We’ve followed Andrei Gram’s work for a long time and what a great opportunity to find more about his work and his photo skills than interview him. This young Romanian artist mostly captures stunning, mind-bending nude photographs; his portfolio is mysterious, beautifully processed and breaks the ordinary nude mold in so many outstanding ways.
First off, please tell us more about yourself! How did you become interested in photography?
Since childhood I tried to transpose my imagination in reality by different means, I have tried sculpture, then drawing but somehow photography found me in 2007 and will stay with me forever.
What camera do you use?
I use a Fujifilm x-e2 with the kit lens and a few other fixed lenses from Nikon and Canon with mount adapters.
Nudes are since always, we were born nude; then why do people seem so offended and bothered about seeing a nipple. What is so “taboo” about it? Now, what is it about nude photography that interested you the most?
I think there are many reasons why people act like that, religion, education, family values passed down that lead to problems with the sexuality of the person in general by keeping taboo sex subjects; since we are young somebody else is telling us what is good and what is not for us. I can add here that are also people saturated with a great amount of unfiltered porn and cheap erotism online. This lack of knowledge and culture often leads to repulsion. There is true that the line between nude and other forms of erotism is very thin, often can be crossed and if you do not have a good filter can lead you to the wrong side of the road both as a visual artist and as a viewer. I think that this subject is sensitive and complicated in its every form and will remain like this for a long time.
I view nude photography as a natural progresion down my photography path. Skin texture, body shapes, the way the lines combine with the light creating harmony, the infinit spectrum of photographic opportunities to create new images, and the most important the fact that for me at least, the nude body is also a way to encode meaning and message into the images that I create.
Music is my drug of choice.
There’s always something impressive about black and white photography. As surprising as it may sound, it’s that simplicity I sympathize with. Why a monochrome image instead of a colorful one?
I often go to extremes. I started photography by taking my camera my tripod after the sunset and spent the night out snapping long exposure pictures because night time in the city full of colors gives me a special feeling, but in nude photography, portrait photography, black and white is God is that simplicity that lets you gaze behind the courtain of colors, to see the feeling, the crude sensations, the textures, your brain without the distraction of colors searches for meaning in that image and when you put all these reasons on printed paper is breathtaking.
Could you tell us about how you set up a shot? How do you choose your models?
Almost every shooting is planned in advance after a new idea comes up. I like to use artificial light, this allows me to get closer the image that I have in mind. Most of the shots are taken in studio for that reason. Regarding the models, here I have to say that is a little bit difficult, I am not the usual glam / fashion type of photographer, so I have to set up a good relation with the model so she or in the near future he, should be on the same vibe as I am. Also for the first time I will make a confession, in all of the images starting 1 year ago and until now is the same model. It wasn’t planned to be this way, but it is already a project that I am proud of, just by putting the same person in so many situations and perspectives.
You recently started to make caricatures out of people’s portrait. Is this something that defines you more than photography? Or you simply want people to see your fun, childish side?
I like to alter reality to distort it in any way that my imagination dictates me. Photo manipulation is very close to my work, I started photography first by learning to edit and is a great tool for me. This project does not define me, but is there as a part of me, next to night photography, portraits, nudes and another older project to make mandalas out of body shapes. It started from my lack of skill in drawing and wanting to create something funny, and we all love a good caricature in the end.
I followed your work for a long time and I can’t say I stopped for a favorite photograph. I’d literally had to create a portfolio out of these; all of them are inspiring, raw, mind-bending, surreal and the list goes on and on. Do you have a favorite one?
Thank you! Indeed, until now I haven’t done too much editorial type of photo sessions, they are all different ideas expressed in various moments of my life. I do have a favorite one, is a portrait of a friend of mine. There are 2 special reasons for being my favorite. The first is that she has no images with her face online and doesn’t let anyone to photograph her and the second and most important is that in the image I have hid many messages and ideas in plain site and it marked a change in the way I regard and relate to photography.
Have you thought of creating images to combine with literally works that you love? What would be the main subject?
I haven’t done to much reading lately, but when I do I feel refreshed in ideas and inspiration, but didn’t tought before to combine the two. I like WWI and WWII war stories, for example: “Nothing new on the western front” would be one of them. With a big enough set and the proper props I think I could come up with someting for sure.
Your works were exhibited in Rare Gathering | Unusual Basement Exhibition, organized by Lupu Marius and Melania Spataru. Was this your first exhibition? Any thoughts about it?
Indeed it was a first. I have met Marius few months ago and we connected instantly, we speak the same language so when he invited me to be a part of this project it came for me like a glove. I loved it, also I salute both Melania and Marius courage and hard work to be able to achieve this wonderful project and hope there will be Rare Gathering part II.
What modern artists inspire your work? Can you tell a reason why?
I am self taught in photography and editing, I knew little about the body of work of other photographers and also at the beginning I tried not to get to close to others work being afraid not to get influenced. I love street photography but I cannot express it so, I like to watch others do it so good like Fan Ho and Dimitri Markov, I also like the style of german nude photographers in general, but the most I like the work of Misha Gordin for it’s very inspiring body of work. He puts in his work messages, ideas in a particular way, different from what I have seen in other photographers work.
We always imagine writers smoking, drinking wine or the like, in order to help their creative process. Do you have such a habit?
Music is my drug of choice, helps me relax and lets go to my mind to wander in search of ideas, but of course also from time to time I take journeys to the depths of mind assisted by different ways. Smoke and wine go together really good to help me set up the right mood for the creative process.
Anything to add in the end?
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this interview.
All photos credits: Andrei Gram
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