BYRON REZA AFSHAR.

AN INTERVIEW.

byron reza afshar (1)

Hey Byron! I think your photography is stunning and beautiful. What inspires you?

Hey Christos! Thank you! I think the same of yours!

I actually seldom get inspiration from other artists…I would rather say that when  I’m taking pictures, it is performed instinctively: my inspiration comes with the surrounding of people and my environment. I am lucky enough to be living in a city where a huge amount of interesting people live. Most of my friends could be called freaks and carry fancy looks. I never get bored watching them as it feeds the creativity in my work. In some circumstances, usually unintentionally, something happens and, if I have my camera in my bag, I press the button and magic happens. This is the reason why I don’t work with defined ideas, all is performed instinctively and in a fast pace.

On a daily basis, I get more stimulus from music and fine arts than from any other photographer…I even think that photography is a boring art…I like comparing my work to the music of Basic Channel. Like their music, my pictures are very grainy, cold, nostalgic and dull yet bearing positive perspectives.

One day (at Berghain), someone told me that my pictures are melancholy and funny at the same time just the way I actually am. I believe that’s the best description that could be given to the essence of my work.

byron reza afshar (7)

When did you start taking pictures?

I started taking pictures in 2010, so not such a long time ago. I simply found an old 10€ camera on a flea market and began using it.

As I said before, I have the chance to be in a scene where so many interesting people evolve and sharing their lives feeds my vision and creativity ; like muses. Posting those snapshots on Facebook allowed me to gain quite a few followers and people praising my work, whilst I was doing it just for fun and without any technical knowledge. Following this success, I was encouraged by quite a number of people to pursue photographic studies, which I did, after quitting my previous education in Scandinavian languages and art history at the Humboldt University.

byron reza afshar (4)

I really liked your pics of your first exhibition in AKA GALLERY BERLIN. Tell me about your project .

There were actually few things that happened almost at the same time that led me to this project.

My exhibition was named „Spuren und Seile“ (traces and ropes) as these are both elements visible in every single picture showed at the exhibition. The idea originated from my friend Noel who asked me if I would be interested in taking pictures of himself while practicing bondage on a person of my choice. I kept that idea in mind until I met Jane, which I thought, because of her young age (19) and her asian beauty, could perfectly fit the concept. At the same time, Jon John, AKA’s owner, proposed an exhibition in his space. As AKA is at the same time a tattoo-parlor and an art-gallery, I found that the idea of this shooting could fit perfectly with Jon John’s conception of body art and modification.

My aim was actually to create a more intimate and bashful vision of bondage over the one that is used typically ; something that would avoid any vulgar or sexual connotation. A concept that led me to take only pictures of the traces of the ropes and from the ropes themselves. No single picture shows the actual process of the bondage, but rather the creepy beauty of those stigmata left by the tension of Noel’s work.

byron reza afshar (3)

Have you ever tried to make a different kind of photography like documentary or self-portraits?

I haven’t tested that many areas to be honest. There is one style I’m working in and with which I am feeling quite comfortable. That style can be applied to many different photographic categories, like fashion photography, documentary, etc. That might come from the fact that my modus operandi is quite documentary and, as I said before, very instinctive. I try not to be stuck in one single kind of work while at the same time staying true to myself and to my tastes.

byron reza afshar (6)

Who are your favourite artists?

As I’ve said before, I am more interested in other art forms, like music or fine arts than photography. My biggest discovery in the latter field actually happened when I was 13 or so and came across the dull and sterile aesthetics of the fashion pictures of Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin and, of course, Richard Avedon. I was shocked by the intransigence and the purity of their pictures, and this, put into fashion-photography, a genre where most shootings always look the same. Since then I knew I would make something in that direction.

The discovery of the New Objectivity (Albert Renger-Patzsch, Karl Blossfeldt, August Sander) has also been a big moment for me several years ago. I think my love of grain and black and white comes from this.

Bernd and Hilla Becher’s work fascinates me  utmost, mainly because of its conceptuality and coldness. Like the ones of Roman Opalka or On Kawara.

The way Dan Falvin uses the light in his neon pieces has also changed my way of seeing artificial lightning.

I’ve always been obsessed by repetition and the idea in art to show a single moment as part of an everlasting one; that this moment has no beginning nor an end ; hence my use of snapshots and analog cameras. I like bearing in mind that what I am showing is an impact, that what one can see in my photography is actually just a short instantané from a longer story.

In music, the works of composers/sound-artists like Phill Niblock, Tony Conrad, Steve Reich, Morton Feldman, John Cage, Luigi Nono, Francisco López, Alvin Lucier, Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, The Hafler Trio, Mike Parker, Zbigniew Karkowski or Stephen O’Malley have been very influential to me in my lifetime: the idea of the elasticity in time and repetition are, I think, present in my photos.

byron reza afshar (2)

Are you working on a new project?

I am preparing my third exhibition with my friend Johi von Bruises. It will take place at Shift, in Tresor’s building. We named it „11-12-13“ because it covers the work of the last two years, so to say, since we’ve begun working ‚seriously’ with this medium.

We will be projecting on Shift’s walls with the help of two beamers, without any logical order, hundreds of pictures that we have been taking during this time frame. This will be a sort of visual diary showing the evolution of our work as well as our own evolution as young people in the city of Berlin.

During this event, I’ll be also performing two sound pieces I’ve been working on since 2007.

http://byronreza.tumblr.com/

Interview by Christos Kapralos.

2 comments

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s