An Interview with NASTASSIA WINGE

Earlier in the year we spoke with co-founder of Beyond Photography on the upcoming Left Bank exhibition in Leeds. We caught up with the other 50% of this duo, Nastassia Winge, to discuss the future of the business and the state of creativity in the 21st century.

"Beyond Photography has gone from stride to stride; where do you see your business heading both creatively and within the market?"

Beyond Photography has a great number of endeavors on the calendar! Ryan and I are both extremely passionate and ambitious to grow Beyond Photography and develop it creatively. Within the market, we hope to establish our platform as the home of experimental ‘photography’, whilst providing a channel for up-and-coming talent to showcase their work. We strive to gain a significant following Online, but also grow our place in the physical art market. We are currently looking to exhibit in different galleries across Europe and hopefully we will have exhibited in various placed before the end of the year! Excitingly, we will be exhibiting at BasementArtsProject in Leeds from December to February! We also really want to gain a vast network of fresh talent. There are so many visionaries out there, we want to find them and present them to the world! I guess we just want to reach beyond our walls as much as possible, engaging new audiences and exploring the relationship between gallery, culture, communities and digitalization. There are so many things we want to do, we have even been talking about coffee table books and setting up a fashion film festival. Our imagination goes beyond any limits!

"What do you think the purpose of Beyond Photography is? Why this theme, and more important, why now?"

Beyond Photography has two main purposes, I would say. One is to create a community of unknown talent, bundle them together in a collective and present and illuminate them to the rest of the world. Art has become extremely elitist in the last couple of decades, but it shouldn’t be. Everyone can enjoy art, yet very little people feel like “it’s for them”. What nonsense! We want to bring art back to the masses, take down this elitist wall and show that art is for everyone and, moreover, can be made by anyone. Art doesn’t have to be expensive to be able to be called art. Interconnected with this, is that the art, or ‘photography’ more specifically, has kind of spiraled down in recent years and is now evolving again. Beyond Photography wanted to hook onto this and be a key player in the creation of this new art form. Beyond Photography supports technology as an art form. In this technologized, hyperreal world that we live in, how can one deny technology’s artistic potential? It would be a creative waste to hold on to the past, that’s why we this theme, this medium of Image Creation, is so important now. Image making is about creating new realities. So is Beyond Photography.

"In your opinion, what makes a great artist?"

To me,  a great artist is someone who is a visionary. Someone who dares to take risks. I think that is what we are trying to achieve here at Beyond Photography. To get rid of conventional 'aesthetics', to abandon 'beauty' in how it is conceived by many now. The advent of the digital made everyone a 'photographer', but (with all due respect) I want to see more than symmetric landscapes or pretty grainy analogue pictures. We have seen it all. To me a great artist is someone who expresses feeling in an image. Someone who shows something we haven't seen before.

"Both you and your business partner talk often about the blur between art and fashion; do you see Beyond Photography as part of the fashion world?"

Definitely! I think Image Creation, or this new art form we are promoting, finds it roots in Fashion Photography. Fashion is interesting because of its construction in terms of the image. Fashion Photography, more than any other type of photography, has always evolved itself and how it constructs its images - it had to! It has a likeness to real time but inherently it’s completely hyperreal. There’s an element of performance that is really exciting; it allows for a collision of style and roleplay that is unique to the medium. Beyond Photography strives to do exactly that; create completely unrealistic and opulent scenarios, just like Fashion Photography does. It is such an inspiring and innovative entity, Beyond Photography definitely strives to be a part of that.

"Is Photography dead and are we in a post-photography era?"

Well, yes and no. ‘Photography’ isn’t dead, but maybe photography as we knew it is. The art form is in flux definitely, but saying it is dead would be a misconception. How could photography be dead, when it is actually more alive now than it has ever been? I think photography was nearly dead, it was dying. But then this new art form came knocking and gave traditional photography CPR and brought it back to the living, but in a completely different shape. I don’t think it is commonly perceived this way, though. At least, not yet. I think many people are unaware of the changes that are happening, with editing, moving-photography and mixed-media crossovers, and that they take what they see for granted. Beyond Photography wants to make people aware of these changes and inspire people to take these further to develop post-photography. Maybe, yes, we are in a post-photography era, but that doesn’t mean ‘Photography’ is dead. The Gods have given us this amazing new medium. Now, it's time to go out and play!

"Tell me about your inspirations and references."

As I mentioned before, we are greatly inspired by fashion and fashion photography. So much is happening in this industry creative wise that it is hard to not be inspired to make something new every day. From the moment we met, our icons have been Pierre Debusschere and Nick Knight, whose work represent the epitome of the possibilities of Image Creation. I guess you could call them the Creators. Image Creation is their genesis.

"How do you define image making and what are its limits?"

'Defining' Image Making is complicated, as I believe Image Making is something, which cannot really be defined. Every time we create a new image or series, we come across something new and surprising and we are like "wow, what is this?! Let's roll with it.." and then we get to something we have never even imagined or thought of before. I guess that is Image Making; creating something, by using an image, which no one has ever seen before. It is like working with something real but than making it hyperreal, into something that didn't exist before that moment. So, this way, the 'Image' doesn't refer to anything in real time anymore, kind of like a simulacrum. It has no original, so also no limits. To play with the possibilities is so inspiring. Ryan and I always like to say, we make up the rules as we go along and then a week later we break them again.

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