Urizen Freaza is something sort of a puzzle in a way that you have to piece things together to understand him and his work more. And you know what, that doesn't seem like a bad thing at all, considering the amount of effort and creativity he pours into his work. He uses different analogue techniques to put out amazing photographic work. He uses instants, 35 mm shots, experimental techniques and the list goes on. The biggest part of it though is Urizen takes pride and joy in process and the images he creates. Instead of just rambling here, we'll leave you be so you can learn more about the Berlin-based filmmaker and photographer in this short interview.
Hello, Urizen. Welcome to the Lomography Online Magazine! How did you get started on your photographic journey?
I always loved using a camera (notice I don't say 'taking photos', I had no clue what I was doing). When I turned 18, I got a reflex camera for my birthday. But I got frustrated with the results and stopped shooting. The images I saw were nothing like the images I was getting... Then my sister got me a Lomography Colorsplash for Christmas. And as it was a toy camera, I just played with it. I stopped worrying and just enjoyed whatever came out. I started enjoying photography again. And later I discovered Polaroids, and then I discovered Super 8. And those mediums felt like magic, they felt like home, and I got serious about it.
How would you define photography?
They say it's a mirror with memory. I like that definition.
What's your favorite thing about it?
The link to reality. No matter how doubtful and misleading that actually is, for the viewer a photo keeps an essence of proof of something real, of authenticity. I like that, that is a powerful tool to play with.
Your instant photographs are just eye catching. We love how you mixed different techniques to create various effects. What were you going for in your shots?
I want to communicate with the viewer, and in order to reach him/her, you have to use everything you can. The audience is saturated with images, nothing reaches them anymore. You have to make them fall in love with a photo, so they get to see it. To perceive it, at all. I believe that we must use and act on all the 'layers' available. And the power of the instant print lies in its physicality. It has this extra layer, so to say, the one that allows you to touch it, manipulate it in the manual sense of the word.
Among the different techniques you used, which one is your favorite? Why?
I love emulsion lifts. The swimming emulsion folding on itself, thin as hair, is the closest i'll ever get to seeing a soul. And you can touch it.
It's amazing to see an artist such as yourself play around with playful visual elements. What inspired you to create those images?
As cliché as it sounds... inspiration comes from everywhere, books, movies, dreams, you never know.
How do you come up with your shots? What do you like to capture when you're taking photographs?
I usually have several series I'm working on at the same time, and I always try to have a plan for the shoot. But after that is finished, I try different things and improvise. Then I take those photos that didn't come out well and manipulate them. I take all the results and all the experiments, and put aside the ones that I somehow find interesting. Those I analyze, till I figure out what exactly spoke to me. And from those, sometimes new series start.
How would you describe your photographic style?
Well, that's an impossible task. You can't see it yourself. I'd wish it was something like colorful, tactile and unclean. But I have no idea.
We also noticed that you shoot with Lomography cameras. How was the experience?
I love the original LC-A, it's a classic and my go-to-camera for taking always with me. As I said, it was a Lomo camera that got me shooting again. As it was only a toy camera, my expectations were so little, and every image i got was a surprise. It was fun again, like playing. It took the pressure off and I lost my fear for photography.
How does a perfect day look like for Urizen Freaza?
One that was productive, that ends with a bunch of new (hopefully also good) photos under my arm.
Lastly, what's next for you?
I'm doing an artistic residency at the Echo Park Film Center in LA. It's the first time I take a time off to do only photography. Let's see where this takes me!