INTERVIEW WITH ANDREAS MCMULLER
Hi, please introduce yourself
An artist born in 1966, he was strongly influenced, if not actually molded, by his family’s imprinting of the jovial southern Italian cheerfulness of his Apulian relatives, the love of poetry and aesthetics of his South Tyrolean aunt who brought him up, and his Viennese grandmother’s incessant search for perfection. The result is an artist of the highest quality standards, both technically and creatively, endowed with rare sensitivity and capable of creating poetry even with a panorama. His stage name, McMuller, derives directly from his Austrian grandmother’s surname.
How did you initially come into photography?
In our family, photography has always been a hobby and a way to capture and relive the best moments, so the first shots were a game from an early age. The real challenge started at the age of twenty, when his father bought a whole set of professional equipment and then abandoned it after a short time due to the poor results obtained; Andrea(s), on the other hand, started studying before shooting and grew up as a purely self-taught photographer until he became competent, first from a technical and then from an aesthetic point of view.
Are you working on any photographic projects at the moment?
Yeah: in addition to completed projects I have three infinite ones, which evolve with me, which are:
McBlack: is a project of research and discovery of the infinite Beauty of the human body, with particular reference to the female body that shows, to those who have eyes to see, the immense versatility of their universe;
La Vita vince sempre (Life always wins): this is a project whose images show how Life triumphs regardless of the damage that man and nature itself can cause;
…and McWave that is a more artistic mission than a project, and its aim is to discover or create Beauty and spread it, so that everyone can have the benefits that true Art, aesthetic Art, can give to every single human being. Art is not provocation, it is not speculation, and it is not even commerce, whatever the gallery owners may say: Art is what causes, when you encounter it, positive and invigorating emotions, a liberation of internal energy that makes you feel good and often leads to “illumination”, to inspiration.
This is what happened to me when I met a Monet in 2012 (a real Monet: the screen softens the effect and the elusive mobile phone screen annihilates any effect); caught between emotional exaltation and immense admiration I understood what the effect of Art can and must be and what I wanted to do ‘when I grow up’; at that moment my artistic journey began.
In addition to photography, you are also interested in other forms of expression. Where does this propensity come from?
Yes, I haven’t started yet, but I am planning some light sculptures in resin or wood/resin mix, because I am fascinated by the effect of light on the human soul.
Photos by Andreas Mcmuller – ©All rights reserved
Your profile shows that you use different media to communicate. Which of these did you start with? How did they influence each other?
Communication means conveying one’s thoughts to others in the form of words, images, emotions or matter, and communication is the breath of an artist, so I do not disdain any method of communication: I have my own website that describes me and my works, and I am present on mass social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, but also on LinkedIn, which is geared towards professionals, and on various Italian, European and American art portals, and I am creating virtual galleries, the first of which is already visible through my website. The main influence, however, is the physical exhibitions, where people can see my works and experience them first-hand by experiencing their emotions. I have seen people rejoice, laugh and sometimes cry, but they certainly do not leave you indifferent.
What drives you to use light and dark to tell what you see?
I try to ensure that my communication, as an artist, is concise and essential, so that the message of the work (each of my works conveys an idea) is clear and essential, without frills or distractions. For example, the work Curve, which won the CAT (Contemporary Art Challenge), the contest between the artists present at the Padua Art Fair, shows the silhouette of a woman, in which you immediately realize that despite her twenty years of age she is no longer a little girl, but a real woman. If I had photographed her in full light, the nudity would have distracted the observer, while the essential black and white forces him to focus on what is there and what it “says”.
Have you ever experimented with this style with analogue cameras?
Yes, but with digital photography the possibility of post-production intervention is so great and so useful that the film would be a useless step backwards today. On the other hand, I don’t disdain the mixed technique, i.e. pictorial retouching of the printed image, because this broadens the creative possibilities.
Can you consider photography as a moment of abstraction from the context in which you live?
Yes and no: photography freezes in time an image that is in any case part of the context in which I live, but it does not allow abstraction; on the contrary, if anything it amplifies it in all its aspects and, often, its contradictions. All the worse when one goes to consider and portray the female universe, which is often not very rational but absolutely consistent with itself in the passage of time, thus connecting worlds that seem very different in space and time, without being so.
When you look at a photo, what details catch your attention and make you appreciate it?
This question goes straight to the essence of composition and is the most difficult and elusive goal for anyone involved in art or (worse) photography. Before answering, however, I must clarify that I am an Artist who uses photography, I am not “a photographer” and, given what is considered praiseworthy in contemporary photography, being called a photographer almost offends me.
The tragic cultural involution of the last century, combined with people’s growing inability to distinguish the beautiful from the ugly, the good from the bad, and even the right from the wrong, has caused art in general and photography in particular to take the path of the “new”, the “different”, the shocking, and that praise is given to whichever incapable person wakes up in the morning and creates something new, regardless of how useless, ugly or senseless that person has assembled. One of the most important contests in the world is won by a discolored photo of a model with an octopus on her face: what is the meaning, what is the message, what does that image mean? Nothing, it doesn’t say anything, it doesn’t mean anything: it is an absolute zavaglio* and it is also ugly, as well as senseless, like a banana stuck to the wall or the equally famous shit in a box.
Since I abhor such aberrations of art, when I look at a photo I evaluate it almost as I would for a painting: I observe first the subject, I check if the composition of the image makes it spontaneous to perceive it and what message it sends me, what it says to me, what emotions it arouses in me; I also evaluate the color, which has its own function and how the light has been managed, which has the task of emphasizing or overshadowing the subject and the supporting characters. I appreciate that image if it gives me something, if it tells me something … that makes sense.
*Zavaglio: from the Bolognese dialect, is a totally useless object. It is not even beautiful, otherwise it would at least have an aesthetic function.
Your shots focus on the female figure. Have you ever shot male subjects? How do you choose your models?
The focus of my creativity is on beauty, and it is indisputable that the female body is aesthetically better than the male. However, I am planning to shoot couples, from which I expect a lot in terms of pure poetry. My models are usually professionals, I contact them directly through the social networks where they advertise themselves or on specialized sites for models and photographers, and I choose them on the basis of the perceptions I have of their femininity, understood as the natural sensual elegance of being a woman, with references such as Hepburn or Marilyn or Theron in Dior or similar. So, absolutely not men-women with tortoiseshells, thinness, hard features and manners and senseless tattoos that disfigure the body (which is often a work of art in itself), and yes to everything that is female and feminine.
The interview ends here, thank you for your cooperation!