When I was around twenty years old, I turned to the world of photography and the first subject of investigation was, of course, myself. As many photographers before me, the exploration of the bodily limitation and the nakedness was somehow important in this process. It was about capturing the most sensitive and revealing aspect of myself, like the dream of standing naked in a crowd or in front of an audience.
Although, I have never had a naked dream before and my most memorable nightmare is about falling off my bike in slow motion. Understandably, given the many times that this has happened before, even in my adult life. Nevertheless, I can imagine what naked exposure feels like. However, as I grew older and wiser, I found that there was more important issues in the world than the ones I had with my own body. Besides no one else seemed to find it as revealing as I did, and the mystery of nakedness disappeared into the crowd.
Finding the balance between private and personal, as well as subjectivity and objectivity is, in my opinion, crucial and I found inspiration in the study of business. However, not by tailoring images to aim a specific target group or audience but to consider them in the process and the representation of photographic work. Surely, one can take pictures that are only meant for private viewing, however, in public viewing it might be worth considering what is in it for others to see.
So from a previous interest in visualizing familiarity within myself I took an interest in finding and visualizing familiarities in others or feelings, cultures and phenomena unknown to me. However, the self-explorative, experimental and phenomenological approach to photography is still essential. I believe, that the best way of perceiving the world is to gain a bodily experience of it and I found inspiration in photographers such as Sophie Calle, Shizuka Yokomizo and Duane Michals. What fascinated me about these photographers was both their way of telling stories by creating or staging visual experiences through participatory involvement but also in their interdisciplinary and photo-sequential representation of these stories.
During my studies I also became familiar with traditional and visual ethnographic methods to facilitate and validate research from a design and business perspective. Within the field of sustainable and visual communication I became interested in the way of using visual ethnography to analyze the needs of society and to visually represent research through different multi-sensorial outputs.
For example, inspired by Sophie Calle, I photographically followed a friend and interviewed her in order to gain knowledge on our increasing public surveillance society and in another project I asked participants to photograph their own homes and to choose an Airbnb home of preference in order to investigate how sharing economy users, based on imagery, select trustworthy homestay accommodation worldwide.
By projecting this onto my photographic work it has become not only a way of investigating human centered subjects but also a way of framing and conceptualizing projects. The creative process of how to gain visual material has become just as important as the visual material in itself. Not only can photographs evoke feelings or document existence and tell true or fictional stories but also generate empirical knowledge and insights that can lead to or be used in further processes or research.
Looking back I cannot say that my naked era was for nothing, as all journeys, even creative ones not, start from home.