A photographer always offers a secret, voyeuristic thrill to the viewers of his or her artistic product, but aliased artist Wolf189 elevates the private, sensual moments of his models to extreme voyeuristic levels. The viewer often gets the feeling that not even the photographer was in the room. His skillful composition, framing and lighting capture naturally intimate images that reveal the sadness and desires we all hold inside. We spoke with Wolf189 about his relationship with his models, the process of a shoot, and his philosophy of untainted art.
Click any image to view the pop-up
gallery slide show.
Sez G: Your subjects are infrequently looking at the camera. They instead seem to be lost in their own thoughts, half dressed and deeply speculative. Where does the viewer fit into these moments?
Wolf189: It varies from set to set and from shot to shot, really; however, in many of the shots, the viewer is the observer of that certain moment of uncertainty, solitude, sensuality and indecisiveness.
We all share those moments in our lives, and yet the majority of the time, we try to ignore or forget them. Personally I enjoy those subtle essence of life and try to express it as often as I can.
Sez G: How do you manage to capture that perfect candid, un-posed, un-styled shot?
Wolf189: For the most part, by creating the right mood...very little acting and posing is being done in most of my erotic and fashion work unless the concept of the set differs from my usual work.
Models and subjects are major dramatic elements in the set. The majority of emotion presented in the shots is very close to the emotion that they actually were feeling during the session. By not being too intrusive and giving them enough security and freedom to be who they are, they often forget or ignore the existence of the camera.
We share and experience a real human connection and if we are lucky, we end up documenting rather private and personal sensibilities during our sessions. The models, are the core of my photographs...they are the heroes, champions and reasons behind the stories. I even match the aesthetics and speed of my sessions based on their personalities and moods.
Sez G: You started shooting photography as a journalist in your
late teens. What led you to turn your lens towards the more intimate and
Wolf189: To be honest I still consider myself a journalist at heart. I always try to document my surroundings as honestly as possible. Of course, no matter how hard I try, my point of view affects how I see things.
There is no difference in that regard from my erotic work either. I love women, I enjoy them, I respect them, and I always try to find a way to appreciate the sensuality that I see in them. All of that I do in a very journalistic style photography.
I guess I started shooting more erotic themes when I became more attracted to fashion and portrait photography, since they have a very close dialogue with each other.
Sez G: You're a purist when it comes to the development of your photos….natural light, un-cropped and minimal digital manipulation. Why do you feel this approach creates your best work?
Wolf189: Perhaps it has a root in my own personality and my journalistic background. The final destination is not all that matters; how you get there becomes as important or even more important than that.
There is a Zen in creating self limitation, accepting and respecting those limits and pressures while living and working. It helps you to have discipline and get the most out of possibilities in difficult situations.
In photography, it helps me to stay closer to my subjects and their personality...I can invest more time and effort in understanding and appreciating them instead of trying too hard to create the perfect light or pose. I also believe that there is enough beautiful light around us, and it's just a matter of finding it in the right way in each situation.
Sez G: Who are your models?
Wolf189: My models are wonderful women who are willing to open up to me freely. They trust me and allow me to get close to them and have a chance to read them. They are very honest people, and I get a good vibe from their personality and characters.
I need to feel an immediate connection between us...a pretty face and great figure is not enough, unless I want to do old-fashioned fine art nude work. I might find my models on the streets or in modeling sites or agencies. I enjoy the surprise in shooting a passionate subject who hasn't done a photo session before.
Sez G: How is your art influenced by mathematics, physics and engineering?
Wolf189: Compositions and lights are two major elements in photography. Mathematics has a close connection with both...well to be honest, in my opinion mathematics has a close connection to everything even emotions. We don't have to explain everything in a dry math language though...it actually can be very poetic.
I subconsciously use those backgrounds and educations in my photographs, apparently...it's not planned, but I end up finding patterns in my compositions depending on the mood of subject, myself and photograph. The angle of camera, framing etc.
Sez G: Where are you based?
Wolf189: These days I am mostly on the road, frequenting LA, Las Vegas, Phoenix and NYC. A gypsy life of some sort.
Sez G: You also paint very beautiful, stark oil paintings. How does inspiration lead you to paint?
Wolf189: I started to draw at a very young age and had my very first solo show in my early teen years. But all of a sudden, I was mesmerized by the magic of cinema and photography; all of the drawings became a thing of the past.
Over the last couple of years, I felt a need to experience new mediums and decided to give painting a shot. I was surprised at how liberating it was to experiment without any expectations of the results. Now I paint as often as I can. The concept is often surrealistic landscapes in subtle compositions with minimal color palettes.
Sez G: What's next for you?
Wolf189: I'm in process of finalizing a book called "Women, A-Z...a book project." I have been photographing different subjects who somehow have to maintain a public profile over the last few years...from artists to sport champions, from news anchors to actresses, singers, dancers, business owners etc. The style of shots varies from candid portraits to conceptual work, to fashion and even erotica.
I also have been working on various photo essays and body of works in different styles...mostly in fashion and erotica but not limited to them. For example a dear project of mine called "Inconsequential Culture" which I have been shooting it during last year in documentary style to present to "Magnum Photos."
I'm participating in a rather fun gallery show in Hobart Galleries with two paintings and eight photographs in January of 2008 as well, on an invitation by Mr. Ken Mierzwa.
And finally, I'm working on a feature film project which have been a passion of mine during last 7-8 years and hoping to finally make it a reality one of these days.
To learn more about Wolf 189 visit Wolf189.com.
Wolf 189 - by Sez G.