Szczecin-born photographer Slevin Aaron's visual poetry draws a metaphor between humans and flowers. Referring himself as an 'emotions' photographer, his semi-surrealistic art photography gets in touch with realism. We talk to the photographer in this fascinating interview.
Hi Slevin, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Firstly, flowers have a strong presence in your work. What's your favorite kind?
First of all, thank you for having me! Yes, for some time flowers have appeared in my photos as one of the leading motifs, but as for some specific kind, I don’t have such. I am guided by their beauty, beauty of all kinds, the meaning, the way they are supposed to give the atmosphere of a photo.
We notice that usually, the flowers would cover the head, whether man or woman. Why so?
Covering the heads is one of my artistic treatments that is to make the photographed figure someone who can be anyone and at the same time nobody. It is a strongly visual approach to the tone of this particular series, but on the other hand, each character tells a different story and has a different meaning. It is a talk about something important in a mysterious, even personal way, trying to communicate with the world.
In art, flowers are considered a language. What do they mean and symbolize in your portraits?
Yes, that is also true. I used to hear that flowers represent real feelings towards people and always my main goal was to incorporate these pure emotions in photographs. So I decided to create a series in which faces are covered by them. These pictures tell a lot of different stories but their main message is about people who have their own lives, feelings, complexes hidden behind their beauty. In my photos, they are everywhere among us, pleasing to the eye, but we never know what really can hide behind them, what they're are actually living through. I try to impart not only beautiful but also mysterious of common life we all share.
Though your photographs are very painterly, there's something modern about it that does not make it romantic, but rather straightforward. How would you describe your aesthetics?
Well, my aesthetics is a constant journey, so it's hard to point me the correct answer. I think romance in some sense is always included in my photographic tales, even if it's just a small accent, but no matter what I tell, or what I'm trying to convey, when it is a satire, complete fiction or something else, I want to do it just simple. Thanks to that, I manage to get literal in creating my own world, which at the same time is my comment to this real one. So if I had my aesthetics to dress up in some words, I think I would call it a modern simplicity with a touch of paint.
For emphasis, flowers have a really strong presence in the portraits. Do you think humans share similarities with plants, shrubs, and flowers? If yes/no, why?
We are all beautiful beings, just like flowers. Just like them, there are differences between us, we look different, we smell different, everyone is called different, everyone comes from a particular place, all of us affects someone and triggers some emotions. For some, we are beautiful for the other ugly. So I think I would not be wrong if I wanted to call us all flowers. So my answer is yes. We share many similarities with them.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Whom are your muses and influences?
For sure, the people around me, the landscapes, or even my own feelings and experiences that I live through affect what I do, but I try to follow the voice of my heart. As far as inspirations are concerned, their main resource is my own imagination and fortunately, it is quite outspoken and for the time it suffices me enough.
If you could work or collaborate with any photographer or artist, who would it be and why?
In fact, I never thought about it. I've always been photographing for myself and for my own expressions of emotion. However, if I had or could to cooperate with someone, I would like that person to have as strong imagination as I am, and that I could have a lot of luggage from such an encounter. I think that man never stops learning and is never perfect and I want to develop all the time, to push myself further and further.
What do you usually do during your downtime? Any ongoing project, or other plans you're keen to work on?
During the downtime I always think about new projects, some of them are prepared either in my mind or in reality. But something always happens, even if I do not photograph at the moment. However, I spend a lot of time with family and friends because they are very important to me.
I have been photographing for about 10 years and I am self-taught but my constant desire to develop has lately pushed me to the Academy of Art in Szczecin where I am doing quite different projects, for example, videos, installations, and sculptures. So, I’m pretty always occupied with something, mostly with art.