Homo Urbanus Europeanus

Jean Marc Caracci por Héctor Martínez Sanz

Niram Art Website

The Project “Homo Urbanus Europeanus” (HUE) is the fruit of 3 years of work and has already been exhibited in 31 European capitals. His author, the photographic artist Jean Marc Caracci, has covered the urban places of the European man in the same way that an archeologist searches for, digs up and tries to reconstruct the primitive spaces of the first humanoids. Nevertheless, neither vessels, spear heads nor rupestrian paintings are brought to light – maybe some graffiti and street painting – but spaces which are still present in front of the lens and of the human eye. This regards the “homo sapiens” who lives in geometrical spaces formed by rectilinear lines, parallels and angles which transform themselves into lights and shadows that may afterwards recreate them. This regards us, the Europeans.

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Beware of Artists by Eva Defeses

They may show you who you really are

The fact that an artist like the Spanish photographer MIEDHO would have been burnt at the steak in the glorious times of the Spanish Inquisition is enough to make me curious about his works. The fact that in 2010 an artist like MIEDHO still faces a negative reaction from the public because of his “dark”, “gothic” works is troubling. Haven’t we been able yet to see through the stereotypes? Haven’t we learned that art should be loved for art’s sake and that the purpose of art is art itself?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, indeed. For I see true Beauty in the photographies of this young Spanish artist who breaks all rules but the artistic ones. MIEDHO’s photographies show an ellaborate research work, a solid pictorial knolwedge as well as a bewildering sense of creating beauty by mixing colours and textures.

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Natalie Schor

Natalie Schor

E.D. You studied Art History at the University of Tel Aviv. Why did you choose Photography and when did you discover the magic of the photographic art?

N.S. I was already a student when my boyfriend, Sharon, bought me a digital camera for our fifth anniversary. I started to take my camera almost everywhere I went, catching things that seemed to me interesting enough, without directing or planning ahead. Soon, I fell in love with this occupation and began taking basic photography classes, honestly I have never imagined this would turn out to be my dream…

E.D. Your photographies are glimpses of reality. What do you take in consideration when you shoot a picture?

N.S. The technical aspect is secondary to me. Firstly, I concentrate on the topic, the original situation. I love a theme that conceals a story, while it aims at something I can relate to. Clearly I make sure there is  proper lighting, and I choose to place the object in the most interesting angle possible. The tendency is of course interesting colors that attract the eye.

E.D. You grew up in a family that values art and culture, surrounded by beautiful art objects. Do you think that this has forged in a way your path in life?

N.S. No doubt about it. I grew up in a family that loves and respects literature, music, and fine arts. My father is an art collector and my mother has a gifted talent when it comes to designing and drawing. Art books on the shelf and paintings on the walls drove me to love and curiosity. I tried my hand in several areas (guitar, poetry, and drawing) and among all these, photography suddenly became the most dominant and appealing to me.

Natalie Schor: Photography "The Old City"

Natalie Schor: Photography "The Old City"

E.D. Do you prefer working with people you know or just with complete strangers in the street?

N.S. As I mentioned, I do prefer the reality that surprises me (which means, to be somehow involved with people you do not know… snap shots etc.)

Of course I’d love to photograph people who are close to me, whom I can share my vision with. But, in general I am a very easy person to get along with and completely open to new ideas and new people.

Natalie Schor: "Orient - Occident"

Natalie Schor: "Orient - Occident"

E.D. Your photographies always have titles. Do you think the titles help the viewer understand your own feelings towards the photography?

N.S. Yes. Although I agree some photos don’t need titles. If you look at a photo called “Untitled”, you can have a personal interpretation, or… the photo simply speaks for itself. Nevertheless, just like in a painting, the artist feels the need to make a statement, to pass on a feeling, an opinion, or an idea. My perception is: a title can help you “see” better and it can equally destroy…However, I still prefer a title.

Natalie Schor: "Life as a Metaphor"

Natalie Schor: "Life as a Metaphor"

E.D. Let’s take:”Life as a Metaphor” for instance. The title gives us a clue towards the meaning of the photo. Can you offer more insight on this specific title / picture?

N.S. It’s a daily scene in a public place. The characters’ position can perhaps indicate their importance, or status in life. I saw humor but also sadness. The attitude of the characters, lost in a surreal setting… metal sky, earth made of stones, and the people trapped in between. Lighting also has an important role, and it creates a separation between the characters. Many titles ran across my mind, but  I finally chose this one, which directs you to a deeper observation, and can be understood in several ways.

E.D. Your photographies are surrounded by a melancholic air, they seem to bring together 2 separate worlds: one of innocence and childhood and the other one of bitterness of a somewhat regretful adulthood. As a young, emerging artist do you find yourself in the middle of these 2 worlds?

Natalie Schor: "Cosanzeana"

Natalie Schor: "Cosanzeana"

N.S. On the one hand I still feel sometimes as a child even though I am almost 27. I feel some of my photos come from a very naive place. On the other hand, I am very connected to the seriousness of older people, because I find it very real. There is a whole life behind them. So much experiences, pain, joy, loss. Something you can see in every wrinkle, every look, and it touches my heart in a way I can’t describe. These two extremes are supposedly not related, but they are…

E. D. “Sleeping birds” is an obvious allusion to Mihai Eminescu’s poem. Do you find inspiration in his poetry?

Natalie Schor: Photography "Sleeping Birds"

Natalie Schor: Photography "Sleeping Birds"

N.S. When I was a child, my grandmothers used to put me in bed and sing this song to me. They knew many Mihai Eminescu’s poems by heart. This is why the title came to me quite naturally. If I look at a photo I have just taken and it may suggest a name related to a poem, well, it turns out to be a very satisfying moment for me. Robert Frank (Such a wonderful photographer) said: “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice…” if I could reach that, nothing can be more fulfilling.

E.D. “Dialogue of the deaf” is another well-chosen title, full of subtle irony. Thinking about this picture, do you believe your artwork should express something, have an objective or do you just value art for art’s sake, only for aesthetic principles?

Natalie Schor: Photography "Dialogue of the Deaf"

Natalie Schor: Photography "Dialogue of the Deaf"

N.S. This photo reflects a situation that exists in Israel. I won’t go into politics, but there is a feeling of irony and disappointment implied. I chose that name because I couldn’t think of anything else to symbolize the situation. Two completely different worlds, yet they suddenly appear before you for one moment, something you don’t see every day. My intention is to give a photo a few layers, I wouldn’t want it to be just a “nice picture” to look at. Even when I photograph still life, I try to give a sense of depth, and I wish I had always succeeded in it…

E.D. Some of your photographies seem to disclose a pictorial approach (Sleeping birds, Tribute to Magritte). Do you take interest in other art forms, like painting for instance?

Natalie Schor: Photography "Tribute to Magritte"

Natalie Schor: Photography "Tribute to Magritte"

N.S. The painting domain is no stranger to me. I do try to render my photos a rich pictorial language. In the university, I learned about different streams in art, to analyze works of art, the laws of perspective, light and shadow and composition. Somehow, I may instinctively translate this knowledge into my photos.

Natalie Schor: Photography (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

Natalie Schor: Photography (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

E.D. What are your favourite artists (not only photographers)?

N.S. So many! But here are some of the most prominent of them who receive my highest appreciation:

In painting: Renne Magritte, Joan Miro (I simply adore Surrealism) Reuven Rubin (his paintings are literally pure serenity), Baruch Elron (who was a friend of the family), and Corneliu Baba (I find his portraits excellent!).

Natalie Schor: Photography "No Longer a Saint" (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

Natalie Schor: Photography "No Longer a Saint" (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

In  photography, it is extremely difficult for me to say, since I love so many. I noticed I am mostly attracted by (how not surprising) daily street scenes, and photos in black and white. Some of my favorites are Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Helen Levitt, Chema Madoz and Dorothea Lange. I also love photo-journalism very much!

E.D. Thank you.


Photography Exhibition “Blue” by Germán Peraire at Espacio Niram, Madrid

The Nicole Blanco Art Galleries of Espacio Niram, Madrid, organise the Photography Exhibition entitled “Blue” by German Peraire. AT the opening: María del Mar Arias, art historian & Fabianni Belemuski, Director of Niram Artmagazine.

Sunday, the 6th of diciembre 2009, 21 h, Espacio Niram, Madrid, Spain



Germán Peraire, Espacio Niram

Germán Peraire, Espacio Niram

Interview with the Photographer Lucian Muntean, by Fabianni Belemuski & Eva Defeses

Tell me 3 characteristics that belong only to photography.

The spontaneity of photography – the possibility to obtain a complete work of art in a split second. It is due to this fact that photography has gained its place among the new artistic trends. Photography clearly has a documentary value which is far more superior to painting. Photography can render an image from reality and this can turn into evidence in a trial for instance, whereas the realism in painting cannot render it with such precision. Photography has become extremely accessible and easily obtained because of the development of the digital technology, but this also makes it more commonplace.

Lucian Muntean

Lucian Muntean

Black and white or colour?

I started with black and white but I have also worked in almost all my themes and projects in black and white and in colour (even if I didn’t exhibit the black and white ones so often because of technical reasons; lately, all agencies, newspapers and magazines publish their photographies almost exclusively in colour).

I always take with me a digital camera and also a film, black and white one. I decide which to use depending on the circumstances, some things I observe can be shown better in black and white or have a special graphical aspect, better for the monochromatic approach. Also, the atmosphere of a certain place can sometimes be rendered better in black an white. I “see” some shots directly in black and white, I know for certain that it is the best choice. One can draw the attention on the subject or on some symbolic elements by eliminating a messy chromatic aspect in favour of valuable grayish shades.

Fotografie de Lucian Muntean

Fotografie de Lucian Muntean

However, other times you may come across a rich chromatic atmosphere, brought out by a very good light, which almost “forces” you to use colour. This may also save you when you don’t have an obvious subject. One can appreciate a photography on a chromatic-base only.

You worked on numerous photo-reportages and projects, some of them about real circumstances (traditions such as the pig, the lamb, palinca, etc) cities, but others propose a distance from the real world (the dream, winter, window). Which is harder to render?

I have been working as a photo-reporter since 1997, so I have specialized in documentary photography and I have done many photo-reportages. I have learned that everyone has a story to tell. The challenge is to discover it, to know how to listen and how to render it. I initially  do some documentation work on the theme in question and I try to make some contacts. When I get on the field, the first and most important thing is to mingle with the people there. The secret I guess is to behave naturally. It is of utmost importance to win the trust of the one you have to work with.  It depends only on you whether the man will invite you inside his home or turn his back on you.

When it comes to personal projects I organize myself in such a way so that I have enough time. It is important not to hurry.  As soon as the interlocutor has accepted you , you can work freely and the “subject” can go on with his activity naturally.

I prefer to remain as discreet as possible and I also include in this the cameras I use. It is more comfortable for me to use a small camera that doesn’t arise curiosity.  You shouldn’t get in situations where the photographer is in the centre of the attention.

Fotografie de Lucian Muntean

Fotografie de Lucian Muntean

To digitally manipulate, retouch or not?

As I said, the photo reportage has a documentary characteristic, its job is to tell about what happened in that place. You shouldn’t intervene and manipulate things. Anyway, in a subjective way your own perception also gets transmitted. This is a basic principle for me. This is why I don’t retouch my photographies, I don’t crop them, replace them, I don’t change the light or the colours so that they should render as good as possible the atmosphere of the event.

When I work, I pay attention to the details, the composition, the chromatic aspect, the gestures of the characters. One is forced to pay attention to all these in a very short period of time, then you click, and that is it, anything else is painting. Of course, I also assume the inevitable mistakes.

You work covers many elements in the life of the village. What is it about these photo reportages that you find so appealing?

I prefer the social photo reportage, it is the one I feel most comfortable with. I have been working one  project called “Traditions during Transition” since 2000. Practically, I took the task of documenting the everyday life in a secluded mountain village in Apuseni, on the verge of the Romanian integration in the UE. I made frequent trips to Rogojel , where I made several series of photo reportages about the work in the fields, the distillation of the palinca,  the sacrifice of the Easter lamb or the Christmas pig.

I was interesting to see that in that village, that hadn’t experienced collectivization, they managed to keep unaltered the rhythm of life. But what couldn’t be changed by the war or by the communism is changing due to nowadays globalization. Since  2003 I have worked in team with 2 Frenchmen. Then, in 2007 we  presented the exhibition “Le Mond selon Rogojel” at the Multimedia Festival of Est-Ouest, France. In March 2008 – the exhibition “Traditions during transition at Rogojel” at the Matei Corvin House, Cluj, and  in may –  November 2008 at the Museum of Compared Art of Sangeorz Bai, Bistrita Nasaud.

The theme about the Christmas pig later evolved in a new project, “Long Live the Pig”, on which I worked together with the artists Maxim Dumitras and Cosmin Nasui. This project was exhibited in december 2008 at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant in Bucharest, and we were invited by  ICR Venice to exhibit it during the Vencie Bienale, in nov. 2009.

After the first month of your project “12 o’clock”, what did you feel when you saw all the photographies together, a small calendar of your own life?

I realized it was only the beginning… since I’ve decided to shoot one photo at the same time, daily, during a year. I think it is also an exercise of perseverance. It is right, I did have the real feeling of a personal calendar. I remembered many details, apart from that specific image of the day. It is interesting that I could be always in a different place, meeting different people.

Do you like other art forms besides photography? Digital art?

I am a conservative fellow. During 1994-1995 I worked as a ceramist painter at the Porcelain fabric of Sighisoara. During that time I also had a painting studio and I have always been attracted by drawing and painting. But once I started my studies at the University of Cluj-.Napoca, I started with photography. After more than 10 years I began to paint again. I find inspiration in Chinese Calligraphy and in Japanese painting. The simplicity and spontaneity of these techniques resemble photography and somehow, the circle is closed.

You haven’t approach eroticism in your work. Do you think it is all said about it in photography?

Yes, you are right, I haven´t touched this theme. We all know eroticism catches the eye, draws attention, but there is also the risk that the viewer may admire exclusively the subject and completely  forget about the photography and the photographer. I guess I am selfish about this, but that’s what I think.

Lucian Muntean Website: http://www.lucianmuntean.ro/

Born on 1974, in Sighisoara, Romania, Lucian Muntean graduated the Faculty of Geology in 2001. Starting with 1997, he worked for local and national newspapers like Ziua, Ziarul de Cluj, Dilema Veche, Pro Sport, Gazeta Sporturilor and with press agencies Rompres, Mediafax, Hepta from Bucharest.

Since 2006, he has been working for ADEVARUL national newspaper from Bucharest.

His passion for photography expressed itself in many personal exhibitions, showing images from Romania and countries such as France, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Zambia.