In our ever-evolving world, few artists have managed to capture the zeitgeist of modern life as effectively as French photographer Niko Photographisme. His journey into photography and digital art has persisted through the changing landscape of technology as he seeks to unravel the intricacies of our modern existence. In a world characterized by rapid technological advancements and the ubiquitous presence of artificial intelligence, his art resonates like never before. As we delve into his artistic vision, we are invited to explore how these offbeat and often humorous images illuminate our current way of life.
Niko has loved drawing from a young age, deeming it his primary means of expression. During his studies, he focused on technical drawing and industrial design, which translates into his current career as a UX/UI designer. He began working with photography and digital editing during a product design course where he learned the endless possibilities of Photoshop. His knack for manipulating images into surreal art pieces was ignited. He started modifying images for fun, using basic equipment and photos of friends. Over time, he gained more experience with photo manipulation and began hiring models. Despite his natural shyness, he found photography and photo manipulation to be a powerful means of communication, a way to express his unique perspective on the world.
Niko’s creative process consists of three stages: preparation, shooting, and post-production. After he envisions a piece, he finds models for the shoot. He states that he wants to work with passionate people who care about his vision of the project, so he is quite picky about models. He then builds all the accessories for the shoot. He never uses stock images or 3D elements, preferring to use recycled parts in each photoshoot. Thus, the artist himself makes all the mechanical objects in his photos. After the shoot, he begins editing the images using Lightroom and Photoshop. This meticulous process can take up to five hours. He states,
“It is important for me to work on the details. My images are not intended to be exclusively published on Instagram! It is also a medium that is not optimal for me because I often produce atmospheric, refined images with a lot of detail. The limited format of social media doesn't quite fit.”
As for the subjects of Niko’s work, he typically focuses on translating aspects of modern life into his art form. At the heart of his work lies an exploration of critical aspects of contemporary society, such as ocean pollution, the blurred boundaries between humanity and machines, and the artificial nature of contemporary existence. Yet, there was no singular turning point in his artistic career that pushed him toward these themes. As an interface designer, he is constantly exposed to new technologies and the ever-changing landscape of technology. These experiences and observations allow for his work to naturally evolve.
Niko is a first-hand spectator of man’s impact on nature, the subject of his series “We (Are) Made (Of) Plastic.” Living by the sea, he witnesses the effects of environmental destruction and pollution on his coastal surroundings. He feels it is vital to preserve this beautiful landscape and its wildlife for future generations. His art allows him to explore and raise awareness of these issues, often using humor and unique perspectives.
Since the inception of his visionary project, “The Robot Next Door,” in 2017, the world has changed rapidly. The proliferation of new technology and artificial intelligence has affected our daily lives. The arrival of AI on the global stage has prompted Niko to plunge into the tumultuous waters of AI-infused reality. Dissecting both the skeptics and supporters of AI, he maintains his original vision for the project while adapting to the evolving tech scene. “The Robot Next Door” explores the parallel between digital and “real” life. The photos juxtapose daily activities with the possibilities of our increasingly bionic existence. He explores the potential of the human mind and body in an era of seemingly limitless artificial assistance.
While his work aligns with the style of the surrealism movement, Niko’s approach is uniquely his own. He initially explored the surreal without knowing deeply about the movement's history, allowing his imagination to roam freely. Over time, he discovered contemporary artists who resonated with his vision, such as Romain Laurent and Marc Da Cunha Lopes. However, if he were to choose a surrealist artist who inspires him, it would undoubtedly be René Magritte.
Within his extensive portfolio, Niko finds it challenging to pinpoint a single piece as the most significant. His work is a rich tapestry of interconnected ideas and stories, often presented in series. However, if pressed to choose, he would highlight "Stylish," the image that inaugurated "The Robot Next Door" project. The photograph depicts a woman with a robotic skull applying lipstick in a mirror. This image encapsulates the essence of the project—probing the self-awareness of machines and the deceptive nature of appearances in a society heavily influenced by social media.
Niko’s ultimate wish for viewers of his work is to leave them with a lasting impression—an unpretentious, contemporary commentary on our society, always infused with humor. He views his art as a medium through which he can offer his unique perspective on the world, encouraging audiences to reflect on the complexities of modern life.
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