Eye Am Alive recently had the privilege of talking with Nathan Cyprys – a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist and graduate of OCAD University – about what inspires him, his new works, and upcoming events!
EAA: What (outside of the realm of photography) is currently inspiring you / catching your interest?
NC: Foggy and rainy days when the city is most quiet, I love seeing the contrast of a busy space become abandoned because of this. Sometimes this is when I can be found biking through the streets in rubber boots with a 4×5 camera on my back.
EAA: What themes are you exploring in your newest body of work, “Ayre (of Distances)”?
NC: The idea of Photographic Death and how a photographer and subject relate to each other interests me, specifically in how Roland Barthes examines this relationship in Camera Lucida. The way we consume images and the way media and the web are consuming us may be altering our perspective of this relationship in the same way that I believe they alter our day-to-day encounters with others. The prevalence of hypersexualization in this form of media is also something reflected in the series. Ayre (of Distances) acts as a continuation of Prelude to Distances which studied similar notions of communication, as well as the relationship of photographer to subject and the self to the Other.
EAA: Would you say most of your work is initiated by theoretical works like Barthes’? Are there other writers you look to for inspiration?
NC: I wouldn’t really say any of it is initiated by those sorts of theoretical works. Rather, they tend to help me understand my own work better once I’ve already begun making it, and steer the direction of a series once it’s under way. My work is usually initiated by a simple idea for an image mostly driven by aesthetics and innate desire, it is steeped in concept once I’m more able to reflect on it and step back a bit.
To throw a few more writers/thinkers names at you: Todd May, Susan Bright, Linda Williams, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus.
EAA: Your work often includes self portraits. Is your practice sometimes a method of self-actualization?
NC: My work in the series Buried certainly was an attempt to self-actualize, though I think the most recent portrait from Ayre (of Distances) was more diaristic, allowing a glimpse at a fragile self. That image was shot after I fell off my bicycle, it also happened to be the warmest day in Toronto since 1955.
EAA: Any current / upcoming shows or events you’d like to tell us about?
NC: I’ll have a film in the Ok, Quoi? Festival in Sackville, NB in August as well as at the Supercrawl in Hamilton, ON in September. I’ll also have some work from the series Buried featured in the 2012 issue of Flash Forward from Magenta Foundation.