She never dreamt of herself as a real photographer, but once she was captivated by the medium the next thing Myscha Oréo – an accomplished painter, knows photography has taken over her life entirely.
Since then, her relentless pursuit of photography in combination with her multifaceted sets of artistic interests have been beautifully manifested in many of her awe-inspiring images. We talked to her about the shift from painting to photography and her recent project, the Nude Series.
Could you tell us about yourself?
Myscha: I am a self-taught artist and photographer based in Amsterdam. While I grew up in a very artistic environment, it took rather some time for me to realize that becoming an artist was an actual option for me. I think drawing, painting and (ballet) dancing from a very early age on came so natural to me, that it didn’t occur to me to turn my creativity into a profession. Now I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.
My artistic journey has shown me so much (“painting teaches me to live”). It has been incredibly beautiful, inspiring, invigorating and sometimes so difficult to the point of annihilation. It makes me truly happy. I feel like a warrior riding the big waves in the invisible world.
How did you get into photography?
Myscha: I have always loved photography, but somehow I assumed it was not for me. I believed it was something I could never understand, grasp or achieve, like mysterious mathematics on the level of Albert Einstein. I’m glad Life had others plans.
Photography is something that happened to me, it was not something I had extensively thought about beforehand and then one day decided to pursue.
When I look back it sort of sneaked up on me and then one day I realized that taking pictures had taken over my life entirely. It was this irresistible, undeniable almost overpowering push I had to follow and surrender to. And it was this push that made me decide to buy a proper camera and teach myself photography.
I’ve never been keen on school and prefer to educate and research myself. I was lucky to have some photographer friends around to whom I could ask questions. I date my beginning in photography in October 2010 when I bought my first “real” camera and chose to go for it.
What are you working on at the moment?
Myscha: My focuses at the moment are nude photography and experimenting with analog photography. I’m totally obsessed with capturing movement and working with multiple exposures on film. Here I find photography the closest to painting or drawing.
What exhilarates me the most about analog photography is that in my experience the energy of the precise chosen moment is captured physically on a piece of film. While in digital photography it remains floating in the ether. Analog photography is an actual physical manifestation of light and dark energy. It cannot be more real. Also, you cannot “fake it” or cheat. Personally, I don’t like Photoshop and image modification, to me it’s not real, it’s not alive. I don’t shy away from a bit of retouching tough.
Could you tell us more about the Nude Series?
Myscha: Nude photography had been on my mind for some time. I did a lot of research beforehand and I felt I had to prepare spiritually. To photograph someone in all their nakedness is something that I feel very serious about. I wanted to be able to be embracing of the soul before me without any hesitation or rejection.
I believe a photograph can be as intimate as a lifelong relationship. To capture true beauty, the artist must be brave enough to embrace all light and dark aspects of life. To say it simply I wanted to be able to photograph with the eyes of my heart. Half of the artwork is done on the inside! Really.
You used the term “Sacred Body” in the project, could you tell us a little bit more on that?
Myscha: What I mean by “Sacred Body” is that the body is a sacred space and it is that sacred space that I want to explore. My objective in my nude photography is not a sexual or erotic one. Because the clothes are removed the model cannot hide anymore or control the photo with their ego. And because I often cut the head out of the frame, the model is forced to communicate with me with the body and not the mind. I like to remove the mind because it brings me closer to the soul. It’s the soul I want to experience, feel, capture and communicate with. This is where true intimacy is found.
The nude sessions are also challenging for the model, because not only they are fully nude, they have to surrender and communicate with me from their sacred space. For some models, it’s almost like therapy, a journey into themselves. Eventually, the idea is to put the nude photography sessions together into a photo book with the personal experience of the shoot from each model next to the photos. I have already received some beautiful and moving poems from some of my models inspired by the nude sessions we did.
Nude photography is a very interesting journey and I find that it has influenced my other photography work as well. For instance, the communication with the sacred space is something I now use in every photo I that take. I must admit though that the portraits that I’ve taken while the model was completely nude seem to be the strongest so far. This would conclude that we as humans are at our strongest when we are in our most vulnerable state.
Myscha Oréo is currently based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is currently working on making her photographs and prints of her artwork available online. Check out the full Nude Series and her other collections like “Boys” or “Girls” here and here.