Speaking to Amyn Nasser is as fascinating as taking a long slow stroll through his art. Yes, Amyn is a photographer, but it is clear that the camera is merely the tool of choice that allows us into the creative mind that produces so many images that are consistently inconsistent. “Juxtaposition” is, ironically, a term that came up early in our conversations. It is a term that helps tie his vastly diverse work together--and it is a term that helps us begin to understand the man behind the images. His mind seems to be in constant motion--he finds the world to be a “captivating” place and he routinely has several thoughts occupying him at one time. He says that some people call that distractibility, but he prefers the more positive notion of captivation. Random observations of beauty and intimacy are welcome visitors. Amyn states for example that he will be captivated by the beauty of a woman across the street and the next moment he will be struck by the architecture of a building.
Amyn’s approach to light is fascinating as well. He certainly knows what he is doing on the technical side, but his work transcends technique. He is far more interested in metaphysics than the actual physics of light. Light in and of itself is a subtle, yet intricate component of his composition. His goal is to allow the luminance within his subjects shine through rather than have him illuminate them. His philosophy of light (it really isn’t lighting) and the notion of “Light From Within” is perhaps most apparent in his body of work known as Voyeur Nocturne . This body of architectural photographs was the only officially chosen photography to hang at Olympic Village in February 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler, Winner in the PDN (Photo District News) Photo Annual 2010 New York, and the image titled "MCDXXIII | The Little House that Fought Demolition" will hang in the SMITHSONIAN Castle from July 2010 through February 2011. Amyn has been awarded Winner by Applied Arts in Architecture 2010. The architectural work under the caption [V] in the Voyeur Nocturne body of images was exhibited at TRUNK Gallery from January 15th through March 15th, 2010 then further extended to April 26th, 2010 due to public interest. Along side to [V] exhibit, Amyn introduced his Erotica work under the caption [E] from which he also picked up Nominee in the BLACK & WHITE Spider Awards in Fine Art 2010. Malcolm Parry, a Vancouver Sun critic mentioned the Voyeur [V] Nocturne exhibit on 2 separate write ups.
The notion of metaphysics and of being in a constant state of flux is central to Amyn’s work and life. The way he describes how he works with others on the set to go from concept to creation is no surprise. He states the “concept goes on in my head as I am setting up for example a couple kissing, then I set up the scene and with a loud beacon I direct the models, with speed and a force to compel them to forget their guard and get into the moment of passion and heat, that intimacy that sauces up the juices in the mind, that tension that must exist in the intimate passion, that charge of 110 bolts of electricity that must show in the lips to the eyes. That unbearable moment we so much so want and wish it was forever.” Working from the viewpoint of “observing the observer” allows his work to unfold spontaneously and with a greater sense of enlightenment. Amyn speaks passionately about being open to all the possibilities that the universe has to offer. He tells a story about when he lived in his flat in Paris that, like much of his world, works on several levels. He had a large shelving system at the end of the hallway leading into his home. Each shelf held completed jobs--cataloged, bagged, and filed away. It took a while, but one day he fit a bag into the last spot on the last shelf. He then took note of an interesting phenomenon: his work had slowed down. He found a trash bag and emptied the contents of one shelf into the trash. The next day he started getting bookings for work.
Openness and humor are keys to how Amyn interacts with the people in his world. Just like the full shelves sent out the message that he didn’t want work, our internal “baggage” can block our progress, whether it is with an art director or girl you are getting to know. It is much more important to enjoy the moment rather than to try to “sell” yourself to the AD (or the girl!) The minute you start to sell then it becomes a job, a chore. Amyn prefers to build his relationships with art directors by sharing his ideas freely, but with some humor and wit. Engage the art director in conversation and you’ll begin the creative process rather than simply presenting work that represents where you have been, not where you are going--or even where you are. Allow the Art Director to get caught up in the flux--the constant forward motion and begin to share your vision "in the best interest of the underlying project."
Amyn loves questions. His favorite question is: “What does it mean?” Of course, he doesn’t have an answer--no one does. Some questions don’t need to be answered: we are on a journey forward. There was one final pearl of wisdom from a truly fascinating gentleman. Ask your questions, but don’t try to answer them. If you answer your own question, then the universe has no need to respond. Ask with an open mind and be ready to accept whatever answers come your way in whatever form they take. Just keep moving. "Trust."
Memo: Voyeur Nocturne – architecture body of work: Nikon digital cameras with Nikkor lenses. Gitzo carbon fibre tripod with Gitzo ball heads, Manfrotto Pan Head, Kata bags for all my gear on my Cat Suit outfit as I swung through the city to capture the intimacy, timlessness and romantics while carefully painting with light. Nik Software is great with Nikon Capture NX2 to bring out beautiful contrast, Genuine Fractals (On One) did the job for making the images large to 60 inches, and the rest was that thought process that made everything come out just perfectly balanced on a thread….that split second capture of intimacy!
Tag Magazine: June issue of Tag Magazine features my Tall Girl Nudes on the cover and editorial pages. All are available as Fine Art Editions.
Gear used for the Voyeur Nocturne body of work:
**Below are a list of companies that Amyn uses and recommends a few of them have graciously decided to offer ProPhotoResource.com Members a discount on their products. Amyn used Genuine Fractals for enlargements of his Fine Art show where some images were taken to 60 inches. We would personally like thank the folks at Nik and On One Software for their contributions.
- Nikon Cameras and Lenses
- Profoto Studio Strobes.
- Manfrotto Tripods and Stands
- Gitzo Tripods and Ball heads
- Metz Flash
- Kata Bags
- Nik Software (15% Software Discount use code anasser at checkout)
- OnOne Software (15% Software Discount use code AMNR15 at checkout)
IMAGE LICENSING AGENTS:
- 2010 ARCHITECTURE AWARD WINNER | APPLIED ARTS
- 2010 PDN PHOTO ANNUAL WINNER | PHOTO DISTRICT NEWS NYC
- 2010 FINE ART HONORABLE | BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS
- 2010 SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE | TOP TEN FINALIST WINNER
- 2009 ARCHITECTURE- HONORABLE | LUCIE – INTERNATIONAL PHOTO AWARDS | VOYEUR NOCTURNE [V]
- 2009 CULTURE - HONORABLE | LUCIE – INTERNATIONAL PHOTO AWARDS | THIS AMERICA, I SEE
- 2009 NUDE HONORABLE | INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS - PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERS CUP
- 2009 PORTRAIT HONORABLE | INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS - PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERS CUP
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© Steve Dantzig