered that life seems more beautiful when I look through my camera.

Nature and outdoor photography seems to be one of your major interests. What is it that you like particularly about these themes?

There are so many colours out there…

You have a portrait series called "New Generation". What is the idea behind this project?

I like freethinkers; the “New Generation” comes from the idea of a new youth, strong and full of culture.

Also, is there any particular reason you decided to shoot the portraits in black and white?

I just really felt it that way in that moment.

Although you have a particular set that is titled "Les reveurs", I felt that much of your work embodies a certain notion of dreaminess. Would you agree?

Life should be full of “reveurs”.

How did the connection of Tokyo and Madrid come into place?

I spent all my childhood in Tokyo and grew up as an adult in Madrid.

Would you say that being connected to two different cities shows in your artistic work?

I have a Japanese heart but a European vision.

When summer ends, do you mostly feel sad or ready for a new beginning/season?

I love the changing of the seasons, I always feel ready for a new beginning.

Dreaming through the lens. Take a look at her work!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Jörn Schirok

Jörn Schirok
Berlin, Germany

You only shoot on film, and don't edit your pictures. Why is that?

One day, I had my father’s old analogue cameras in my hands and these machines just fascinated me. I was already experimenting a little with digital photography, but it didn't captivate me as much. I remember that after using analogue cameras for a while, my good friends bought a "real" DSLR. I thought this would be our breakthrough. Take one picture with all the different apertures and exposure times. But we didn't like the style of the pictures. I just love old things, I love the "click" when I press the shutter and I love to wait for the development of the films. I know that you can make up the old style on Photoshop. But I never liked to work with the computer and to sit there using all the small buttons and making adjustments. I know that editing can be a very beautiful part of the creative process of producing a picture, but eventually, for me these pictures are not "real". This opinion is connected to the documentary style of my pictures, too. When I take a picture of a sunset and somebody tells me what a great sunset this was I don't want to tell him that I just made it up on the computer.

Streaming through the work on your blog, the viewer is traveling to some far away places it seems. Which probably is the picture taken the farthest away from the place you actually live in?

I always liked to travel and I furthermore already lived two times for one year within a totally different culture. So I spend year in Uruguay in in school and took some pictures there, too. But it was all with a digital camera from Aldi (one of the cheapest supermarkets in Germany). On the blog you'll also find pictures from my social service year in Jerusalem.

You're living in Berlin. Do you consider it a 'city of art(ists)'? Do you think that living there has an effect on your work as an artist?

It is a city with loads of artist, that's a fact. Living space is (still) cheap, so young people can afford to not work, but to just live with their parents’ support and to put some colour on some random material. But Berlin is the city of flagpole collectors, too. I mean you can find almost everything here, since it's a big city. But I just experienced something which I think wouldn't have happened to me in another German city. I went to a random coffee shop nearby to ask if they want to exhibit some of my works. This is something quite common here. In this café, they don't only exhibit pictures. There are also works of an Australian artist and another artist showing his work there is from France. They are organizing und curating whole exhibitions with vernissages. I think this is really great! 

You seem to be more of a spontaneous photographer. What is it that catches your eye in specific?

Smooth light in general, especially sunlight in the early evenings or mornings. In the northwest of Germany, where I come from, the wind always comes from the west, where the sea is. So it pushes in clouds all year long. I lived under this grey cheese cover for so long. I fall in love with sunlight every time I see it!

Also one gets the notion that in general you seem to be more interested in showing situations rather than specific people of things. Would you agree?

I think this is because I mostly take pictures when I'm in a specific situation that I consider interesting. All these pictures in which you only see a person (certainly always only handsome people) might be beautiful, but not interesting at all.

If you could plan a trip for the sole purpose of taking pictures, where would you probably go?

The Moon! No, seriously, the whole life is a trip. That is the way I see it. I'm on a trip and take the camera with me.

Are you more often disappointed or more frequently simply surprised if a film turns out to be completely different than you had expected it to be?

There are very few positive surprises, much more negative ones. Looking through your recently developed films can be very frustrating. Maybe around 10% of the pictures I take actually appear on my blog. And this is, I think, a very high rate. Ask people with digital cameras. It's a little about shooting as much as possible.

Life's a trip. Take a look at his work!