Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Casern: Nico by Jenswac
Over the years I have often been fascinated by the artists and images that combine beauty with destruction. Some of my favorite shoots and features have focused on young men, at their peek physically and sexually, surrounded by, and within buildings and locations long abandoned and forgotten. The contrast between the human form, breathing and alive with a dead location is both visually compelling and often strangely erotic.
I am not sure there is a more fitting example of a dead location than an old soviet casern in Leipzig, Germany. This is where photographer Jenswac shot 31 year old German model Nico. The first few images are actually from the second part of the shoot which was in a field outside of the city. Nico says the focus of these images show more or less a country boy having fun in the grassland. Most of the pictures try to show some movement, which means they had to do one situation several times. The life and movement in the field contrast the more somber, still feeling of the first part of the shoot within the Casern.
One of the things that runs through my mind when I when I feature certain locations is the stories and history of that location. I remember last year when I was profiling model Tyler in an old mill was thinking, and hearing the voices of all the miners who worked there in the past. With a military barracks, you can just imagine the history, the fear, life and death that once inhabited the location.
'I'm absolutely into art, like performance art, fine and visual arts, photography, literature and music. And I try to combine these arts and it's also a kind of testing borders, entering new spaces. That is also meant literally as I love to work in certain spaces and locations like old buildings, abandoned factories and so on. I like the contrasts there one can work with or one can stage. And also the light and colors.'
Nico describes the area they shot in as huge with different buildings, most of them actually overgrown. It was a sunny summer day so they were fortunate to have had great natural light. The goal was to use different places and locations to connect the damage and destruction with masculinity and strength. Nico says working with Jenswac was easy and he always gave him the feeling he was giving the photographer what he was looking for. 'He gave me good hints how to move and pose. He had great ideas how to use the surroundings and he was never disappointed if an idea failed.'