French-born London photographer Hyperion has a knack for finding models who carry obscure inner darkness. He then styles them to the hilt, picks up his analogue camera and captures their inner complexity in perfect unison with their outer creativity. We spoke with him about the riddles of life and how fetish fits into his ultimate fate.
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Sez G: There's a true darkness in most of your photos; sometimes your models reflect a heavy sadness, and sometimes it's more potent discord. What's the mood like on your set?
Hyperion: The mood on the London set is relaxed, but also professional and focused. Everybody arrives at the same time; we have breakfast together and chat about the ideas for the shoot. Then the models have their hair and make-up done while the set is being prepared, and we work all day towards the pictures. There is never any diva behaviour; we all work together. It is a really good atmosphere, and we always try to keep it that way.
Sez G: Do you choose your models based on something dark you feel they have inside them?
Hyperion: The choice of models starts with a feeling and an image in my head, but I do tend to go for models who I believe have a darker side... they are more interesting to portrait and work with.
Sez G: And then how much direction do you give them?
Hyperion: Every time is different. Some people need to be clearly directed, some just need a little summary to do exactly what you were looking for, and some you just let do whatever they want [laughs]. It all depends on the relationship you have with your model, but usually we start with an idea and go with the flow during the session. Sometimes you end your day with shots that are the opposite of your initial idea, and they are great. You always know how it will start, but you never know how it will finish. I really like that.
Sez G: Some of the makeup and hairstyles on your models are very creative. Do you have a stylist on set?
Hyperion: Yes, I have stylist, and I consider myself lucky to be able to work with such talented and driven people as hair stylist Robert Masciave, and make-up artists Carla Levy and Lena Hrncarova. They love what they do, and it is always a pleasure to work with them.
Sez G: What about the fashion? Where does their clothing come from?
Hyperion: Most of the latex comes from Jane Doe Latex except for few items from Libidex and To.mTo. Sometimes the models bring their own clothes as well.
Sez G: You were born in France and now live in London. When did you move to the UK and how has your French childhood and current life in London affected the evolution of your art?
Hyperion: I moved to the UK in 1993 after spending time in different countries. I have practiced some type of visual art since childhood; I was trained in painting, drawing and sculpting when I was very young by my grandfather who was an artist. I then went to art school for a short period. My early training in classic art combined with my traveling experiences and interest in the alternative lifestyle have all been part of the evolution of my photography.
Sez G: Speaking of alternative lifestyles…I saw your enticing photo on the flyer for Torture Garden Valentine's Ball 2007. How much a part are you of the fetish "scene?"
Hyperion: I would not consider myself part of the fetish scene to be honest, as people who I do consider part of it live and work it 24-7. I don't have that kind of time, and I am not the type of person to stay within one circle. That being said, I love the fetish state of mind, and the people are some of the most creative and inspiring you could ever meet.
Sez G: Is this why you're no longer taking commissioned latex and fetish work?
Hyperion: I just think it is time for me to move on to new things. There are so many areas that I want to explore. Except for Jane Doe Latex, who I will continue to work with, I will be focusing on more high fashion in the future.
Sez G: You still do most of your shooting on film, with occasional digital shots. Why do you prefer shooting on film?
Hyperion: I will not start a debate on digital versus film, but working on film requires a different approach towards a shoot than working digitally. There is a certain feeling that I don't get when shooting digitally. It's physical… you might even call it a fetish. I would rather spend my time in a darkroom than in front of my computer processing the shots.
Sez G: Hyperion was a Titan in Greek mythology, the son of Goddess Earth and God Sky, and the father of Sun, Moon and Dawn. It is also a moon of Saturn, a Keats poem, the tallest living redwood tree, and more. How did you become Hyperion?
Hyperion: My name comes from a book called Hyperion by Dan Simmons (a must read for any sci-fi fan). I always loved Greek mythology, and at the time I read it, I could relate on some level to the state of mind of the characters… and my real name is way too long to use. [laughs]
Sez G: What's next for you?
Hyperion: I am working at the moment on two new websites, one for selling my art prints. If it goes well, I'll include other artists in the future. I'm also working on a new portfolio site. Other than that, I have started a series of portraits and am shooting artistic nudes for some magazines. If everything goes to plan, I will have my own studio by the end of the year.
To learn more about Hyperion, visit www.HyperionCreation.com.
Hyperion - by Sez G.