AURORA GOES WILD WITH
unusual interviews in the Pussy Pusher’s style.
Episode 24: THE ONLY BLACK SNOW LEOPARD
When did you decide to start shooting girls? What was your “mental process” behind the decision?
I don’t think there was a day when I woke up and said, today I’ll start shooting girls. I think it was more a challenge I set myself to expand my photography beyond what I had been shooting before - mostly landscape and urban scenes - a way to bring back the human connection and to do so with subjects that I happen to find aesthetically pleasing. There are different ways to get into shooting people - to shoot friends, to go up to people in the street, and to work with models; I like them all, but for ‘first steps’ it seemed easier to approach people who were ‘comfortable’ in front of the camera. Now I’m at the stage where I’m seeing that that comfort can sometimes bring it’s own obstacles.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I always wake up hungry, so a quick shower and then breakfast, during which I tend to check up on my flickr contacts.
Does your mother appreciate your pictures?
The ones I show her she does. But I’m a little selective about what she sees.
A movie that we should watch.
The most extraordinary film I’ve seen in the last year is ‘The Act of Killing’. It’s a hard film to describe, a difficult one to watch, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Who is your “dream” model? Where would you love to set your shooting?
I’ve got a growing shortlist of models I’d love to work with, many spotted through flickr contacts or model mayhem and suchlike - Zoi, Gabriela, Chloe Jasmine-Wichello, Ryonen, but I’m not necessarily interested in the big names and the bright stars. As to locations, I’m looking to do more outdoor work this year, but London is not the easiest base for this! Luckily I travel a reasonable amount, and I tend to shoot quite a lot when I do, mainly in the US.
Are you keeping your work secret to someone?
There’s always an element of this. Some of my models have moved into different paths and have requested anonymity; I have a public photographic face that I’m happy to show to friends, acquaintances, and those who encounter me in my day-job; and then there is my nude work about which I’m more selective, hence the use of a pseudonym.
Are you usually turned on by the model you are shooting?
There always needs to be rapport between photographer and model - but the connection for me is always through the camera. The frisson is that of getting just the right angle or light, revealing the shapes and emotions of my models in the best way. A nude shoot always has to tread the right line and I’ll only get the shots I want if I’m thinking through my lens rather than with any other part of my anatomy. On the other hand, if there’s no connection, if it’s too cold or awkward, that also comes out in the images and they won’t speak to the viewer in the same way.
Name three photographers that you consider masters.
A difficult question for me, as I range so widely in my photographic tastes. In terms of contemporary photographers in the public eye: Sally Mann, Edward Burtynsky, Sebastiao Salgado, but I could list another ten and I wouldn’t be half done.
Did any model ever get mad at you because she was looking “ugly” in your pictures?
Not as yet, and I’m not sure I’d have time for a model that did.
What do you do in your free time?
Free time, interesting concept… Swing dance, hiking, I bake a mean cake. But a camera’s always nearby.
What is the difference between a good nude picture and an amazing one?
There’s so much nude imagery out there that looks exactly the same; for me the great shots are simply the ones that make me sit up and look twice and then look again. I don’t think you can define it, and it will be different for everyone. And some bad shots are brilliant.
Who is, in your opinion, the most overrated nude photographer? And the one who is not appreciate yet?
I don’t really keep tabs on the bad ones I’m afraid. They are legion. I guess I’m not really a fan of Spencer Tunick, if you can even call him a nude photographer. I’m also a bit bored of the ‘nude draped over a rock’ school these days. My favourite lesser-known nude photographer is Jan Scholz (micmojo), who I have been following since I first joined flickr, and who is rather beginning to make waves. Also love Radoslaw Pujan, Heiner Luepke, Andrea Hubner (quadratiges), Ludovic Sanchez (Flibustier et Co.)…
Your biggest fault.
I’m not methodical enough. And I have too many cameras.
What does your partner think about your work?
She hates being photographed. She’ll come round eventually ;-)
Do you remember your dreams in the morning? Are you able to interpret them?
Almost never, I sleep the sleep of the damned, assuming the damned sleep like logs.