conceptual & tableau: fine art photography
“I create staged fine art series, based on a concept addressing social issues, telling a story through the medium of portrait and fashion photography.”
- living and born 1986 in Saarbrücken, Germany
- autodidactic freelance photographer
- zoo pedagogue since 2013, trainee teacher for Latin, Philosophy and Ethics since 2017, student of Ancient Greek since 2015
- genre: fine art: conceptual, staged, tableau, story telling, portrait, fashion – often all of them combined; besides: individual animal portraits
- subjects: psychological and social issues like role expectation and prejudice (gender and skin color became a stylistic device for me), destruction of nature by mankind, identity (multiple sided persons, metamorphosis, development); dream and illusion; individuality of animals
- style and key elements: focus on message and model, clear centre of attraction; dramatic cinema lights inspired by Hitchcock and film noir, low key, shadows; the painting-like look of long time exposure; strobe light; smoke, dust and mist (preventing or delaying a clear, immediate view); reflections on surfaces like windows or mirrors, as key symbols for identity (“reflection”)
- sources of inspiration: cinema, literature, philosophy, myth and fairy tale, classical art, nature, personal experiences, fashion photography, photographs by Jimmy Nelson, Philippe Halsmann and by my grandfather
- awards: 2016 ipa int. photography awards (2nd, “deeper perspective” category); 2015 Museum Haus Ludwig Saarlouis, competition “portraits in action” during their Eve Arnold exhibition (1st); for more information on credits & awards please see “Awards & Publications“.
WHY “KYPRISATHINA PICTURES“? I see myself not only as a photographer or maybe “light painter”, but even more as a movie director, who is also her own author, camera woman, location scout, stylist, make-up artist, post producer – and sometimes even fashion designer and / or model (picture: photograph, painting, film/movie). This gives me full control over the whole narrative. For this reason, I most typically work on two-people-sets: model (or better: actor) and me. A very detailed concept (story line) and careful preparation build the ground for all my series and often start weeks or even months ahead. The average working time from first idea to end of post-production usually takes about 40-60 hours, but often more.
THERE IS TROUBLE UNDER A BEAUTIFUL SURFACE: I want to melt the beauty of staged fashion and portrait photography with the social awareness of photo journalism, so at the end there is a tableau series and photo essay combined in one piece of work. That is why my series finally consist of multiple, contrasting layers: Through this ambiguity I want to delay the understanding of the deeper layer, letting the first attention be taken by the more relaxing surface (emotional level). Staying with the picture, the viewer might then discover the probably troubling or even provocative message hidden under the beautiful surface (intellectual level): I want to invite people to do the step inside the pictures, to get behind the surface and to raise questions, without finding immediate answers, so they might find out something about themselves.
Not only for this reason of ambiguity, I follow an aesthetical approach in my work, strongly refusing the current trend of ugliness in photography: I disagree with art having to include disharmonic colors, ill-looking make-up, heavy boots combined with fragile elf dresses, internal flash or beginner-like looking techniques, because I do not accept the widely spread prejudice (!) that a beautiful surface cannot have a deeper meaning. The opposite way around, I find it superficial to turn away just because something looks aesthetical. In my opinion, it still requires more skills and efforts to wrap a message like criticism of prejudice into an aesthetic package than plainly into an ugly one, as ugly as the prejudice: doing so is kind of expected by most people.
A detailed biography, focusing on my photographic development, personal interests and influences, can be downloaded here (pdf).
facebook site: www.facebook.com/kyprisathina
“Unlike my usually staged people photography, my animal photos always are individual portraits; when I take a photo I don’t want to say: “This is a tiger and tigers usually look like that, do this or that, …”. Instead, I want to show you the tiger called X or Y, how this individual tiger looks, behaves, feels – and make you understand that it is an individual with its own character, which makes it different from any other tiger. It’s not coincidence that the animals on my photos often have their names shown in the description. To me it doesn’t matter if my animal model lives in nature or in a zoo. Actually, if you want to take a true and individual animal portrait, it is quite difficult to do that outside in nature, if you have only a few minutes with the wild animal, before it disappears forever, and you’ll never know if it comes back the other day – and without enough time for study or a really good guide you won’t even be able to say if it is the same individual from yesterday…! I fully stand behind the concept of zoos, not only because I think that in most zoos the animals are kept very well, but also because I strongly believe that for many it is the only way to survive extinction – to name only two reasons out of many.”