“When my mother saw my work a couple of years ago, she didn’t say if it was good or bad, she only said that it was dirty.”
How do you approach the people you photograph?
Almost everyone in my photos, all of them are my friends and this makes it much easier for me to step out of the onlooker’s role. I feel involved as I, as a photographer, am part of the action, part of the composition. I’m not just standing by, waiting for the moment to happen, but I’m participating, I’m present in the scene. All of my models know what kind of pictures I take and they are comfortable with opening up in front of the camera.
How has your perception and understanding of intimacy and privacy changed over the past few decades?
I think intimacy is normal. I also think that sex is normal. A basic, everyday need that we all need to fulfill, just like eating, walking or shopping. Sex is just one of them. Everyone needs sex, everyone needs intimacy and we should be able to talk about it without feeling ashamed or uncomfortable.
What is your earliest memory that you associate with this sort of freedom of expression?
I’ve been very lucky. After I graduated, my parents supported me in my profession and gave me a lot of freedom by not putting a pile of traditional expectations on me. It’s a big deal since my parents are last generation and relatively old and their way of living is quite different compared to mine. When my mother saw my work a couple of years ago, she didn’t say if it was good or bad, she only said that it was dirty.
Can you walk us through your working process? What does a session of yours look like?
What I do is try to figure out my models’ characters, then follow the character through my pictures. Sometimes if someone is rather shy or not very active, I step in and tell them some stories, just like a director would while shooting a movie. But these stories aren’t alien to them, they fit, they always fit their character. I’m shooting pictures the same way I’d be shooting a movie. I want to tell a story with each photo I take.