Captivating Double Exposure Photography by Lee Fisher (NSFW)

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For some photographers, photography is a way of seeing the world differently. As for Lee Fisher, photography is his life and one of the things that motivate him to be the best version of himself. Some of you may recognize him by the name Dragon Master, and you have to take our word when we say that he is not only an excellent photographer but a real fighter. He was diagnosed with cancer recently and been getting his treatments for a while now. He was brave enough to talk about this in our interview and tell us more about the person behind the name Dragon Master. Once you see his creative double-exposure shots, you will step into a whole new world of analog photography.

Hey, Lee! Welcome to Lomography Magazine! Can you tell us a bit more about the creative person behind the lens? Why Dragon Master?

Hello, thanks for having me Lomography! Who am I? I’m the psychological puppeteer that pulls the strings of my impish alter ego DragnMastr13. People often assume I’m some Dungeons and Dragons freak, or a degenerate BDSM master or something, but in reality, the genesis of The Dragon Master moniker has nothing to do with any of these ill-informed presumptions.

Historically, the dragon archetype has come to symbolize many themes in the human psyche that I resonate with, such as mystery, the self, the sublime, alchemy, creation, transformation, death, terrible beauty–the list goes on and on.

In fairy tales, the hero must inevitably face and prevail over the evil fire-breathing dragon standing in their path toward greatness. And this idea of overcoming lies at the heart of my namesake–overcoming not only obstacles without, but also overcoming and mastering the false self within that threatens to hold us in bondage and from reaching our greatest potential as individuals. Hence DragnMastr13.

When did you realize photography was something you wanted to pursue? How did it all start?

I’ve been fascinated with photography and its creative potential ever since I was a kid. Although I didn't have the money to afford a camera and the supplies required back then, I still remember critically framing and composing images in my mind's curious eye from an early age. It wasn’t until I was in college, working a shitty part-time job, and disillusioned with the classes I was taking that I finally had enough cash and burning desire for change in my life to start exploring this artistic world.

I knew photography was something I wanted to pursue when I first saw that latent image magically appears before my eyes in the developer. From that point on, I’ve been enthralled with the alchemical enchantments of analog photography.

It's safe to say we live in a digital era. In your opinion, what makes analog photography so unique? What was your very first analog camera?

My first analog camera was a 35mm Canon Rebel–it was a good camera to learn on. I then moved onto learning medium format and large format. I've shot with many cameras, but my weapon of choice is a medium format Mamiya RZ 67, and her name’s “Bronson.” You’re right, we do live in a digital era, and there’s nothing wrong with that–it’s just the age we're living in. Change is inevitable, and technology brings about new tools and ways of doing things. It happens in all the arts. I’m not an analog purist, and I don’t think there’s anything inferior with digital photography as a method and tool.

It has a certain look, texture, cleanliness. However, I like a little grime under my fingernails. I like the “imperfections” and serendipity of film. But above all, I enjoy the process. The reason the film vs. digital debate is so irrelevant is that ultimately it’s always the image that matters, not the tool used to shoot it. Neither film or digital is better than the other–they're just different. And if we’re honest with ourselves, many Photoshop plugins out there can replicate the film look pretty damn good. BUT, what they’ll never be able to replicate is the absolute joy of the film workflow and experience, and that's why I'll personally shoot film until I die.

When did you become interested in psychological debauchery? What attracted you to explore it throughout your photography?

When I say “psychological debauchery,” I don't exactly mean from an explicit sense–I think that kind of work is too evident and easy to do, and the world has enough of it already. It's more of an uneasy, lurking feeling I try to convey through the juxtaposition of my writing and photographs.

I want the feeling to linger in the viewer’s memory long after they've encountered my work. Maybe the feeling revisits them as they're sitting alone eating an afternoon sandwich, or while they're standing in line waiting to pick up their medications at the pharmacy, or maybe when they're brushing their teeth in the shower while the hot water’s pelting the back of their head.

The psychological debauchery only becomes palpable through repeated exposure, like radiation beams on a tumor. This is the kind of art I'm attracted to, whether it's literature, music, or even the way a mesmerizing girl provocatively eats a messy taco–I'm drawn to anything that burrows itself in our minds when we're left alone with our thoughts.

As an artist, you get to see how your work influences the world around you. How does photography affect you as a person and as an artist?

To be honest, I can't say I know for certain how my work influences the world around me. You see, every person that encounters a photograph is an individual that brings with them a unique background and life experience so that each viewer will interpret an image differently. Furthermore, unless someone gives me any feedback, I'll never know how/if my work had any effect on them at all. If people resonate with my work, great, but that's not my motivation for making photographs–I create for my enjoyment. As far as your second question goes, I'll put it this way: Photography is no longer a metaphor for my life. Now, it IS my life.

What is your favorite technique to use when you are in the process of making your photographs?

One of my favorite techniques to use when I'm in the course of making my photographs is a mental one. I try to envision myself as the model in front of me. Models aren't props–they're people. People with fears, struggles, limitations, wants/needs. The more empathetic I can be to these needs and vulnerabilities the better the images will turn out because you begin to work in synchronicity.

Once the trust is established, I can then proceed to project myself onto the model–a surrogate self. Photography, for me, is self-portraiture. Everything I shoot is an attempt to understand myself, my experiences, my perception of the world. But without the model to help me execute my vision, I'm left sitting alone in a quiet studio with nothing but unrealized ideas.

How do you keep yourself motivated to do this job and make beautiful art every day?

Well, for one, I don't think of it as a job. If I did, I think I’d begin to lose the playful and serendipitous spirit I have with the work. I think of it more as a way of life. I think of it as a relationship. I think of it as therapy. That isn't to say I’m not disciplined, dependable, or can be a creative collaborator with potential clients–I just don't think about the work in terms of a job because it's never felt like it.

I make my photographs because it's something that brings my life personal meaning and joy. So having that outlook keeps the motivation to create ongoing. Sure there'll be lulls in my productive energy, but it's okay to stop and recharge from time to time, as long as you never quit. I think stamina and endurance are the most underrated qualities any artist can have because a life of art-making is a turbulent one strapped to an uncertain horizon, and not everyone has the stomach for it.

What’s a day like in the life of Lee Fisher when he is not busy working on new projects?

On June 5th I was diagnosed with Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma. I have a large-ass tumor in my chest. So lately, my days have been focused on my health, hospital visits, medications, nutrition, rest, and contemplating my mortality. I’ve been getting chemotherapy every three weeks at the hospital, and I stay there for five consecutive days for the infusions. In-between treatments, while I’m recovering at home for my next chemo cycle, I've been in a kind of incubation phase–I haven't had the strength to create much photography as of late. I've been absorbing inspiration through the books I've been reading, the music I've been listening to, and the life I've been enduring–all of which will enrich my future work. Writing is another activity that occupies the interstices of my recuperation, and it's something that I hope to explore more of when I get better.

Are there any upcoming projects you would like to share with us? Can we expect more magical work from you?

I don’t really think in terms of “projects”, or “series”. I think of my job more in terms of a continuous heartbeat–it evolves from itself, and the experiences I'm going through in my life. With that said, this entire cancer experience leads me to reflect on my mortality, and the desire I have to leave tangible artifacts behind if I die. Therefore, I'm in the process of creating a small, self-published bi-annual visual/literary magazine of my work.

Making prints have always been the cornerstone of my photographic workflow, but there’s something special about the printed book that I’m excited about exploring. Hopefully, I'll beat cancer, and I'll start my photography practice up again where I left off, but only time will tell–some things we have no control over.


All photographs shown in this article were used by the permission of Lee Fisher. If you want to see more of his work, visit his Website and follow Lee on Instagram.

written by Ivana Džamić on 2017-08-28 #people #doubleexposure #analog-photography #leefisher

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3 Comments

  1. mtsteve
    mtsteve ·

    Wonderful interview!

  2. zulupt
    zulupt ·

    Great doubles!!!

  3. ihave2pillows
    ihave2pillows ·

    marvellous! the most artistic doubles I have seen for a while

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