City Demon

One of my main inspirations for these series was Japanese photography of the post-Second World War era. Going through the works of post-war masters, I was deeply moved by their distinct aesthetic: the truthful, yet meticulously thought through shots, raw emotions without drama, controversy without imbalance. For me, the psychologically charged photographs of Shomei Tomatsu, Еikoh Нosoe,Yutaka Takanashi, Takuma Nakahira open a whole new approach to transmitting human emotions in a shot, to the mimicry in an artwork, to the expression in photography in general, but most importantly, to the perception of beauty.

I was contemplating, for example, on how Shomei Tomatsu bravely – even shamelessly one could say – revealed the trauma of Hiroshima on his photographs, challenging his unique balance between horror and beauty.

 

It was in this context that I started to critically reflect on how most of the photographs picture London today. Often polished, pretty or, one could say, sugar coded, with the glossy buildings and luxury venues in the backround of so many shots. However this city has a long history filled with tremendous events that constitute the duality of London. And duality, I believe, is exactly what creates its depth. It has an underlining dark spirit, which I strive to palpate in these series. On the shots, the actor Oliver Benett is interacting with the city’s spirit, interspersing with it, as we pass by the iconic sights of Soho, Oxford Street, Leicester square. I wanted to show this metamorphosis in movement – this is why the consequence of shots is important. Another challenge for me was to let go the mimesis, not to picture the reality, but to use my camera in the way that an expressionistic painter uses his brush, distorting the reality to make it expressive of the artist's inner feelings in the moment of interraction with it.

Model: Oliver Bennett

Light assistant: Anna K Sebastian