ART, INTERVIEW

The Full-Frontal Photography of Noah Jashinski

0 Comments 18 May 2015

noah jashinski

Photographer Noah Jashinski talks his influences, shooting style, and eroticism in advance of his solo exhibition at Art Share LA.

By Daniel Barron

 

[UPDATE, 3/6/17: In 2016, the storage space where Jashinski was keeping his computer, camera equipment, and external drives was broken into and his belonging were stolen. This all but ended his photography career, but you can help get that back on track by throwing a few bucks towards his currently-running GoFundMe campaign. He’s a great talent and the art world would be poorer without him. Every bit helps, so if you can spare any, please donate HERE.]

When he was a film student at NYU, Noah Jashinski became enamored with the raw style of French New Wave cinema. A movement marked by loose shooting techniques and a then-unseen level of naturalism, it had a youthful vigor that left a deep trench in his creative consciousness. Those formative influences would later flower during a fateful 2009 trip to Israel, where Jashinski found himself with a plastic camera and a bag of expired film. Emboldened by the experience, he began amassing cameras and organizing shoots with close friends and strangers alike, all in pursuit of that elusive concept known as “authenticity.” Through the alchemy of trust and connection, Jashinski strives to bring an intimate eye to deep human truths about personal boundaries, gender, romance, and sexuality.

On Friday, May 22nd, his artistic journey will reach a culmination with the unveiling of his solo photography exhibition “Seventy-Two Hours” at the Art Share LA space in Downtown Los Angeles. Jashinski was appropriately candid in advance of the show about his process and aspirations.

 

noah jashinski

You shoot on film, which isn’t cheap, but you also like it when moments develop organically. What is the balance between controlled composition and spontaneity?
To be honest, I try to approach my art the same way I approach life. It is why my art means so much to me – when the camera is in my hand, it is the most elevated, transparent, and open version of myself. We cannot control life. It will generally do to you as it pleases. There is a certain degree of control we can obtain through effort and work, but in the end, things will unfold as they please. That is how I approach and address that balance in my art. I have worked hard to hone my craft; I have a solid idea of how the cameras will function, how the different films will behave depending on light, what the subject’s best angle is, etc.
Ultimately though, the camera will sometimes break, which it did twice while working in Europe, or the film has a scratch, or the subject will be having an off day or be hung-over or have to cancel, or the lab will use the wrong chemicals when developing a specialty stock. This is why I approach every shoot going after a feeling and try not to obsess too much on a singular, predetermined image. A mentor once said to me, “If you get one good or useable photo on a roll, then that’s a successful roll.” I take solace in that approach. I can shoot thirty pictures and there can be one shot, which happens to be blurry or out of focus, and it can hold all the emotion of that day and the project is then successful to me.

 

noah jashinski

Your latest series, “Seventy-Two Hours” focuses on your shoots with two different women- Tate in Los Angeles and Remy in Oakland and San Francisco. Can you talk a bit about your goals for these shoots? Did you have a tone or concept in mind that they both fit or was there an essence about each of them that inspired you?
My goals for these shoots was to take what I have done in the past on the subject of intimacy and authenticity and elevate it; to explore the effect of time on the erosion of personal boundaries and muddle the line between life and art. Usually, I am under the constraints of a couple hours and despite previous successes using that formula, I wanted to allow the time to exhale and therefore, allow the art to breath. We could take our time and explore the space and our emotions. We could shoot for ten minutes and then relax and talk for hours and hours until another random thought or idea organically came to the surface and then attempt to execute it.
I was truly inspired by the energy and soul of each woman, both of which were far different from each other. There was a natural grace and magic to Tate that immediately drew me in; it felt like sitting across the table from a fictional pixie. Remy is just so strong and confident in her skin. A brilliant woman and artist who has experienced a lot in her life. Her energy and presence once I picked up the camera really got to me.

 

noah jashinski

What about photography do you derive your deepest satisfaction from?
For me, I think it is two-fold. Some of it is what I eluded to earlier; I think the best version of myself comes to the surface when I have a camera in my hand. A level of patience and lucidity comes to the surface that I wish I could bring to my daily life; the voices and noises in my brain go away. The other thing I love most about photography is sharing the end results with the subject. I have a really hard time when I have to just send an image via the internet and hear feedback. I love being able to look at someone’s face and see that moment when they look at the space they live in and more importantly themselves, in a new way. It is a powerful and emotional moment.

 

noah jashinski

How has being a photographer allowed you to explore worlds you might not have been exposed to otherwise?
I have been able to see and experience the entire planet and a ton of amazing, unforgettable souls because of my art. Over the past year, I have done photos in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Joshua Tree, Portland, New York, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Berlin, London, and Paris. It is really difficult to travel to foreign places and meet new people or really immerse yourself in the culture. Due to my art, I was able to reach out to individuals all over the globe and not only create with them, but then spend hours, days, and sometimes weeks immersed in their life. Photography has opened a dialogue to allow for experiencing life and people in a whole new way.

 

noah jashinski

Your style is very reminiscent of the French New Wave movement of the late 50s, early 60s. As a film buff, what works have inspired you the most?
The short answer would be Breathless and Vivre Sa Vie by Jean-Luc Godard and 400 Blows and Jules and Jim by Francois Truffaut.

 

noah jashinski

Your work is, at least by US standards, fairly frank in its eroticism. How do you develop an environment with your subjects where they feel comfortable going that raw? What statements about love and sex do you hope to convey?
As far as creating an environment conducive to such intimate work, it’s about being present with the person and not with the person’s body per say. A person’s body, nude or not, once I begin shooting, is no different than a table or a desk – it is a constant within the frame that will not change. The energy, the look in someone’s eyes, and the frame will change, so if you stay focused there, the rest unfolds, as it should. Some of it was also just being a lucky person with very trusting friends. When I first began, I had a handful of friends open up and agree to work with me. As a result, I was able to build a body of work that displayed itself in a way that subjects in the future felt comfortable working with me in that way. Lastly, and it’s big rule for me, is that I will and never ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. It is one of the reasons I have used myself numerous times in my own work. I want to make sure that they know that I am no different than them; that I am only asking for them to engage with the art the same that I have and will.
As far as the second part of the question goes, I think that nudity, eroticism, love, and sex are all different things. Sometimes they overlap or are related, and sometimes they do not. I think they can all exist simultaneously, or all completely independently. I think one of the biggest mistakes and travesties in this country is that we equate nudity with all the above no matter what. Nudity can be titillating and arousing, but it can also just exist and be completely benign. From all of my travels, it is clear to me that a majority Europe has a very healthy and inspiring view on nudity and the human body that I envy. It is a sentiment that I deeply wish our own country shared. I do not think the body should be something that brings about shame or judgment, but something that should be seen as natural and beautiful.

 

noah jashinski

 

noah jashinski photography

noah jashinski

noah jashinski

noah jashinski

noah jashinski

noah jashinski

noah jashinski

noah jashinski

 

noah jashinski

 

noah jashinski

 

noah jashinski

noah jashinski

“Seventy-Two Hours” opens at Art Share LA (801 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles, 90013) on Friday, May 22nd at 8pm.
To view more photography by Noah Jashinski check out his website.
Follow Noah Jashinski: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

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- who has written 407 posts on Yay! LA | Arts & Culture Magazine.

Rudderless college graduate Daniel Barron founded Yay! LA Magazine on a love of writing, passion for the arts, and a firm belief that people really like talking about themselves. He contributed to a number of publications, including LA Music Blog and the defunct The Site Unscene, before deciding to cover arts and entertainment the way he wanted to read it. He works as a freelance writer and digital PR consultant in his current home of Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @YayDanielBarron.

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