In The Mood
I live in Frankfurt and here in the Rhine-Main region there is really only one company that is dedicated to photography and that is Leica. At the company headquarters in Wetzlar, an exhibition by Rankin is running until September 2023.
To find ideas for a shoot, you have to look left and right. Beyond the edge of your nose. And then you discover things everywhere that would be potentially interesting. My readership (or do you say viewership?) is similar to my age. That's why things from the eighties fit pretty well.
Music is a wondrous thing. It creates a soft carpet of sounds and washes it into our ears. It gets us in the mood and that's exactly why it's helpful to play beautiful music at a shoot. But what is beautiful music?
I have been a secret fan of Penélope Cruz for many years. I am fascinated by the way she plays, because she seems completely authentic. At the same time, she embodies what I always try to capture in women: Pride and strength. Without losing her femininity! One of her first films is called Jamón, Jamón and it is now on arte.
Some music videos have an iconic character. But maybe I'm wrong and that's just a very personal impression. But since music videos are often the playground of talented directors, there might be something to it. I speak of clips like Lies by Is Tropical.
In the 1980s, quite a few films were shot that shaped my youth or conveyed the feeling of the time incredibly well. When I was a child Crocodile Dundee was cool. But I refer more to the teenage years and blockbusters like La Boum or Dirty Dancing. And there are also lesser-known strips.
Sometimes it's really good to think outside the box. As a photographer, I am not only interested in photographs. I'm interested and fascinated by the skills of other artists and find it meditative and inspiring to see what they create.
If I was to name an artist who inspires me the most currently, my answer would be: Cameron Hammond. The Australian based photographer transports the feeling of the 80s like no other. Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling when viewing images, so don't miss his work.
Christmas time is always time to browse through photo books. And so I am very much pleased that Czech photographer Lukas Dvorak has just published a book. The specialist for black and white motives has fascinated me for a long time and his works from the past thirteen years are now presented in this printed edition.
Art inspires and other artists fascinate and inspire me. Thinking outside the box is particularly fascinating. I have nothing to do with acrobatics, but when I saw Marion Crampe dancing on the pole, I was deeply impressed. She is a multiple champion in her field and I saw immediately why.
The great thing about my job is that visual inspiration can be found everywhere in everyday life. On a walk through nature, in a shopping center, while traveling. And although I focus myself on photography, it is often different art that helps to create connections and encourage new ideas.
I often think about my own work. In doing so, I realize that I'm too good, that I repeat myself too much and that I don't really produce enough new things. It's not that easy to break free of conventions and to dare to try out something completely new.
Even though I am a nude photographer I get inspired by many things around me. There's architecture, nature and of course, also fashion. I love to watch runway shows, okay, not on a daily basis, but every now and then. This one by Iris van Herpen is amazing.
Watching behind the scenes of a photo shoot is great. Unfortunately I have not produced such clips for a long time. Yet, I have to admit, if they are done right, they are a huge inspiration to me. Moving pictures instantly tell about the mood and transport a feeling. This is underlined by the music. And it feels like the model is flirting with the viewer.
For me, physical fitness is one of the basic requirements a good model should bring. A bit of jogging, cycling, swimming and climbing stairs are good for endurance. And with 5 to 15 minutes a day, you can also train your muscles very well. I have trained with YouTube for the past twelve months.
How true is advertising's most repeated phrase? Is sex really the most effective way to sell products? If you expect answers, this is not the place to search for them. I did not do any research, but watched some old commercials and made my own conclusion.
Every photographer has their own style. The longer I work as a photographer, the more I notice how my style consolidates, how perspectives and poses repeat. Sometimes I'm afraid of being able to keep up with the zeitgeist. It's just that I don't want to become the old guy who still takes photos from twenty years ago.
As a photographer I learned the importance of looking left and right. You find inspiration everywhere if you keep your eyes open. But what about when you want to fall asleep? Recently I learned about a trend called ASMR. And to my surprise this is eye-opening when you check it out on YouTube.
You hear me saying: inspiration is everywhere. I get inspired by so many things I see and experience. But to be honest, the truth is: Most of the time, I get uninspired. Uninspiration is part of the process, I guess. Like there is day and night, sunshine and rain or sense and nonsense.
During Corona times I happen to do a lot more desk work than usual. Currently, I am working on theoretical knowledge for my next book project. As I literally know nothing about cars, but fancy the cars and girls theme, I began to educate myself on the car subject.
For some it's a melody, for some it's a scent. For me, the right visuals get me into a feel-good mood. A mix of childhood feelings, warmth and security, combined with the exotic charme of unknown places.
I would sing this song to my cats on a daily basis (if I had cats). This Miami Vice tribute by the band Dance With the Dead from their album Out of Body is amazing. To be honest, the whole album has no filling songs. Every piece is an amazing frame of mind.
Initial D is a Japanese street racing manga series written and illustrated by Shuichi Shigeno. At the moment I am working on the concept of my next photo book which circles around cars. Therefore I am sucking up everything inspiring about cars.
Gigi Ben Artzi is a New York-based film director and photographer. He is best known for his narrative short film and music videos. They are often disturbing, ironical, totally off or at least very unusual. What makes them inspiring to me.