Bruno Osif is a French photographer and filmmaker, based mainly in London and partly in Paris. His work is inspired by humans, psychology and behaviors - driven by the duality of his own ultra-cynicism juxtaposed with his desire to believe in humans.
A bit of his established background - two of Osif’s short films, Room 4024 and Alter, were chosen for official selection for the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and 2014. His work has been exhibited around the world in places like Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Spain, and he has shot for the likes of POP, purple, Exit Magazine and Metal Magazine. He has a photobook called World Juice. And Osif is married to artist and POP Magazine’s Ekaterina Skurikhina, who he often captivatingly photographs and refers to as Kate below.
How’d you get into photography and filmmaking? What age did you get involved in the practice and in what capacity?
I had a photographer girlfriend when I was 18, and after she left I understood that I was probably more attracted by her camera and her lifestyle than her personality. I then assisted Tibor Huszar, a fantastic guy and very good documentary photographer, for a couple of years. It was a real push forward in the professional world. That was 16 years ago. In the meantime, I studied cinematography and photography and moved to London in 2012.
Who or what are your favorite sources of inspiration?
I must say, there’s such an amount of talented people. It's incredible. Internet really made everything so much more accessible. I can’t tell you names, just look around.
This photo stood out to me. Can you tell me about the inspiration behind it?
My wife Kate was pregnant with our second child Enzo and we wanted to capture that moment. She was naked in my studio only wearing those Celine boots. She sat down on this white chair matching with the surrounding white walls, and placed this colourful helmet on her head. It was very spontaneous and beautiful. I love that image.
What types of people or things make you stop and take a photograph? Tell me more about your photobook World Juice. Is there a narrative behind it?
All the images shot for World Juice came very naturally. My father is an artist, who worked mostly on abstract paintings all his life. Growing up, playing in his studios, I was surrounded by those big colourful canvases. It deeply affected my vision and personality. And so it became a very personal project for me. I felt I had to use all these experiences and apply them using photography.
You’re based between London and Paris. How do you think each place informs your work?
I was born in Paris and left it when I was about 15. A couple of years ago, I felt the urge to comeback to experience it again. Unfortunately, I didn’t get such a good vibe from it and decided to stay mostly in London. I still have a studio there, but go mostly for work only. I love London and it sucks that we are in such political mess as we are now experiencing.
How do you think the fashion industry shapes your work?
Mostly by introducing me to a different kind of aesthetics. I believe it is hugely important for my artistic work to have these different perspectives.
How did you get into the editorial and fashion side of photography?
Ashley Heath, the current POP and Arena Homme + editor and owner, proposed me to shoot an editorial for POP couple of years ago. I fell in love with fashion and the guy.
What topics do you find yourself exploring the most in your work? Are there any certain social connotations that you find to be a recurring theme throughout your work? I saw you used the hashtag #AllTooHumanInspired for one of your Instagram captions.
I’m mostly interested in humans, psychology and behaviours - how it affects my surroundings or me.
I’m this ultra cynical person, but on the other hand I really want to believe in humans. And it is the combination of both extremes that drives me.
If you had to choose your favorite photo you’ve ever taken - I know it’s no easy feat - which would you choose and why?
It would probably be the last image I’ve taken. We artists can become very unstable when it comes to judging our work, so it is important to believe in oneself during the work process. Even if with time and longer reflection we should be able to be critical of it.
What’s the best career advice you’ve heard or been told?
Work, work, work. Enjoy.
Do you have advice to any aspiring photographers - photography-specific or just on life in general?
Find your right speed and work accordingly to it. We are living in a very formatted world. I believe everyone should have their own tempo. Be edgy, but don’t be extreme. Try to find the right balance.
What are you currently working on?
I started to work three years ago on a project I named Social Credit in reference to the collection of data in China where, using mostly CCTV, the Chinese government gives a rating to each citizen and restrict their social life accordingly. This is scary shit. I use selected CCTV footage and combine it with a photographic technique from the beginning of the 19th century. It has this strange baroque, sort of painting mood. I was developing and experimenting with the technique until recently and, being finally satisfied with the results, I started producing the work. I hope to able to show it by the end of this year.
courtesy BRUNO OSIF
interview AUDRY HIAOUI
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