Today’s exclusive feature on Cultartes is Iasmina Panduru aka P.Ias. Fashion photographer, filmmaker and illustrator, Iasmina first caught my eyes when I was fooling around on Instagram; as I’m always in search for awesome creative minds I instantly followed her to keep up with her provocative work. From admiring her portfolio to interviewing her, everything was a piece of cake, since she’s such a lovely and understanding person. I invite you to discover Iasmina as if you were in her shoes, and also take time to enter her universe as she reveals the intimacy of our generation.
How did you decide you were going to focus on photography and how did social media worked for you?
I started focusing more on photography when I became obsessed with attending the film photography classes in my 3rd year of UNI. I studied cinema at UNATC In Bucharest and all I can say is that class helped me a lot with mastering the 35mm film, a dream I had since high school. After my Erasmus exchange in the beginning of 2017 in Portugal, I became more and more fond of photography, both digital and analog so I started sharing my work on Facebook, Instagram and eventually Behance. I certainly had more growth and appreciation than I expected, mostly because I knew so many people that were focusing on photography at the time, which cut a bit of my motivation. But I continued to create and share my work on the internet and eventually many people got in touch with me, congratulating me for my vision. It was breathtaking to see others admire what I do and even get inspired by it. It’s definitely a feeling I cannot compare with anything else.
How would you describe your work?
I would say “on the edge” because I was always attracted of opposites and love to create atmospheres with characters that don’t fit in with the background, when at the same time they perfectly do.
Cultartes focuses on the idea of unconventional, as well as our motto suggests “Fuck Your Standards!”. Do you have any boundaries or rules when it comes to photography? When do you say stop?
I’m completely in love with the unconventional but I would say stop when the models feel uncomfortable. I love pushing people to their limits but there’s no more fun if the people involved in my work don’t feel as enthusiastic as me about it. When the models, makeup artists, assistants or any other people that help me with my projects are satisfied with the results, I am more than happy.
I reckon that before starting to write for Cultartes and document about photography, I wasn’t aware that nude photography can create such a “refreshing” mood. I’m definitely more drawn to this seductive stage of photography than ever before. What do you feel about nudes?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked me about this. I recently had a conversation about nudes and body exposure with a photographer friend from Egypt. It was quite intense as their culture and tradition treats the human body as a taboo, especially when it comes to women. To be honest, for me, shooting nudes feels the same way as for a painter to sketch naked human bodies. It is about the study of shapes, proportions, colors, lights and shadows and all this techniques you can use to highlight the most natural of the human forms – the earthly cage. It is what we are made of and something to be anything but ashamed of. It is something to show and explore as every spot of imperfection makes it more unique, more beautiful to capture. In my opinion, the last thing that should be considered taboo is our bodies. We should try to break society’s idea about constantly sexualising nakedness by following the lifestyle adopted by many tribes that still embrace their purest form without feeling the need of objectification. A good representation of this concept was shown by Christian Razvan, another amazing Romanian photographer which had an exhibition called “Raw Meat Market”, that explores society’s views on female objectification and their comparison to slices of meat.
Nudes are since always, we were born nude; then why do people seem so offended and bothered by seeing a nipple? What is so “taboo” about it?
I wish I had a great answer for this question but unfortunately I can only say that us, humans, tend to be bothered by the simplest and most natural things that exist. From urine, sperm, sweat and tears to blood menstruation and public breastfeeding, people are becoming more and more offended of what is actually in “the human nature”. Even “love” is considered nowadays to be a reason of embarrassment rather than of joy.
The sets explore the bodies of men and women in terms of seduction and BDSM culture as a form of art.
These sets of unpublished photos seem both erotic and hardcore. What message do you want to convey?
The sets explore the bodies of men and women in terms of seduction and BDSM culture as a form of art. Lucy’s Diamonds was supposed to take shibari bondage to a higher level but unfortunately we didn’t find a potential rieger and stronger ropes to elevate the model in the air. Regardless, I am satisfied with the result and I feel that I have captured the Japanese vibe quite well, while exploring the fragility of women at the same time. Belladonna’s Tears is a set that tries to show the struggle of the acceptance and the embracing of a transsexual’s new gender dysphoria. As controversial as it seems, the pictures received a lot of attention and their reach was quite impressive. I was so happy to see that more and more people got engaged in these posts because I wanted them to find that there’s no such thing as “normality”. To me “normal” means being and doing something you are most comfortable with, regardless of what others think and of course, as long as it does not affect them directly. I think people should start understanding this and whatever the F they want!
What’s the relationship like between a photographer and a nude model during, and after, a shoot?
As relaxed as possible. The nude model is not just a model, it’s a person, a human being, so, of course they should be treated likewise. Befriend them, get to know them better, ask them questions, about themselves, make them feel comfortable in your presence. When you shoot don’t force them to take certain poses but on the contrary, encourage them to improvise from time to time to see how receptive they are with your ideas. In the end, the models are the actors in your own “movie”.
What’s the difference between nude photography and pornographic photography?
I believe that there’s a fine line between artistic nudes and pornographic ones. If a picture yells for sexual attention it’s quite easy to notice, while a picture that holds your attention because of certain techniques used or color and light manipulation will surely be appreciated for it’s artistic purposes. One thing is to be slightly naughty and another to be provoking. I personally prefer to leave the audience with a taste of curiosity and a set of questions, after each project I create.
I feel like no one questioned whether a nude photographer would pose naked in front of a camera. Would you?
I actually have some semi nude shoots of myself, but only with a few photographers and they were well selected and trustworthy friends whose works I admire a lot. I don’t think I would ever accept to shoot for some dodgy photographers or strangers, no matter the situation. If you want to shoot me we should become friends first, “issa rule”. Unfortunately there are too many fake photographers out there who have been accused of rape and sexual assault so i’d never wanna risk and I wish the same for my models. Just be careful, always!
Why do you think society always falls into the trap of having certain standards of beauty?
Great question! I’m glad I have the chance to talk publicly about this. Beauty standards exist since forever. In the Victorian times, beauty could only be noticed in Rubensian figures whilst in the 20th century being skinny was the ultimate deal. I personally think it all started because of the drug use of celebrity figures which kinda created a stereotype, but at least nowadays they have acknowledged more types of beauty out there. The reason these standards of beauty appear is because certain “role models” that society is following are influencing the everyday life of ordinary people. From actors, singers, models to bloggers, vloggers and influencers, the social media has boomed with famous people of all kinds which are deciding what is beautiful and what not. And it’s true, this leads to massive disagreements but to be honest it’s great because it gives space for more opinions, right?
Is there anything you want to be remembered for?
I certainly wish to be remembered as an inspiration for both artists and non artists. I want to reach as many people as possible and to make them empathize with my work. I want to be able to touch people’s soul and make them recognize my pieces from thousand others. I don’t want to be seen just as a photographer, but as an artist, an autèur. I don’t want to be known, I want to be felt.
All copyrights: (c) P.Ias