Arber Sefa is a young photographer based in Brussels. His work consists mostly of stunning black and white portraits. Coming from Kosovo and having studied at the Art Academy of Bruges, he understands what it takes to capture the real essence of his subjects.
When and how did you get interested in photography?
I got in contact with photography when I studied Acting in the Art Academy of Bruges at the age of 15. Those who were studying Audio Visual Arts, often used to pass by along the playground with their camera or pictures they just had developed. I also remember there where pictures hanging on the wall of masters in Photography such as Man Ray, Edward Steichen etc. which strongly appealed to me. It gave me a certain excitement to start taking photos myself. So eventually my mother bought me a digital camera, a belated birthday present for my 15th birthday and I started to experiment.
What does photography mean to you?
It’s about capturing what I truly love. It’s about sharing my world and immortalizing emotions. It’s about showing who I am and how I think. I believe it’s the language I can be the most honest with.
You are a big fan of black and white. Why is that? How does it aid to your work?
The use of black and white has never felt like a choice to me. It helps empathizing emotion and I often find colours to distracting for my subjects. I like the classic feeland prefer the timeless quality. It also helps providing the mysterious atmosphere in my work which I find important.
What makes a good portrait according to you?
I’d say, first it’s important to choose the person(s) you feel connected to. People with a characteristic face will often make you look twice at them. To arrive to a good portrait is often an intimate process because you are getting very close to the person. That’s why taking your time and making the model feel comfortable is very important in order to have the captivating expression I’m looking for.
Are you working on something specific at the moment?
I’m finishing my ‘body’ project, which is a black and white self-portrait series focusing on the surreal vision of the human body. The upcoming project is called ‘About Love’, challenging myself to capture the intimacy of couples. It’s an important subject in my life lately.
Interview by Emma TheCatt