For 10 years, nude photography was the most important part of my life. I was doing light experiments in my home studio, I was traveling the world for photo shootings and I was posting my pictures online where they received some 100 million views. Now I am almost retired as a photographer. I haven’t done a big photo shooting in three years. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to start again. Right now, I’m focusing on my “day job” as a scientific librarian and on freestyle and skateboarding.
Were you inspired by someone to start photography?
There were a lot of influences and reasons. I couldn’t name any person or photographer specifically but there are a lot I admire. For me photography was also a form of activism. My hope was that beautiful, erotic pictures would help cultivate values like sensitivity, creativity, intelligence and mutual respect.
At what age did you first grab a camera to take pictures and what was the first image about?
When I was a teenager I sometimes used my dad’s old camera to take black and white images of landscapes in the rain.
The vast majority of my photoshoots were done while traveling. I can improvise a home studio in my apartment.
Would you consider a outdoor photoshoot challenging compared to studio? Why?
Outdoor is always challenging if you work with a nude model. It draws a lot of unwanted attention, and you can get in trouble.
Have you ever done commercial photography? What type of photoshoot was it?
No, I was never interested in commercial work. I wanted to pursue my own ideas and I didn’t want to conform to “market pressures”. The philosophy of Art Nouveau was an inspiration to me which rejects efficiency and mass production and instead focuses on the uniqueness of an artwork.
What is your opinion on what some consider Artistic nudes as something of porn?
There are already a lot of opinions on this topic and I tried to take them all in. For a lot of people the difference is as follows: Artistic nudes are black and white photos of beautiful “body landscapes”. They are not intended to sexually arouse the viewer. Porn on the other hand wants to do nothing but arouse the viewer.
It was always my opinion that this dichotomy is not helpful. There were a lot of discussions along the lines of “if it is art then it is not sexual, and if it is sexual than it is not art.” As if art and sexuality were mutually exclusive. If you study art, you know very well that it is rather the other way around. But it is also true that something isn’t automatically art just because it has a nude body in it. This argument has sometimes been overused as well. I think there are valid reasons to keep sexual images out of the mainstream. I think this is actually the concern people have in mind when they discuss about the artistic value of erotic images. It used to be easy: “you just ban nudity, and you have most sexualized images out of the mainstream.” But not anymore. If you take a look at Instagram, you have tons of highly sexualized images without nudity. And there is a problem with this: it can lead to unhealthy expectations of how a body should look. This is more about conformity than about sexuality.
Do you do tutoring and have you ever done seminars?
What advise would you give for anyone wanting to do do photography as a hobby or professional?
Do not become obsessed with your gear. Focus instead on your creativity and inspiration. Keep it professional when you are working with models. Remember there are a lot of people producing pictures. You may find it hard to get the recognition you think you deserve.