The Innocence of a Bird
JK, the Bird Heart‘s photographs seems to scream in silence while singing. Joy and Loneliness seems to be present in each work, as if Joy can only be reached alone or loneliness can lead to joy. Silent corners hidden from a wider world in a private forest. From the top of the tallest trees or from the ground, JK’s photos don’t let anyone pass by without looking at them or even getting lost in them. A bird that didn’t realise yet the power of flying crying over its own wings.
2HeadS – we have talked some times, I know your work since sometime ago, but I never knew your name, geographic location, etc. One have no idea who’s the human behind your camera, and it seems that you avoid so. Is that because you find the photographs should be free by their own? You give more value to them than you do to the author? Or you just don’t want to be responsible for them? It’s curious, as there are lots of photographers who do the opposite putting their names sometimes bigger than the photo itself. Do you want to come out today for 2HeadS?
JK – It is mainly a question of freedom, I think. I feel that I can be free in another way if i am not “myself”. When I know that someone, it could be a real life friend or my grandmother, is watching it affects me and there is a huge element of self-censorship and a fear of being judged. I like to keep my personal life private, and my photos are very personal to me. I don’t know… On a bigger level, I am not that interested in “ownership”. I feel that my body, my brain, my cameras, the world I photograph were given to me as gifts. I did not invent these things, I only look and enjoy. I want people to see the beauty of the world, not how important my name is. So I guess that is a no, I don’t want to “come out”, even for 2HeadS.
2HeadS – you have been incredibly prolific, but sometimes it seems that posting so much work you have what we call “the artist blindness” that is typical in artists. This means that some are better than others and you can be attached to them in a more emotional way, not being able to be critical to your own work. But at the same time you can be using tumblr as your own experimental album. What are your main criteria to select the ones to be posted or shown to a wider public?
JK – On tumblr, I just post whenever I feel like it. I try to keep it within the same “style” (I also post color photos on another tumblr). Yes, “artist blindness”… I wish I were able to sort through things more easily. There are so many photos; I would like to work on making them into proper series instead of this experimental chaos. At the same time, I am very grateful that I can post so much, and get feedback in the form of likes, comments and reblogs. In “the real world”, at school and such, there is only time to show a fraction of the work and then maybe just one or two for an exhibition. I find that to be such a painful and slow process. I like that tumblr allows me to show all these random “mistakes” as well.
2HeadS – to whom do you take photographs? it seems that your photography comes from a deep honest unconscious, instead of being consciously thought. Is it a need of yours to express yourself, your own most honest way of expression and communicate with yourself or with the world?
JK – I don’t know why or to whom I take photographs. I just have to do it, I love it, I need it. I just always loved to look, to see. Then I discovered that others liked to see what I saw. I take photos for the people who love beauty, beauty in sadness, in joy, in light, in dark, in pain, in ecstasy. The voices in my head tell me to photograph certain things and I obey. So yes, for me it is mostly an unconscious process.
2HeadS – When do you feel fulfilled looking to a series of your photographs before posting?
JK – It is a feeling that I can’t explain. I just feel when it is “right” for me. I think it is about the composition mostly, that it makes me feel “something”. I really can’t explain.
2HeadS – Using film or digital, it seems that you use the different techniques to reach the same aesthetic result. Do you think that digital doesn’t bring anything new to photography?
JK – Digital brings the opportunity to take many, many more photos. It also brings the opportunity to edit things more easily. But everything posted on the internet is really digital, the analog images are scanned and thus “digitalized”. I love both analog and digital, they are just good at different things. To me there is a special magic working with film (medium format). A Hasselblad or a Rolleiflex is such a beautiful object and holding it feels sort of “holy” compared to a dslr. Film also has a greater tonal range, which I appreciate very much. But I also love shooting with my iphone, it is small and easy to bring and I can place it anywhere, on top of a shelf or under my bed.
2HeadS – Which is the best tip you can give to a young student of photography?
JK – Be yourself, sounds like a cliche, but it is really the best advice I can give. It is easy to get overwhelmed by other people’s opinions and other people’s ways to do thing. Listen to others, but don’t forget to listen to yourself and to choose carefully what advice you want to listen to. Find what grounds you, maybe it is to hug a tree or to be with your family… Take care of yourself and be nice to yourself. Find out what YOU need to be creative. I need a calm environment because I have a storm inside, maybe you are calm and need a storm. Maybe you create the best when you are hurt, then let yourself be hurt, go out and find someone to hurt you. We are all different. Experiment! Try many different paths. In my opinion, all paths are valid.
2HeadS – One can easily relate your work to be inspired in Francesca Woodman, but do you feel inspired more in other photographers, cinema, music, literature?
JK – Oh, so many things! Guy Bourdin, Arthur Tress, Nicola Kuperus, Julia Hetta, Gregory Crewdson, Ville Lenkkeri, Ute Klein, Elina Brotherus, Storm Thorgerson, Eva Stenram and Todd Hido are some names of photographers that I have been inspired by lately. Bergman, always Bergman and Munch, always Munch. The band Rome. Austra is another favorite band of mine and I still really haven’t gotten tired of their last album. Since we are speaking about tumblr, some of my biggest inspirations there are cabinhome, mawbli, and l-p-f-m (and many ,many, many more, it is great to be a part of such an inspiring community of talented photographers and artists). And 2HeadS is a great place to discover photographers too.
more interviews at 2HeadS:
The Roma Project, by Kieran Kesner
Conversation with Vera Saltzman
Gonzalo Benard: A Perfect Stranger
An Interview With The Incredible Photographer Gonzalo Benard for MutantSpace
Small Town Inertia, an interview with Jim Mortram
An Encounter with Solitude, by Cipriano de Guimarães for AtBalbec
Things, Winds and Emptiness without Void, an interview with Jungjin Lee
Preview and Purchase now:
“The Sacred Book of G” is a stream of consciousness, a thought provoking intimate journal written byGonzalo Bénard. After 3 days of brain death he reborn with a deep loss of memory. He reborn without any sense of his past — of his own roots — of his own self. Before that he’d spent his time creating defences to disguise his autism. He had lost it too. New born G had no memory and no defences.
“I, Energy” is a book on Cosmic Consciousness, Quantum Physics and Old Shamanism written by Gonzalo Bénard who not only lived in Himalayas with shamans and in a Buddhist monastery but also in the Western Sahara with old shamans. A guide on healing and transcendental meditation and how you can master your own mind, leading yourself the collective consciousness.
Gonzalo Bénard is a lecturer, author, tutor of autistic teenagers, and a visual artist.His photography has been part of the annual programs of several universities around the world, mainly about the seriesOneness, Nudes and B Shot by a Stranger, and are in several private and public art collections such as Museum of Serralves, Cultural Centre of Cascais or Sir Elton John’s.
His photographs are also being used in Hollywood productions and TV series and you can see his work of photography at his webpage.
Follow @GBenard on twitter for daily updates.
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