Thursday, February 26, 2015

Photographer Series #15: flynshotkatemoss

Photographer? Collage Maker? Artist? Flyn Vibert is all of these yet isn’t interested in any one label. “My practice takes me so far that I really don’t know any more (or even care) whether I’m an artist or a photographer. I’ve been pushing for a long time now. … I don’t think it’s enough to just take photos anymore. I take from anywhere, I don’t have set ideas, there is no formula. I find influence in everything. Every image is different.
An image from Flyn's series Fragments
Flyn, who has both an MA in fashion photography and a BA in photography, works towards what he has referred to as "poorer photography". This means "no Photoshop, no retouching, no darkroom or digital manipulation, just photography" to create his images, which look more like works of multimedia art.
He has described the use of his techniques as adding a level or performance to what is traditionally a very static art. This performance aspect allows him to pour everything into his work - anger, passion, hate, love - in order to push the image further.

ishotkatemoss (iskm): How do you approach your creative process?
Flyn Vibert (FV): My whole approach is physical. I appropriate, I manipulate and juxtapose, I re-light and then I re-photograph. I’ll use whatever methods I can to push my own limits … The story writes itself. I never follow a script yet I work with narrative and I am fascinated by fairytale. Ancient and magical, macabre and melancholy, illusion and hallucination, contradiction and combination, fantasy and reality. There are no rules. Anything is possible.

iskm: Why do you feel that fairytale concepts, the magical, macabre and melancholy seep into your work?
FV: I think we're all inherently drawn to fairytale at some level. As children we're told stories of giants, evil witches, living scarecrows, talking tigers, magic beans, and so on. What's fascinating to me is that these classic tales were wonderfully dark and twisted: from the evil queen in Snow White who orders huntsman to kill an innocent girl, the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood who swallows her grandma whole, and the cannibal witch in Hansel and Gretel who wants to devour children. Brothers Grimm have a lot to answer for. More recently I began reading a book called "Heroes and Villains", by feminist author Angela Carter, which opened my eyes to the possibility of surrounding my imagery with a sense of narrative. Both dark and unsettling, yet also highly seductive.

iskm: Your images constantly have faces/people as their source. Why manipulate the face?
FV: I've always been drawn to people. Every human, every face is a new story.

iskm: How/why do you select the source images in your work?
FV: I've always believed in following my gut. It's what much of my work is about. I want to see where the subconscious takes us. I am a serial collector. I have cuttings going back years. I find it painful to throw anything away. When it comes to selecting the images, it's about being in the moment. I could choose this image or that one, but in the end it's about making a decision and seeing where it takes you. Every image is a different journey.
"I’ve shot with Kate Moss, Courtney Love, Iggy Pop, Grimes, Karen O, Sid Vicious, Cara Delevingne, and Bjork ... They just don’t know it yet." Flyn Vibert
iskm: What interests you about kate?
FV: She's a fascinating creature. We've all followed her for so long that she has become a part of our lives. We read about her in magazines, we blog about her, instagram pictures of her, and celebrate her birthday like an old friend. She has lived her life in the public consciousness. From Corinne Day's portraits of a sweet, young innocent council estate kid to her status as a supermodel and the face of fashion, her drug-addled relationship with Pete Doherty to her re-birth into motherhood. Her image endures - her life is now (almost) seen as a fairytale.
iskm: How and why do you select the source images for the kate moss work? 
FV: I have a collection of Kate Moss images. Some taken from magazines and newspapers, others off the web. It's not hard to find images of her. There was no specific reason behind the ones I chose, not consciously anyway. In a way, every image of her is the same at it's root. Her image is now so omnipresent that it is almost impossible to escape that familiarity.
iskm: What did you do to your chosen kate moss images and why? 
FV: Every image is different and the process for each varies. Lighting is the only constant. I'll use anything to 'enhance' my images... stale red wine, cigarette ash, dead flower petals, paints and oil pastels, felt tip pens, nail polish, chemical fluids, diesel oil, even fire. The one thing I don't use is digital manipulation. I prefer the physicality and want to touch my images. To feel the inks running through my fingertips, to watch the surface crackle as I scratch away at it. It's a beautiful, expressive, transient experience for me to shoot. I want people to feel my images are touchable.

iskm: But the final piece of art that you create is a photograph of the collage?
FV: It is always a photograph of what I have made. There is an essence of the decisive moment in this, as many of the things I create 'die' after a certain time. So I don't actually align myself with collage, even though my images do sometimes have a lot in common with collage!
iskm: Which photographer/s would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss?
FV: I'd love to see what Jean-Luc Godard would do if ever given the chance. I can't even imagine what he thinks of Kate Moss, but his response would be fascinating. He once shot a fashion film for the Marithé François Girbaud label in the 80's. You can find it on youtube if you dare. Fashion through the eye of a new-wave filmmaker. It's either terrible or wonderful. I can't decide. David Lynch would be another. He's a very important influence for me, even if it is never obvious in the work itself. I wonder how he would cast Kate Moss in one of his films.

iskm: Thanks so much Flyn.
FV: I've very much enjoyed the whole process of us talking. Just one last thing, tell Kate to drop me a line if she ever wants a portrait taken!

A deep dark, scary portrait of fairytale kate … that we would love to see. In the meantime, don’t let your kids fall asleep to the fashion mags. Instead show them Flyn’s work, more of which you can be viewed at, so that they too can:
Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

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