Interview | Michael McCluskey

American photographer, Michael McCluskey, captures some of the most transcendental scenes that I’ve ever seen. They’re stunning; however, simultaneously, they make me feel sick to my stomach. They make me question a lot of things I’ve seen in my own life, reminding me of emotional and traumatic experiences. I desperately wanted to find out why McCluskey’s images made me feel this way. 

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Your work really grasps me and somehow forces me to reminisce about things I've seen in my own life, almost like I've lived in the scenes of your photos.  Do you hope your audience places themselves in the images you're capturing?

I like to create images that feel familiar, or sometimes maybe slightly nostalgic.  One way that I do this is by using subject matter that viewers can relate to.  It creates a connection between the image and the viewer by drawing a line between the subject matter and the viewer's own history. 

When I look at your photos, there's such a mesmerising, trance like quality, but they also seem to give me a sick feeling in my stomach.  Do you intend for the viewer to feel the same way when they see your work? 

I think that spaces and objects can sometimes take on the energies of the people that interact with and inhabit them.  This is a part of the reason that I like photographing old places and things. There's a lot of history there.  Both good and bad.  Conflict is at the centre of every story. 

What is the subject matter behind the majority of the photographs?  I can't help but feel that the scenes portray something dark, like a brutal event has taken place in something. 

I have an appreciation for both the light and the dark. You can't have one without the other because they exist in parallel to each other. I think that by including two strong elements that exist in opposition to each other in a single work, a sort of pleasing dissonance can occur between the the two.

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Is there a type of trauma paired with the places in the images; to yourself or another person? 

Not directly, no.  But if you mean, have I experienced trauma personally and has that affected how I approach my work and what I choose to photograph then, yes, definitely.  But I'd prefer not to go into any detail about that now. 

There are a lot of houses and cars in the pictures.  Do you have any affiliation to the locations or objects? 

I don't have any affiliation to most of the locations or objects in my images.  I spend a lot of time walking and driving around looking for things and scenes that catch my interest.  I've been busted trespassing a few times by cops, neighbours, property owners, etc.  Sometimes people get really weirded out when they see me lurking around their neighbourhood (understandably). 

Do you have any sort of relationship to the people in your photographs? 

Yes and no.  Some of the people in my photos are people that just happened to walk into frame. Which can be a very organic and magical moment to capture. For the others, they are family and friends that I make stand in for photos (haha).  Lately, mostly my roommate, Tomek. He's a good sport. 

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Why do you usually photograph at night, or when the daylight is bleak? 

When I was a kid, every night my mother would tuck me in and pray with me before bed.  When she would turn my bedroom light off I would sometimes think that I could see things moving in the shadows. It was my eyes playing tricks on me.  Sometimes I like to leave some room in my images for my audience to fill in the blanks with their own imaginations.  

Finally, is there a particular camera / film that you enjoy using? 

So far I've only owned two camera bodies. Both DSLRs.  I started with a Nikon D3300, and recently upgraded to a Nikon D750. I've only been shooting for three years.  Right now I'm saving money for a medium format camera.
 

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Hopeful Dove

With great relief, the most bittersweet year of my life has come to a close. Death has stolen away three souls before I was ready to let them go, all within an unnaturally confined span of time.

The most painful was the loss of my mother five days after my wedding. By some miracle, despite the mess of cancer breeding in her abdomen, she left the hospital to be at the ceremony. She (and my father) walked me down the aisle. She sat there watching. Beaming. And when we were pronounced husband and wife, she noticed a white dove take flight from behind our wedding arch. Magic.

Since her passing, these winged messengers seem to find me in the most unexpected places. Jewelry. Sitting atop my car.  Nesting in my backyard. I am haunted, though I welcome the ghosts. 

This past year has left me lost. I carry a heavy heart and a soul in need of a good shine. Hopeful Dove is about the beginning of a journey back to myself.  It is about freeing one's soul from the weight of grief and pain. Most importantly, it is about holding onto hope.

I have not seen my soul, but
I often hear it thrashing about.
Beating wings, against
The pull of a heavy heart.
No drift of wind, to unwilt the
Color of expired breaths;
How dusty I’ve become.
Tempered. Grey. Ash –
They’ve burned it all, but
I was she who lit the match.
It’s time.
It’s time.
Unwrap this silken flesh;
Let it all spill out. Elixir
Of brine and bone. And
Me. Perching. Hopeful
Dove; unclipped.
Have I forgotten how to fly?
It will appear, like faith.
Alight, stretching into day.

 

 by Sella Molone

by Sella Molone


Banner image by Emily Looman.

Sarah Stichter lives in South Florida with her husband. She works as a speech language pathologist teaching children with autism how to communicate. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry characterized by evocative imagery and a touch of darkness. 

Guest Post | Roeg Cohen

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(curated from the past)

 

I found this set of prints 45 years after my father took the pictures from his hospital bed. They would have been taken in the last month of his life.

It’s possible he never saw them, or even expected to see them. I could create a narrative in which he took them for me to find…They feel presciently relevant.

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Roeg Cohen is a photographer based in New York.

Alexander Leistiko | Ævi

Alexander Leistiko is a British-Danish artist and photographer, raised in England and currently based in Denmark. His self-portrait series, Ævi, is an ongoing exploration into both individual and cultural notions of the self and how these are moulded and shaped by our differing natural environments. 

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"Ævi is an ongoing self portrait series which I started in early 2015. Translated from Old Norse, Ævi means something close to “life”, “lifetime” or “biography”. Partly performative, partly meditative, the images can be described as performances for camera, wherein the ritualistic process of creating the image - finding locations, preparing and positioning myself within them - is as important as the photographic result.

The series combines photographic interests in landscapes and the body with an underlying belief that the psyche of individuals (and, indeed, of cultures) is affected by the idiosyncrasies of the natural world surrounding them. In this sense, the series can be read as a psychogeographical diary, charting places of note throughout changing landscapes, both internal and external.

They change because I move. From country to country. From country to city. From day to day or from person to person. The allure of self-portraiture has been, for me, its ability to function as a journal. The individual images are about many things; each specific to the time they were made, but with some common themes. They are taken across several years and several countries. Throughout them all, as in the majority of my work and life, is a desire to understand the impact of my cultural identities on my idea of self.”

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Interview | Edie Sunday

 It’s all self-discovery. It’s years of being too afraid to really live life, and then a sudden explosion of a desire to exist and to feel my presence on this earth. I never know who I am but I do know that I am always searching for some sense of that ephemeral thing we call purpose.
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Edie Sunday is a young, talented American photographer. Through her photographs, she takes the viewer on a wonderful journey through her intimate and personal vision of the dreamy and surrealistic. I had the opportunity to travel through her work, her stunning self-portraits and extraordinary landscapes. Read on to find out more.

Your colourful photos are snapshots of a secret world which appears far away, dreamlike, surreal and sensual. There are no urban, geographical or temporal references. The only recognisable temporal reference is in the colour of your hair that changes, along with the moods of the subjects in your photos.

How did you get to this photographic abstraction?

To be perfectly honest I haven’t ever thought too much about it. It’s natural in a sense because I do not like anything urban or modern. I learned to compose photos that cut out objects or references to the time and place, even of any reality at all. The time and place were never important; it was just what I saw in my mind. So those things—the references, didn’t belong. The photos I make are more representations of the inside of my mind, if that makes any sense whatsoever. 

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Your self-portraits are astounding. You have a great screen presence. Your gaze is both the inquisitor and the investigated, it stares straight out at the viewer. Your self-portraits don’t speak about an action, but about feelings. They freeze the emotion. They are reflected in your look, your eyes, your face, your hair, your hands, in your whole body, lasting only a moment.

How important are your self-portraits in your artwork?

Self-portraits, for some years now, have been the most important part of my work because it’s the only thing I do aside from photos of the sky out of the window of the car or the occasional paid job. I used to take photos of other people but there were very few people I connected with on a level that made it feel right. The people I started all of this with—we’re all scattered across the world now, pursuing our dreams and what not. So at a certain point I was left with only myself as subject. I did it out of necessity, but it became a catharsis and an important part of my life. I only make self-portraits under certain circumstances—typically emotional ones. Finally I realized that I made the work that felt the truest to me with myself as subject. I have no desire to photograph others now—unless they are friends and family that I love, or if it’s for work. I am the beginning middle and end of my process, and in that way it has become even more important to me. 

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You appear to photograph mostly women. Female beauty is told by small, tiny gestures. A feminine world of sensuality. You say without saying. Just hints. You tell pieces of beauty. A vague feeling like a reminder of David Hamilton's innocence and youth.

Would you mind speaking about this beauty and innocence that radiate from your female pictures?

It’s interesting to me that you choose those words because as we already mentioned, I mostly photograph myself, and when I am doing so I don’t feel beautiful or innocent. But I am happy those qualities come across—I didn’t know they were there. Maybe I am those things sometimes. A feminine world of sensuality is certainly there because it is the world I inhabit. I am very sensual person and I always feel a heightened sensuality when I am photographing myself. I’m not playing a character—I am presenting myself as I am. I don’t set things up to tell stories, I don’t think about poses or the final product. I just set the camera up and let my intuition guide me, I release something real that has been living in me, and clearly what has come out is a very transparent, vulnerable, and accurate depiction of who I really am. It’s horrifying and amazing that so many people know me so well. 

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The light in your images sometimes floats down gently touching the subject. Other times it rips the picture with a devastating power, becoming the undisputed protagonist. It is often impossible to tell whether these extraordinary compositions happen by chance or by intention.

Can you tell us more about this process?

I can’t be completely sure, and I think to some degree it is both, but there is a good amount of intention behind this. As I mentioned before, I don’t think a lot about the final product, but I am drawn to certain light or compositions because they match the experience I am having—they add to it, they tell another story that my body alone can’t tell. Oftentimes I’ll see a certain light—a strange light—and even if I’m feeling down and uninspired I’ll quickly throw myself into it. It compels me somehow. So that’s often how it happens. As with all of it, it’s just a feeling I get. 

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Your photos remain in this limbo of magical suspension between what it is and what has yet to come. The viewer wonders what they are waiting for: a turning face, a touching hand, a sense of belonging, some sort of recognising each other, the ending of the wind in the hair.

Would you mind telling us about these moments, about this suspension?

I have never thought about it before. It may seem redundant, but again I think this is reflective of the real experience I am having. I am suspended between what is and what is yet to come. I am rarely anchored or still in my mind. Maybe this suspension reflects how I see myself in the world or how I see the world in general—tiny, powerful moments that may mean everything or nothing, but that are the stuff that makes up life. There is a mystery to all of life and maybe this suspension I’ve created is reflective of my orientation towards the mystery. I am not interested in anything that is certain or finalized. Those things terrify me. I prefer to float; fluidity.  

Open spaces, hair blowing in the wind, nudity, magic places without any identifiable elements. I can feel a kind of great yearning for freedom, or a hymn. A kind of getting lost in these no-places in order to find yourself, in the end. 

What can you tell me about this freedom, spirituality, this self-discovery?

 It’s all self-discovery. It’s years of being too afraid to really live life, and then a sudden explosion of a desire to exist and to feel my presence on this earth. I never know who I am but I do know that I am always searching for some sense of that ephemeral thing we call purpose. These photographs are a depiction of me trying to find mine. Or maybe they’re a reflection of me trying to disappear into another world so that I don’t have to. But freedom—I like that theme. A lot about my beginning to dedicate myself to art and to show it to the world was a desire for freedom. Freedom from myself and my own harsh judgement, freedom from society and the people who told me I had to do certain things to matter—just freedom from everyone and everything and a chance to be that which I am, uninhibited, without regard. 

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I believe that it would be impossible to achieve these results with digital cameras: do you have a favourite camera or favourite film to use?

I could not make my art on a digital camera. My favorite cameras are the Nikon 35mms: I used an F3 for years and I just got an FM3A body because my F3 finally gave out after many years. I absolutely love the FM3A and understand why it was so coveted and still is. My favorite films to use are Kodak Portra 160/400 and some old expired professional stuff that I don’t like to get too descript about because then everyone will buy it all off of eBay and I won’t have any left! It’s somewhat selfish of me, but I’d be heartbroken if it all got bought up by people for the wrong reasons—trying to emulate a style. That sounds sort of shitty and I don’t think everyone is just trying to emulate a style by any means. But there are many people who ask me what exactly I use from start to finish to make my work and that really bothers me. Not because I am afraid of being ripped off (that will happen regardless and it’s of no consequence to me) but because I want people to find their own way and not think that they need a certain camera/film/etc. to make beautiful work. There aren’t shortcuts like that. I try to tell people it’s not the film and the camera that make the work. We all have our tools that we know best, that we have the best working relationship with. But the photos are made by the person using the tools. 

 Projects for the future?

 Who knows at this point. I’ve had this weird six months of being offered huge opportunities and then nothing pans out and I’m so saddened by it each time so I am trying not to be attached to anything right now. In fact I was told just yesterday that quite possibly the biggest opportunity I’ve been given to date was actually given to someone else. It was very disappointing. So now I’m not talking about anything in the “future” because more than likely people are just spinning my wheels. My only projects I care about and care to speak about are the ones I am working on with myself. I haven’t been creating a lot lately. I’ve been going through a strange life transition. So I’m waiting for the day that I feel like being with my camera once again. That’s my project—finding the artist in me again. Oh, and beginning to share my writing the way I’ve shared my photos, only through my tumblr (ediesundaywrites.tumblr.com) and some small print publications. 

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Suggest a movie, a novel, a photographer. Just say what comes to your mind first.

Film: The Great Gatsby (original), Novel: A Little Life (it will break you into pieces and it’s so beautiful), Photographer: Sarah Eiseman, I’m biased because she’s my best friend but she really is incredible. 

 Please tell us something about yourself. Just a few words.

 Haven’t I just told you everything about myself? Kidding. Hm. I live my life either feeling like I am frozen or on fire, sometimes both at once, and currently I am obsessed with Peaky Blinders and I’ve been having dreams that I’m one of them and I’ve started dressing like Thomas. The end. 

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 And now the hardest question: why do you take photographs?

Because I must! It’s where I am able to make the most sense out of this life. It’s where I feel the most alive and authentic and myself. And it’s how I connect with other people. I couldn’t imagine not taking photos. Taking photos is a risk for me, because the professional world I work in looks down upon what I do. I’m always risking that they’ll kick me out of the profession for good (clinical psychology) because I am “unprofessional” (taking nude photos of yourself is not only considered unprofessional but also often considered a sign that you are not sane). But I will never stop, it means too much to me, and if the profession ever rids itself of me then that is what was supposed to happen. I’ll always have my camera and I’ll always find ways to connect to and help others. 

Interview | Louis Dazy

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As a night owl, Louis Dazy’s photographs are drenched in tenebrosity, often reflective of the raw emotion with which they are heavily laden. Often through the medium of multiple-exposure, they resonate with nostalgia, and a kind of unrequited and exposed vulnerability to the world. The contrast between the intimacy of apartment settings, and the blurry anonymity of cityscapes appears frequently, elucidating the feeling of alienation and incongruence that Louis wishes to evoke. Beholding these cinematic images, one finds oneself unexpectedly unsettled as one recognises slivers of one’s own melancholy in a windowpane, doorway, or glimmer of light. I had the opportunity to correspond with Louis to gain a better insight into his creative process, intention, and relationship to his work.

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Through the medium of double-exposed film, the people in your work often appear as silhouettes, or ghosts, either hidden or turned submissively away, but always captured intimately. To the viewer, they all feel like fragments of yourself. Do you feel that in some way, these are self-portraits?

When you look at these silhouettes, these ghosts, they’re truly just a part of what I feel like in the moment: it’s always been about me, not them. Most are close friends, lovers, family, but what I see through them is my own reflection, how they see me, what they make me feel, this is what I try to show in my photos. In some way all of my photos are self-portraits, you’re right, even still life photos.

A lot of your images are characterised by dark tones, through which there is a sense of absence or disconnectedness, or perhaps a desire for anonymity and a lonely yearning for something. Is this a reflection of your inner world? If so, do you feel that your photography provides you with a medium through which to communicate thoughts that might not otherwise be understood by society, or the people around you?

I shoot at night because it is the only time of the day that makes me feel creative, like I can actually do something and express what I feel. The dark tones, the disconnectedness, it all comes naturally so I guess it shows what my inner world looks like. Photography provides me with a medium through which I can show feelings and emotions mostly. Thoughts on the other hand are harder to express through photography for me; my mind is a giant mess to be honest, I don’t think much, I just happen to travel through life without really questioning anything. I feel, I’ve got intuition but I don’t think that much, it’s all just flowing, and I don’t have the capacity to analyse and think.

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Do you feel that film, once developed, should be edited digitally?

It is really up to the person shooting it. If you’re not satisfied with the result but can edit it then go for it. What’s important is that you’re satisfied with what you do. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as it feels right to you.

Tell me about something in your life — other than art — that influences the images you create.

My childhood has a lot to do with what I create right now, the nostalgia I feel in me, it’s what makes me feel like ‘I should shoot’, it’s an urge to create new things with old feelings. It’s a bit hard to explain but let’s put it this way: it’s like listening to a song you love for the 500th time — you’re getting bored of it, it doesn’t come out as powerfully as it used to anymore. I used to be really really afraid of the dark when I was much younger. My mom bought night lights so I could feel safe at night — the ones you can change colors on — and I used to play a lot with these, putting them at different places in the room, setting up moods and scenes with my toys. I spent lots of time doing this and I guess it helped me find my way into a specific style of lighting, like the ones you can see in my photos!

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Do you find that most of the work that you’re proud of comes spontaneously, or is it mostly planned? Are you happy with your photography?

Spontaneously. I’m not much of a planner, I carry my camera with me most of the time and if something looks good or feels right I’ll shoot it. I would say I’m happy with 20% of the photos I post. Most have a meaning to me; some don’t, but they look nice.

Some of your multiple exposures feature people with their eyes covered by words, and in some instances this may be interpreted as a political message. Do you think the importance of your photography lies more in aesthetics, or in the ability to convey a message?

The importance of photography lies in the ability to convey a message. Unfortunately, I’m not really good at conveying messages through my photos, and if I do, I don’t mean to. My [photographs] are mostly aesthetics, they’re just memories, parts of what I feel, what I see. I see them as a photo diary.

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What film do you prefer to use? Do you ever shoot digital?

My go-to film at the moment is Lomo 400, I love the tones on this one, especially for night photography. I do [shoot digital] from time to time, usually for commissioned work. I own a Fujifilm X100T.

If you were to summarise your photography, and your relationship to it, in 5 words, what would you say?

Memories, Loss, Dreams, Loneliness & Nostalgia.

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See more of Louis Dazy's work here.

Interview | Sarah Blard

French singer-songwriter & photographer, Sarah Blard, uses her musical influences to develop a subconscious emotion within her work that captivates the viewer, often titling her work uniquely according to the musical pieces and thoughts that inspire her creative process. Her work explores a world of dreams, serenity and beauty, depicting vast landscapes and extraordinary scenery. 

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Who are your influences? How did they affect your thinking and creative process?

Music is definitely my main influence. The two arts are so connected for me: images and emotions come to mind whenever I listen to music. I’m constantly listening to it, singing or writing songs. It is also an integral part of my creative process. I always have music on when I am at my laptop, scanning film, selecting images, and doing post-process.

I can’t possibly list all the bands that influence me, but lately I’ve been listening to Portishead (forever), Thee Oh Sees, Alela Diane, M83, Happy Mondays, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and many more. One of the main reasons I love to shoot with film is that I’m quite a nervous person, so analogue photography is a way for me to slow down into the creative process and think about how I want to take my photo. I am still refining my art, and I don’t think that will ever stop. I think it is essential to find your identity in the art you create. Every artist deserves to find his or her own voice, and to be as authentic as possible in their creativity.

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How do you come across the places that you’re photographing? Do you stumble across them or are you actively looking for the places to visit?

As far as landscapes go, I don’t like to plan out where I’m going to photograph. I love to just travel and walk in wild places for hours and capture what’s there. I’m a really intuitive person, and not good at all at planning things! I just feel it, emotions rise, and I decide to shoot. Sometimes you just feel good or lost or confused or moved when you are in a place, either with someone or by yourself, and you don’t always understand why. That’s what I try to explore and understand through photography.

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Do you have a connection to the locations in your landscape photographs?

When I started photography, and for many years, I always had a connection with the landscapes I was photographing. I was taking a picture as a way to remember a specific place or feeling. But I’ve been moving towards a different approach in recent years. The connection with the particular place is less strong, but the imagination and subconscious are more present. This is something I love about analogue photography: the time gap between the moment you take the picture and the moment you re-discover your photo when you scan it. And you go through a whole process of remembering what happened there and how you felt.

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Your work seems to have an almost romantic, peaceful element yet simultaneously shocking and exciting. Is that intentional?

It’s true. Even if I regard nature in a poetic way, I am also drawn to the violent, powerful and unexpected aspects of this planet. This is part of its beauty. It’s a force that can scare you and make you feel very small. There is something so beautiful about that power, that surprising and intense nature. I also use dreams, the subconscious and the imagination since they remove all limits on exploring and questioning this world. Something magical about photography is the way that viewers have their own interpretations, feelings and emotions. And this is where the photo doesn’t belong to me anymore, but to the viewers themselves.

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Are there any political forces behind your work?

Not intentionally. A lot of my own personal values are inevitably in my work, since you always put a lot of yourself into your photos. There is definitely a clear respect for the environment, an awareness of global warming, and themes of gender equality. But there is no particular political ideology driving my photos at the moment. That may evolve, but it is not the case now.

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I noticed that in one of your images featuring a factory you stated “ugliness on earth. Why are we breathing this?” Are environmental factors a strong influence in your work as well as the beauty of landscape and nature?

When I started doing photography, many years ago, environmental themes did not appear so often in my work. But as I’ve travelled and had a chance to discover incredible wild places, I’ve gradually became more aware of and engaged in environmental issues. When I was posting that photo of the factory, I was, of course, revealing more of the values that surround my work. Nature is my main protagonist at the moment so it would be difficult for me to not be very sensitive to environmental issues, pollution and global warming. So, yeah it’s definitely becoming a strong influence.

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In your photographs that feature female nudes, are you striving to achieve the same bodily beauty that resonates with the beauty of the landscape?

I hadn’t thought of intentionally achieving the same aesthetic. But there are similarities, yes. The fact that I am intrigued as much by the romantic, as by the strong and mysterious aspect of bodies. I’m drawn to how we explore ourselves as human creatures on this earth through our range of emotions, aloneness, fear, joy, freedom, and how the body expresses that. With body photographs, it usually starts from an idea or project I’ve been thinking about for while. It is a different approach than for my landscape photography.

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What inspires the unique captions paired with your work?

The captions usually come from my writing, or my thoughts, or from songs that I am writing. Sometimes, I use quotes that resonate with the photo at the moment when I am posting them. Since I love writing songs, I always associate words with melodies. In the same way, my mind also connects images with melodies. So the three are really inextricably linked for me: photography, music and song.
 

Interview | Taysa Jorge

For me loneliness is not a bad thing… I’m a person that needs solitude to put my thoughts in order and to understand my feelings, in society we are surrounded by others’ thoughts, judgements, ideas… I need these places and moments to let my soul speak, to discover who I am and what I want by myself.
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The first photograph I saw of Taysa Jorge was a self-portrait taken from behind. It intrigued me. That morning I was talking to a friend of mine.

I asked him, "What do we do now?"

He said, "Let’s go outside, on the roof, to see the rainbow."

Right after that, I saw the picture. A coincidence maybe.  

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I was looking at Taysa Jorge’s work while listening to an old album by Sigur Rós: Valtari. I thought this was the perfect soundtrack for her images. The same riff. Her shots use a contemporary language, they transmute it, steeped in universal feelings that are much more deep and intense than those we are used to feeling. Her shots are an immersive experience. 

Many of your images look like quiet summer nights. In these represented nights I can feel a sought-after loneliness, which is never inflicted. A beautiful loneliness, if I may say. 

Please tell us about this ancient, gut and powerful loneliness.

Yeah, for me loneliness is not a bad thing… I’m a person that needs it to put my thoughts in order and to understand my feelings, in society we are surrounded by others' thoughts, judgements, ideas… I need these places and moments to let my soul speak, to discover who I am and what I want by myself. And there’s a quote from Séneca that I always loved, it says: “Solitude is not to be alone, but to be empty.”

The places in your pictures look like places you are comfortable, as if you are feeling at home.  The sky, the sea, the stars, the void, the infinite. “And thence we came forth to see again the stars” comes to mind, which Dante wrote in The Divine ComedyWould you be willing to tell us about these breathtaking places?

I truly believe that everything is connected, everything is the same thing… So you’re right, the sky, the sea, the nature makes me feel at home… I like to think that my soul, before its human form, before this world exists, was travelling freely the universe. Maybe if I wasn't human, my soul could be a wave in the ocean, or the wind blowing someone's hair. It can sound fanciful but that’s how I like to think.

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In your work there’s often a female solitary figure. Sometimes you are that woman, other times that woman is your alter-ego, but this makes very little difference: she could look like anyone, really. These lovely female figures are captured in a lone world-ending dance, they could be anyone, as they indeed are. Your landscapes could be everywhere. They look like universal concepts. There’s never a "Here and Now", there’s never a female figure but the Female Figure, never a place but the Place. Would you like to tell us about these themes in your work?

I’m still trying to decode what it means to me, you’re right, it could be anyone in anywhere. I think for me it represents what I was talking about before, a soul in nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The connection between everything, also my loneliness, the need to discover and get far from everything to know myself better.

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In your work the colour tones alternate from blue to magenta. In every shade. Very oneiric. Like a delightful sequence of dreamscapes. Why these colour palettes?

Blue gives me the feeling of isolation and calm at the same time… And the magentas/pinks speaks about a strong but delicate person. That's how I see myself. I’m open to investigate other tones, sooner or later. I think my photographs will keep changing always depending on the moment in my life.

How important is the digital post-production in your work? When you shoot do you already know what you will do in post-production?

Very important, sometimes post-production is the 50% for me, and many times inspiration comes in front of the computer instead of the camera… I really enjoy editing with Photoshop, I love to take pictures during the afternoon, after the sunset when it’s still light, and make it looks like nights, that way I can play with the lights and sometimes I get nice results, mostly for landscapes and in that cases I know what I’ll do in post-production when I’m shooting. Instead when I shoot portraits I have no idea what I’m gonna make in post-production, I like to shoot natural and free movements of the person and later when I see the pictures I feel inspired and I can add birds, or make a double exposure, or change the sky…

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Projects for the future?

I have many ideas, and things that I’d like to do… But nothing clear still. All I can say is I want to keep travelling, knowing and learning professionally and personally.

Please suggest a movie, a novel, a song, a photographer. Just say what comes to your mind first.

Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Novel: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Song: Window - HVOB
Photographer: Duane Michals

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Sum your work up in three words.

Deep, personal and mysterious.

And now the hardest question: why do you take photographs?

Because photography allows me to understand myself and the world better. I need to express something, and by creating an image I can both let go of and preserve my emotions at the same time.
 

Kyle Waszkelewicz | Now Here

It’s about the fragile moments of beauty and light that become so important to notice when the world seems bleak. Being a person can be awful sometimes and the world can suck. But even then - especially then - you can find these little glimmers if you pay attention and look out for them. They become really valuable and worth hanging on to. Kind of like when you’re in a dark room and can start to see faint hints of light after a while.
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Now Here is the touching new book from Brooklyn-based photographer, Kyle Waszkelewicz. The book features analogue photography inspired by his own personal struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder, and explores the importance of noticing the small glimpses of beauty which occur every day in a world that can at times seem dark and hopeless.

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"The series is inspired by my own struggles with a personality disorder. Borderline is characterised by really strong emotional reactivity - a lot of intense feelings and reactions and basically just a high level of moodiness. You can easily get caught up in things and become overwhelmed, and pretty quickly end up in that hole where everything looks its worst. You hate yourself and everything around you and being there is a nightmare. I’ve learned that when I’m there the best thing I can do is acknowledge and accept what I’m feeling, and to try and stay present and stay aware of what I’m experiencing. In that mindset I’m not as overwhelmed, I’m just kind of there observing. And if I put in the effort to try and notice any traces of light in the world around me that can otherwise feel so dark, I’ll see some and they’ll be really helpful. But I have to keep an eye out, because though they’re beautiful and elegant they’re also easily missed. So the photos are about those fleeting moments you’ll only find if you’re looking, and the project is about that presence. I guess my goal with the series is to hopefully inspire that same kind of mindfulness in others."

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The book is available for purchase here.

Guest Post | Important Nothings

I feel that I have momentarily lost touch with beauty, but I want it in every way. I want creation, and rain, and dim lights, and poetry, and melancholy music, and wispy fabric that dances with the sun floating through it, and good films and friendship, but mostly creation and good art: real, heartfelt, breathtaking art, because it is one of the greatest things we know and beauty is the most important thing in the world.
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I am a paradox - we all are. It is merely an inexorable consequence of the absurdity that subsists between the cold indifference of the world, and our poignantly fragile, interminable yearning for a narrative, a purpose with which to saturate our days. Often, these manifest little contradictions give rise to confusion, despair, and a dizzying fear of aimlessness. Yet it is this fragility itself, a plain submission to tenderness and nostalgia, distinct from and not predicated upon any further objective or pursuit, within which the greatest potential for an animated human life inheres. There is no more lucid a submission of this kind than the creation of art.

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Through photography, I venture to appeal to the richness of the glimpses of beauty and sentiment that are available to us in the ordinary routines that we inhabit; to highlight the quiet madness, the little sorrows lingering amidst pleasures that are often ignored. They have a kind of poignant, melancholic charm. This endeavour tends to yield a qualitatively different perspective through which the world may be viewed: one of simplicity and curiosity, of empathy and delicacy. Purposelessness loses face, and life is dignified anew. For a photographer of this persuasion, art may often consist not in creation as much as in chronicling. The lens becomes a study of stories and the people that have participated in them, and there is a particular sort of regality, an intimacy with the world that burgeons through this interaction. It is remarkably unexacting — and extravagantly gratifying — to expose oneself to what is already taking place.

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It is, however, not without its afflictions. Immersed in an environment completely independent of — and frequently indifferent to — art, it can be an elusive thing, sufficiently fleeting that one forgets its memory until its whole absence is felt profoundly and harrowingly. One aspect of the atmosphere in which I study that is easy to lose oneself in is the one in which the doctrines of quantification, mathematical precision, and logical utility supersede those of sensitivity, benevolence and warmth. Of course it is unsurprising that this transition does materialise intermittently, both in the mind and really, in the general surroundings, given the nature of my academic pursuits.

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In these new surroundings, I find I am easily becoming swept away by things that I am not as energetic about as I once imagined: they are almost the right things. I have intellectual stimulation, but I feel it comes at the cost of colour and passion.

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Indeed, it is easy to tie oneself in the convoluted argument that simple curiosity is not reason enough to lavish hours in the pursuit of this art that has no material gain or foreseeable terminus. Regardless, this notion is undesirable and suspect. I still occasionally consider the possibility of ceasing with this creation for precisely this absence of purpose, but I understand that doing so would be a contradiction, and a denial of the values I cherish. Consequently, I can only hope that, in my own mind, this argument never perseveres.

2nd December, 2016

I feel that I have momentarily lost touch with beauty, but I want it in every way. I want creation, and rain, and dim lights, and poetry, and melancholy music, and wispy fabric that dances with the sun floating through it, and good films and friendship, but mostly creation and good art: real, heartfelt, breathtaking art, because it is one of the greatest things we know and beauty is the most important thing in the world.

I use my art, therefore, as a rebellion against the unfeeling, cold, hard reason that has begun to swell within me even as I seek to defy it. There is a universe of wonder and sympathy to be lived — to be recovered — from beneath the veneer of unfeeling reason and impatient ambition.

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Kevin Shaabi is a photographer, writer, and musician born in India and raised in Singapore. Currently a student of Philosophy, Politics and Economics in the UK, he strives to pursue art with the same intensity as he does his academic life.

Interview | Morgan Tedd

Looking at the work of Morgan Tedd is like sharing the earphones of the same iPod. Losing yourself in someone else's world, through music, through photographs. Heavily influenced by the dark and heavy music of his youth, Morgan creates work drenched with real and raw emotion. We had the chance to catch up with the Birmingham-based photographer during his recent tour photographing British band, JAWS.

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Your portfolio is predominantly made up of portraits of musicians and artists, they remind me of certain shots by Emmanuel Lubezki in Song to Song and some black and white shots by Martin Ruhe in ControlWhat do these eye-catching, impressive portraits mean to you? Who/what are your influences?

I grew up in a very musical family, I was always playing it, listening to it, recording it, talking about it, I’ve spent from the age of 13, playing in various bands, and in each band I’ve always had an idea as to how I would like photographers to take my picture, or my bands picture, the way I take peoples portrait, most of the time is how I would take that photo of myself, if it were me on the other side of the lens. I think the way I shoot is heavily influenced by my musical taste and my time playing in bands. I grew up listening to Joy Division, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Depeche mode, New Order and all of the gloomy 80s stuff my parents would play to me, I don’t think its a coincidence that some of my shots remind you of scenes from Control, as I spent so long being obsessed with Ian Curtis and Joy Division. Seeing the imagery these bands produced, the grainy black and white, the amazing colours and tangibility of the film photography of the time, has also heavily influenced my work as a photographer and videographer. In terms of photographers who heavily influence me, there are only a couple really. I love the black and white work of Ansel Adams, the system he uses for his black and white work, heavily influences how I shoot and edit my own. I am also heavily influenced by Ryan Muirhead, his photography is heavily based in film and he is very experimental with shutter speed and light, he’s a genius. Other than that I wouldn’t say that other people influence me, I didn’t study photography at University or College, I studied music, so I wasn’t shown much work by the greats out there, instead I’m influenced by the music I learnt about and the people who made it.

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You utilise a variety of light forms in your work: backlight, flash, high-contrast daylight and light flares. Can you tell us more about the use of light in your creative process?

I very much prefer to use natural light, but anything that looks good to me tends to get used. I’m slowly teaching myself studio lighting techniques, as there are certain things which don’t come naturally to me, but everything else so far has been instinct and self taught. I use a lot of contrast in my work, you wont find many photos of mine that are well lit with no shadows etc, I like to use shadows to draw people in to what I want them to look at in a photo.

I saw that you published a book of your photographs and words: Personal War. Can you tell us more about this project and what it meant to you?

I had an awful start to the year, a relationship fell apart in a pretty nasty way, which left me pretty messed up, spending time sleeping on friends and families sofas until i found my own place, struggling to get my self-confidence back I started planning trips which would revolve around photography, working harder than I’d ever done before, while shouldering the pain and the weight of my own poor mental health, the cracks were starting to show, and I had very little control over it. The band I’m in isn’t as active as we should be, and my usual way of coping with all of this stuff is through the lyrics in the songs we write, but with out this release, I felt forced in to releasing the feelings in to something else, and that something else became Personal War. Since I released it I’ve found a lot of happiness and contentment, a new start in a new home, a new relationship, and I feel like all of that darkness is well behind me now.

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Music seems to be a significant and recurrent theme in your photographs. How do your musical influences affect your work?

They HEAVILY influence my work, I touched on it earlier but it's only really recently that I’ve realised how much it has impacted my work. I love heavy, sad and angry music the most, and I use heavy grading and heavy contrast, as well as melancholic themes in my work. To me, the arts, and creative disciplines go hand in hand with one another, they are all joined together and they all birth each other, so it’s no accident that music pushed me in to photography.

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Your landscapes show the land to which you belong, made of fog, a low sun, woods, cliffs. Can you tell us more about these landscapes and how you convey yourself through them.

Those landscapes are my happy place, my perfect place to be is an endless forest, tall trees with rain and mist, if it's misty outside when I wake up in the morning, I’m like a kid at Christmas, it makes me so happy. I hate summer, you wont see many landscape shots from me of a sunny day, as I really hate the heat. I’ve had so many friends give me weird looks when I say how much I hate summer and I hate the heat, but I really do prefer autumn and winter. I’d say those landscapes represent how I like to see the world, dark and endless at times, but intriguing and beautiful in their bleakness.

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Do you use both digital and analogue formats? Do you have a favourite camera or favourite film to use?

I shoot both, my digital camera is the 5D mark IV, I love the 5D series as they are wonderful workhorses that will do an amazing job at any shoot, studio, location, anything, those cameras are the one for the job. I have a fair few film cameras, but my two favourites to use are the Olympus MJU II, an incredible little point and shoot which fits in to any pocket, with an incredible lens, it's mind blowing how sharp the shots come out from such a little point and shoot, it really is heaps of fun and so convenient, as convenient as film cameras can get. And I recently bought a Contax G1, I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and I'm totally in love with it, it has taken my 5D’s place as my favourite camera. My favourite film is Kodak Portra, 800 if I can afford it, it's a beautiful film. I’m yet to decide on a favourite black and white film, I’m a stern critic when it comes to black and white, damn Ansel set the bar too high.

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Projects for the future?

I’m planning a second book, it wont be a sequel to Personal War though, it will be very different. I really want to make a book which is based entirely around film work, the latter half of Personal War was all film photography, and it is my favourite half of the book, so yeah, I think that will be next!

Please suggest a movie, a novel, a song, a photographer. Just say what comes to your mind first.

Movie - Tyrannosaur

Novel - Women - Charles Bukowski

Song - Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven

Photographer - Ryan Muirhead

Sum your work up in three words.

Dark, Bold, Honest

And now the hardest question: why do you take photographs?

I have a need to create, I always have, wether it’s something I can see, or something I can hear, I’ve always had this need to build and craft something that I can connect with, stand back and be proud of. I will always be this way, it's just part of who I am at this point, maybe I'll move from photography to painting next, I don't know, all I know is that I will always create.

Patty Rocha | Morning Walk

Morning Walk is the latest series by emerging visual artist, Patty Rocha. The black and white medium format works are highly moving and expressive, exploring the effects of the early onset of Alzheimer's disease in her ageing father.  The intimate and poignant images give the viewer a glimpse into the ritualistic structure and militant routine employed by her father in order to cope with the symptoms of his illness. 

"Rain or shine, a morning stroll is vital to ensuring a normal flow to the day ahead.  He dresses, washes sleep from his eyes, and brushes his teeth and hair; body memory working to dominate the cognitive mind.  Left foot first into his old pair of worn FILA sneakers that will serve as guides along the sidewalk.  Next he patiently sits while the blood pressure cuff tightens around his arm, not bothering to assess the results.  A quick gaze in the mirror before he sets off, the present day portrait of an otherwise healthy and robust man struggling to keep hold of the ever cunning Father Time."

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Born in NYC and raised in Miami, Patty Rocha is an emerging visual artist working primarily with medium and large format film photography.  She is, for the most part, self-taught and has enjoyed creating in various diverse mediums since her youth.  Presently, her areas of concentration include portraiture and landscape photography.  She is an associate artist at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, FL.

Guest Post | Cicadas

I was made separate,
by the picture on the wall.
Being all that I had.
Without memories...
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I think it was the sound of Cicadas.

In hindsight, that summed up feeling alone.

I see myself alone,

from behind, sitting on the curb.

That’s how I see my childhood

Now when I hear cicadas

I can feel what I didn’t know then.

I was made separate,

by the picture on the wall.

Being all that I had.

Without memories.

It gave me only proxy grief.

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Roeg Cohen is a photographer based in New York.

Guest Post | The Light's Are On, Somebody's Home

You aren’t alone. There are others, just within eyeshot, who are sharing this same night with you. You’ve never met a lot of them, but they’re here too.

My childhood dream was to be an architect. When I was little, I loved math and drawing, and for who-knows-what reason, adolescent-me was wooed by sharp angles and repeating rows of windows -- the siren song of post-modern minimalism.

Truth be told, four years into my legal adulthood, not much has changed. Just the other day, curving around the perimeter of Paris on my night commute home from Saint-Cloud, the glow of high-rise office buildings was enough to set my heart aflutter. 

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Any time I find myself in a grand ol’ sky-scraping downtown area, it sparks flashes of theoretical lives -- could be as simple as a particular desk lamp, a stack of books, the way the shutters are drawn. I know I'm not alone in this feeling -- not only because of the established understanding that I'm not unique, but from conversations with people who have said they’ve wondered the same thing, passing by homes and stores and other various and sundry workplaces.

As a whole, I think the light emanating out of these buildings is so enchanting because of its inherent message: You aren't alone. There are others, just within eyeshot, who are sharing this same night with you. You've never met a lot of them, but they're here too.

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So, whether it’s an industrial complex, or a suburban neighbourhood, a biting comment scrawled onto an ad on the metro, or a dog patiently awaiting its owner outside a store, my underlying ‘goal’ is to communicate what those houses communicated to Little Me: brief bursts of insight into the lives of others. A comforting assurance that there’s a whole wide world out here, and people are texturing it with things like witty retorts to advertising and well-trained domestic animals.

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I can’t speak much to the loneliness of small towns, but I know firsthand that, perhaps counterintuitively, living in a big city can be exceptionally isolating. Technically, you are constantly surrounded by millions of people in a hustling, bustling urban space, but there could be days where you see no one. Talk to no one.

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I’ve had those days.

If my art accomplishes anything, anything at all, I can only hope it operates as a signal to others -- that we, band of internet-surfers, may not be together in the same physical space, but we are far from alone.
 

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Autumn Palen is an American writer/photographer currently based in Paris. 

Willem Douven | Serenity & Pureness

Self-taught Belgian photographer, Willem Douven, explores contrasting themes of serenity, pureness, power and fragility in his cinematic and ethereal captures. His latest projects, Arboretum Bokrijk and Extraterrestre, were created in an attempt to escape from the stress and rush of daily life and society.  Take a look at his atmospheric work below. 

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Guest Post | Innerweltraum

My innerweltraum is a secret place. The place where my too shy self finally feels at ease.  I’m a woman of few words. I’m always on the verge of saying - but I don’t. Silence envelops me in her cloak. I nestle in it. The words trickle back down my throat. And that tension builds up in my innerweltraum. Longings and fears seem to converge to that little space.
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Innerweltraum.

Consisting of two German words: inner and weltraum. Inner and space.

One’s inner space world.

Compounded by William H. Gass.

Since I’ve come across the made-up word in a book, it won’t leave my mind. It’s the word I never found to delineate the constant tension, the stream of restlessness in me. I whisper its guttural, foreign syllables over and over as I’m writing this. How to explain what it means to me?

My innerweltraum is a secret place. The place where my too shy self finally feels at ease.  I’m a woman of few words. I’m always on the verge of saying - but I don’t. Silence envelops me in her cloak. I nestle in it. The words trickle back down my throat. And that tension builds up in my innerweltraum. Longings and fears seem to converge to that little space.

Photography is an essential part of my life. It’s the link between the here and the there. I don’t capture spontaneity.  Instead, when my hands pick up the camera, I feel an imperative desire to create narratives. Like a spider patiently weaves her web to capture flies, I weave stories to perhaps grasp a fragment of the innerweltraum.

The narratives are unfinished, ambiguous. They are like half erased poems, suggesting instead of meaning. But that’s perfect this way. Ferociously private, I’ll only show parts of my world elusively. Photography is my way of saying. It’s still a murmur, but it’s growing louder and louder with each picture I create.

I invoke the innerweltraum, take a photograph. Click. The tension releases for a moment. 


Héloïse Huynh is a photographer from Montreal.

Model: Tina Wang

Guest Post | Female Gaze

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In movies it’s never like that. You know I think that movies are a conspiracy. I mean it, they are actually a conspiracy because they set you up for it. They set you up from the time you are a little kid, they set you up to believe in everything. They set you up to believe in ideals and strength and good guys and romance and of course love. So you believe it, right, you go out, you start looking, it doesn’t happen, you keep looking.
— Gena Rowlands // Minnie Moskowitz // John Cassavetes
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Teach the girls that we were taught to look at pictures through the eyes of a man,
Alone in the dark room of a cinema where each spectator builds dreams & fantasies,
Our empathy with the hero is always a he,
and we frame a woman's body as a man would.
I am calling out for Laura Mulvey* and
learning to trust my own gaze,
peeling off my mind those male blankets
that were put in front of my head.
How is a girl looking
at other girls
at men
at the world.
Gaze at girls, gaze at their breasts,
their thighs, their legs
like watching a man’s hand, a torso,
a cup of coffee or a cigarette.
Is it because our sex is hidden that every other part of our body has to be sexualized?
Is it so scary that we don’t have any visual form that says I have desire like a hard dick.

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* Laura Mulvey « visual pleasure and narrative cinema »

Caroline Ruffault is a French photographer born in Brittany. She started film photography and dark room work at the age of 12 to avoid lunch at the middle school cafeteria. After studying cinema at the school of media, critical & creative arts in Liverpool, she worked as a director assistant and a production manager for television and some advertising agencies. Four years ago, she moved from Paris to Austin and bought an old 35mm Rolleiflex to make sense of a strange world. She fell in love with the magic of film, the wait and the sweetness of the grain. She likes stories and poetry, decors and strange light. Caroline just moved back to France this summer.

Interview | Patrick Clelland

Last year I found Patrick and his beautiful work through a French art magazine we were both appearing in, I caught up with him to find out more about his artistic process.

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Your photographs remind me of a certain mood found within futuristic locations in dystopian films and television, a little bit Black Mirror, Blade Runner or Hong Kong Express. A certain exhausting yet beautiful sadness. Neon lights, streets wet with rain reflecting the lights, and night most of the time. Interior seen from outside, looking out a window, a tangible loneliness touches me while I gaze out figuring the city that you show. Tell me about these constants in your pictures… night, neon lights, windows, cars and signs.

I’m definitely hooked on a few particular visual cues. Cars, neons, windows, and silhouettes. For me they are all subjects but they are very powerful because of the emotional response they trigger. Especially cars, because styles have changed so much through the decades they can immediately set a feeling of a time and place. But I think it’s difficult to understand why these things make us feel certain ways. For me that’s really the mysterious power of photography.

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Your represented night appears to be unending. But then you get a nice, great light from a window, or you capture a perfect moment under the setting sun and all things quieten down, the desperate night disappears in a blink. The lonely lady (female figure in your shots) seems to be waiting for the end of the night, to breathe again. Could you tell me more about this intriguing female figure in your photographs?

I shoot a lot at night but sometimes I force myself to go out in the day, usually after I’ve been looking at William Eggleston’s photos, and I guess this cycle starts to shows up in my work. The figure I think is actually more than one person. Most of the time it’s my wife, sometimes my friends, sometimes just a person standing perfectly in the street. I nearly always shoot alone but if I’m with somebody and I have a camera, I can’t help but make them pose if I see a nice scene. I guess it always turns out mostly anonymous because that’s just my style and these people have sort of merged into one.

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Sometimes in your photos there is a figure, usually shot from behind. Shadow-like and usually not in focus. Can you tell me more about this hard urban solitude I can feel through your pictures?

I seem to include a human element in most of my pictures because that’s what catches my attention. It’s interesting that you mention a feeling of solitude because I actually never noticed that. The problem with shooting in dense urban areas is they’re almost always crowded with people. Maybe I’m taking cues from films, where a whole street has been closed off for the scene, and you get this harsh emptiness opening up around the characters. Or it’s just a minimalist composition style and I’m happy to wait a long time for that chance where all distractions are excluded from the frame.

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Are you looking for locations or do you casually find these places? How do you choose the subjects you shoot?

Something I noticed a while ago was that I explore foreign cities much more thoroughly than my own, and I thought this was really stupid. So now I try very hard to find new areas around Sydney. Many times I’ve found great places purely by chance, and now I really believe that a great photo can be found anywhere and I fight to ignore any assumption that one place will be good or bad for shooting. I often get on a train or bus without checking where it’s going, and just get off when I feel interested in what’s outside. Sometimes I find myself far from home late at night and think “What the hell am I doing here?”

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Looking at your pictures is like being harnessed inside them. It’s like I could pick up the smell of interiors, the cold of the streets, the sea breezes in the photos on the ferryboat, the noise of the city. I’m sure that taking pictures is also a way to put yourself out there, I think that there’s so much of ourselves in what we represent. What do you show of yourself through your pictures? 

Photography is just a hobby for me and I really enjoy being outside, walking around listening to music and maybe drinking beer. I’m really not sure how much of myself is in my photos except to say that they are all places I’ve been and the photo is how it looked to me at the time. I guess it’s the same as anybody building a collection of things they like, and it’s hard to know what it really indicates about the person. Maybe nothing!

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I know that no digital camera can capture the warmth and grain or depth of good film. Why are you still working with film? And do you have a favourite camera or favourite film to use? Do you edit your pictures in post?

I learnt a lot of photography basics on digital cameras but eventually reached a point where I couldn’t achieve the look I wanted. I tried film out of curiosity and though my first rolls were pretty bad, I haven’t touched my digital camera since. For me it’s not just the look and feel of film, it’s how much extra time and consideration you have to put into each shot, and the beautiful simplicity of old cameras. Favourite film and camera now - Lomography X-Pro 200 & the Olympus OM-2N. This film gives crazy, intense colours either as E-6 slide or cross-processed. I have to admit I’m still searching for the perfect exposure in all situations so I do post-correct lighting sometimes.

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Next projects?

I want to do more deliberate portraits and actually go out shooting with people.

Tell me something about yourself. Just a few words.

My next favourite thing after photography is skateboarding. I’m not that good but I still love it. I recently went back to my home town and skated spots I hadn’t been for about 15 years. It was quite a strange feeling.

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Suggest a movie, a novel, a song, a photographer. Just say what comes to mind first.

Saturday Night Fever, Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground, “Don’t Change” by INXS, Greg Girard.

This is the hardest: Why do you take photographs?

I have a lot of reasons, some obvious and some more personal. I’m glad that others can enjoy my work and that a photo allows somebody to see something they otherwise couldn't. I also enjoy it as a sort of journey of discovery and really like the fact I don’t know what’s coming next.

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Guest Post | All Weaknesses

I had found myself as an opposite to romance, empathy and subtlety and yet I felt like I was full of those, but the bizarreness inside me would not let them out in everyday life.
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I am in constant need of being around people. Once I was told that expressing ones emotions, particularly those not most cheerful, is to show all of the weaknesses you have. Since that moment, a sense of independence and self-sufficiency has grown inside me. It has grown to the point that when I started to understand my emotions, I realised that showing them is just a part of being fragile which is a part of being human. 

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I was not able to show them anymore. I had found myself as an opposite to romance, empathy or subtlety, and yet I felt like I was full of those, but the bizarreness inside me would not let them out in everyday life. This is the moment photography helped me. I feel like my photographs are my testimony to the world, of having emotions inside. I am not sure I understand them completely as I do not understand myself completely yet, but every time I pick up the roll and see that what was in my head earlier was achieved in my photographs, I do not feel much of a satisfaction neither I am proud. I feel calm and peace. These photos calm me down and give hope for one day to be able to express myself in real life, like I do now through my photographs.

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I am constantly developing. This time last year I could not imagine sharing my art with other people, especially those who are close to me. I would feel ashamed, of myself, of showing too much of my personal and intimate side. The moment they accepted it made me realise I do not need anybody's acceptance as permission to do what I am doing. I only have to stay true to myself, and wait for the moment when I will be able to convey how I feel through my words, instead of just my photographs.

Karina Waliczek is a 23 year old photographer born in Siemianowice Śląskie, Poland, and currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Interview | Rudy Lamboray & Carolyn White

Sometimes I don’t take the photo because she is too beautiful… You know like if you meet a deer in the forest you feel kind of frozen, you just admire and enjoy the moment without moving. So… the most beautiful photos of my wife are in my brain.
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Frida and Diego, Patti and Robert, Marina and Ulay... Like many before them, Carolyn White and Rudy Lamboray typify the artist-muse relationship dynamic that many only dream of. The two fell in love after shooting for the first time together in Belgium, where they now both reside, happily married and continuing to create beautiful, intense, sensual and often playful imagery. We asked them a few questions to find out more about them, their work and the creative process behind them. 

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How did the two of you meet?

I found some photos of Carolyn on a Flickr page of a French photographer and I immediately thought to ask her to work with me but her name was not mentioned. I found her Facebook profile on the Facebook page of the photographer. I sent her a very short message saying here is my website and it would be a pleasure to work with her. I’m not a guy who speaks about the universe to the models and things like that, I never write long stories and I don’t like to convince with words. 

Carolyn replied that she was very surprised (later she told me she thought it was a mistake and that the message was not meant for her) and said it would be a pleasure for her too. It was great to read her words except when she mentioned where she was living… more than 1200km away.

I said "ok well… when I’m around I will let you know", (with disappointment of course) but she replied she wanted to come to Belgium for a few days with her brother. I said "you're welcome of course!" We made emotional photos for me because I used a very old camera, it was a 1952 Yashicaflex ASII with square format. Until that moment it was very hard for me to use this camera and… the 12 photos were good! Same thing with the Polaroid duochrome red, I never really succeeded with that and once again all the Polaroid’s turned out well thanks to her. It was a sign…

She went back to France and we spoke a lot via social media. She came back three months later… and we are married now.

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Do you feel you have an artist-muse dynamic and how does this affect your images?

For sure yes. I’m a shy guy and I was always afraid to ask things of models, fearing they may feel bored, I always tried to work fast but with Carolyn this is different, I can take time, experiment techniques and she shares my ideas. But above all, sometimes I don’t take the photo because she is too beautiful… You know like if you meet a deer in the forest you feel like frozen, you just admire and enjoy the moment without moving. So… the most beautiful photos of my wife are in my brain.

How does your experience differ being photographed by Rudy and being photographed by others?

Carolyn: Each shoot is different because the photographer is not the same and therefore the photographer / model relationship is not. Rudy places a lot of importance on the well-being of the model and he is listening. I'm more afraid of disappointing Rudy than a different photographer. Certainly because I value our relationship more than others. And with him I'm forced to push my limits because I’m not sure of myself and I like that it jostles me by becoming another person through his photos. He enriches me enormously in every way.

Is photographing Carolyn a completely different experience from photographing others?

Rudy: Well not that much. Never touch the model has always been the number one rule. With Carolyn I sometimes allow myself to touch her hair but that’s it, I always have the reflex to show how I wish the model to move. When I take photos of a person I always think frame, speed, aperture, originality etc. My first goal is to have a beautiful moment with the person because it is visible on the photo! I’ve seen too many pictures of half-naked women wondering “what am I doing?” You can read it on their faces. Not for me.

Carolyn is my wife now and I respect her as any other model, woman or man. We just spend more time to find ideas we’d love to do together. I don’t feel the need to work with other models because our relationship is so strong that it can free us in the working process. We discuss a lot and we understand the wishes of each other very fast, we have a lot in common. We never say “no” but sometimes galleries on our websites need a password. Respect is the first key, an artistic vision is the second one, the two rules in a bubble of true love. 

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What is your favourite part of creating work as a couple?

I love to open a FujiFP100c and discover how beautiful she is on paper. We also work a lot with Polaroid and it is great to see how she’s involved in the building of an idea. Carolyn is starting photography too and she has a very strong eye.

Your work is sensual, yet often has a playful element. Do you usually approach shooting naturally or do you have an idea in mind of what you want to capture beforehand?

Well, sometimes the sun enters the room… We look at each other and she directly understands what I wish, we have the same ideas at the same moment. But the sun is not always generous in Belgium so yes we also think of themes we’d love to explore or places we’d like to see and visit. I think, like any artist, inspiration comes with a melody, a television series (we just finished “The Leftovers” we really loved), and of course pictures on the internet. But sometimes we see too many things… it’s important to see work from others, yes, but it is also important to stay focused on what we want to say through our work. 

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Do you have any upcoming projects planned together?

Oh yes… To live happy, to fight every day for that. Visit some countries like Norway, Scotland, Iceland and keep on making pictures together.