‘’With fashion as a canvas and framework I could shift effortlessly from installation and performance to staged photography work. Combining the avant-garde with photojournalistic elements, conceptual art, high fashion and models in breathtaking landscapes seemed to bring a lot together that I loved.’’
Ger Ger is an Austrian conceptual artist and photographer born in Vienna, an avid admirer of the epic, a passionate connoisseur of fashion photography and cinematography. He has had more than 150 exhibitions throughout his career, and his work is known for its variety and richness, speaking to wide audiences and ranging from emotionally charged fashion photography to interactive installations and art performances.
With a large international fan base, and much respect in the fashion and art world, Ger started to receive his first awards when he was 15. Since then, he continued to receive honors, awards, and recognitions from all over the world: highlights include two Moscow International Photo Awards, the Prix ArsElectronica, the Japan Media Arts Festival Award, and a nomination for B&W Photographer of the year.
Today, he lives in Southern California and this is how he talks about his current home: “It turned out to be the most inspiring place for me and my work, and it is still very much so every day; the energy, the light, the weather and the landscapes… Being on location here is a dream that never gets old.’’
How did your career start?
“I got my first 35mm camera from my grandmother for my fifth birthday and I’ve been interested in the arts ever since I can remember. Back then I did not know a lot about photography and it was all intuitive and innocent. I loved taking pictures – landscapes and architecture in particular – but I couldn’t see the artistic value in anything that is solely capturing the world around me as it is – without staging, interfering or reinterpreting it. So I focused much more on drawing, painting and digital art.’’
”I feel I really didn’t have a choice. One day you wake up and realize ‘This is what I am.’ It’s almost like you didn’t want to see it and suddenly it’s clear and very real. You cannot deny it any longer. It’s not something I dreamed of or was actively working towards.”
”It takes time, ups and downs, and experience to develop depth, to shape an artistic voice, to focus, and to be consistent. Today my work is so much me that not all stories I tell are necessarily personal but the feelings driving them are. Most of my projects start with a feeling, others with an idea of a certain aesthetic. ”
When speaking about the market segment to which Ger Ger belongs, he emphasizes the great importance that strong focus and establishing his own niche has had: a focus on what’s special, unique and can take people’s breath away. The essence of fashion photography is exclusive luxury that comes from the intersection between haute couture and contemporary art. Publishers, collectors, curators, celebrities and brands alike find tenacity, passion, integrity, attention to detail and timeless quality in his work.
What is your goal in fashion photography?
‘’Images of the highest quality possible, pictures that have a context in the here and now but an even higher value in the future. In most regards I do not differentiate between assignments and personal projects. In both cases I try to create the best work within a given framework and ideally something the world hasn’t seen before.’’
He adds that since he began his fashion photography career, and thanks to social networks and evolutions in technology, there have been huge changes in sectors such as fashion, manufacturing, the retail market, seasonal concepts, and fashion photography.
For that reason, he says, “I also have a few projects in the works which hopefully reinforce people to slow down in between, to bring back quality and substance. Everybody in fashion shares one huge fear, slowing down. Everybody is longing for it but nobody wants to be the one who is left behind. So everybody is running faster and faster. Maybe my work will make a much bigger difference in the future than it did in the past.”
‘’I think we reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the interest in influencers and endless content without substance. More and more people feel the urge and need for a change and my work resonates with them.’’
For Ger, who discovered his skills when the Internet was just starting to gain popularity, an artist is somebody who is meant “to reflect on the world and to share his own perception and interpretations. To not stop or look away even when it’s ugly or it hurts. To dig deeper and start where other people stop. When others come home and turn on the TVs to switch off their brains and emotions after work, this is where artists start. I believe it is an artist’s obligation to do that work and make people see the world with different eyes. Make them cry and laugh, help people dream, show them beauty and inspire them to make the world a better place.’’
How can one be successful today?
“Having your own voice, having integrity, consistency, patience, and the heart in the right place.”
Speaking of fashion photography and its relations with catwalks and collections, Ger says that to impress an audience you must have the complete package: stage design, casting, soundtrack and atmosphere: ‘’The piece of clothing itself won’t suffice.’’ He reveals that Karl Lagerfeld is his favorite when it comes to creating impactful concepts for stage designs and locations, and in terms of producing experiences, he chooses Dior.
”When the lights go off, everybody feels that certain electricity in the air, the show starts, and if I find myself in tears that’s when a show for me is a success. Then a show is unforgettable. ”
Where does your inspiration come from?
‘’From my own memories, locations and places, from classic movies, beautiful light, clothes and basically everything beautiful. I’m also drawn to all kind of details and patterns and timeless elements from the past. I really never run out of ideas or inspiration. I’m always curious and never bored. Thus, I have to deal with the constant struggle of keeping up with all those ideas.‘’
“At the moment, I’m wearing lots of Calvin Klein in dark blue shades, I love monochromes. I need to admit that I find myself quite often putting aesthetics over functionality. As far as my work is concerned, I like the avant-garde, playing with volume [of the fabrics and clothes] and different elements of the past mixed with the contemporary. I really like Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood and Thom Browne.”
”A magazine of integrity, tranquility, of a feeling and artistic quality that simply does not exist anywhere else today. I really believe that it is a publication with a voice we can all enjoy and benefit from.”
The Unseasonal is the artist’s most recent project. He combines his fashion photography vision with art, new concepts in fashion seasons, and the changing social climate of the world. It also stands for the unusual and timelessness. The Unseasonal’s fashion stories combine new collections with those from the past while also giving capsule and annual collections a strong, unique platform.
What are the strongest features of the magazine?
“Fashion magazines do not necessarily have to display fashion items on every page; they have to transport feelings and moods,of getaways, the exotic, escapism, dreams, and the lightness of being. With developments in digital such as Instagram, the existing publishing market imploded and the number of small, independent magazines escalated. There is clearly a new demand for something different but budgets for editorial projects are constantly being cut and the quality suffers which causes drops in sales numbers.ore and more established magazines become irrelevant. ”