Jill Schweber

1. Aesthetics – The study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty. How has aesthetic evolved over the years and how has this influenced fashion photography? How do you approach aesthetics in your works?

I think that the concept of beauty has evolved into something more complex. The general aesthetic of fashion photography has been shifting from a perspective of perfection and idealism to something more reliable and real. Things I find particularly beautiful or striking in my subjects are their imperfections and their realness. Capturing my subjects in their everyday environments in simple moments is the aesthetic I like to create. Working with the untouched is what I find beautiful.

2. Identity – “We contain multitudes” wrote Walt Whitman, referring to the fact that we see ourselves in different ways depending on different contexts.

Nowadays, gender and sexuality have been explored in many ways – art, cinema and of course fashion – and fashion photography has been perceived as a means to translate and picture actual reality. How do you reflect identity in your works? How has the perception of our own bodies changed in recent years? How has it been influenced by media and by fashion itself?

In my experience, I have been lucky to shoot many gender fluid models and designers. Fashion doesn’t decipher between male and female identity like it used to and my work has been able to explore this openness.

3. Beauty in Fashion – “The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express” said Francis Bacon. Fashion photography once depicted a perfect kind of beauty, almost false in its perfection. Today, fashion photography focuses on imperfection and peculiar traits. Which is your relationship with beauty? How has the language of photography mutated in the past years? 

People are bored of perfection. People want to relate to the subject being photographed. Imperfections are beautiful and empowering. People find beauty in realness and not a generic perfection. This has allowed me to bring my own imperfections and my personal views of beauty into my work. I too take comfort in the vulnerability of my subjects.

4. Sociology – The study of human behaviour. How is photography capable of picturing social changes? Is fashion photography a way to picture cultural changes within society? How have social and cultural changes influenced your works?

Fashion photography can influence a huge audience and bring awareness to many. Nowadays fashion can be the medium to bring consciousness and accessibility to a larger audience. Fashion photography is both influenced by and influences society. Living in Tel Aviv I was hugely inspired by my cultural surroundings and the changes in front of me. The paradox between the religious modesties and tense political climate to the thriving LGBT community and forward thinking, Tel Aviv was a colourful influence for my work.

5. Perceptive Variations: an exhibition about identity, gender, change. How have your works expressed this feeling? How do you express your personal background in your work?

My work is a journey of my own discovery. I learn a lot about myself and who I am and what I identify as through my work. I have a connection with the subjects I photograph and it reflects my growth. My work is an expression of this constant evolvement.

by Giovanna Pisacane